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Best London Neighborhoods to Stay in

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

I am planning a trip for a client right now. When I present a proposal for travel, I include 3 hotel choices with different price points and flavors. I want my clients to have the opportunity to stay somewhere that fits their needs.


I have my go-to neighborhoods and one of the hotels I proposed is there. But, when I was in London last time, part of our time was spent exploring other neighborhoods that would be accessible to London attractions - so basically Zone 1 and MAYBE Zone 2 but more like my made-up Zone 1 1/2 (like Platform 9 3/4 - LOL). While I love my Bayswater neighborhood, I'm not always satisfied with the hotel choices there. There are lots of hotels, but very few that I would call really good. I work hard to balance their nightly budget with high customer ratings and good reviews.


a tube map
Most of your touristy stuff is in Zone 1. But, you can stay for less in the borders of Zones 1 and 2

Let's face it, hotels in the middle of everything in London are EXTREMELY expensive most of the time. Yes, I know everyone loves Premier Inn, but that level of budget isn't for everyone and honestly, even Premier Inn's prices are different based on where they are in the area. That's true across all hotel brands. I can book a hotel at Heathrow for slightly over $100 a night but the same brand and level of hotel in London itself might be twice that. Decent places in London will be $200+. And, by decent, I'm talking about a level that matches a Holiday Inn in the US, not Embassy Suites or Hilton. If you want sub-Motel 6, you can certainly find cheaper places, but there's going to be a loss of comfort and decor.



Also, I love neighborhoods outside of the center because you get that neighborhood feel - small coffee shops, grocery stores, parks, kids and dogs running around parks, cafe's, etc. You aren't stuck in hustle and bustle that never seems to end. People worry about being outside of the center, but it's not a problem. I always say you are either 3 minutes or 30 minutes from everything in London. It's spread out and the attractions are all over so don't worry about where you're staying too much. Staying in Zone 1 or 2 is JUST FINE and getting into my fictional zone 1 1/2 is where you start saving some money on hotels.


So, what ARE my best London neighborhoods to stay in? Here's my list:


Shoreditch/Spitalfields

Shoreditch is a trendy neighborhood in East London that's known for its vibrant nightlife, cool shops and independent restaurants. It's also home to a number of art galleries and street art, making it a great place to explore if you're looking for something a little different. It's a little grittier than other neighborhoods - I'll admit that I am not a fan of street art. But, it's got good transportation to everywhere. Spitalfields is Shoreditch's neighbor and it's a great place, too. The Old Spitalfields Market is fun. They are great places to stay in East London that I would consider safe for tourists.

Street Art in Shoreditch


Islington

Islington is a more traditional London neighborhood that's home to a number of historical landmarks. It's also a great place to shop, with a number of independent boutiques and high-street stores. I surprisingly loved Islington. It's a nice leafy traditional London neighborhood. It reminded me a bit of Hampstead which is, unfortunately, just a bit too far out for me to stay.


Islington Canals

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a charming neighborhood in West London that's known for its colorful houses and Portobello Road Market. Notting Hill surprisingly lacks many good hotels but there are a few. It's walking distance to the Bayswater neighborhood, though. There are a couple of hotels I will be visiting when I go next. I'm on the search for a great place to put clients because it's such a great neighborhood.

Notting Hill


Bayswater

Bayswater is a central London neighborhood that's home to a number of hotels, making it a convenient place to stay if you're on a short trip. It's also close to Hyde Park and Paddington Station, making it a great base for exploring the city. This will always be my Number 1 because it's easy to get to from Heathrow. It's seriously the best vibe for me. I get to pretend I live in London.



Kensington Street Sign

I'm going to insert Kensington with a * here. Love it for the neighborhood vibe. South Kensington is close to museums, but Kensington starts to get you "London prices" because it's such an exclusive neighborhood. So, if you're willing to pay $300+ per night and want to stay outside of the super busy areas, then Kensington is a great choice.


Which neighborhood is right for you?

The best neighborhood for you will depend on your interests and preferences. If you're looking for a vibrant and trendy spot, Shoreditch is a great choice. If you prefer a more traditional London neighborhood, Islington is a good option. And if you're looking for a more laid-back atmosphere and walks in the park, Notting Hill and Bayswater are great choices. If you want upper end with a slower vibe, then look at Kensington.


If you'd like me to book you a great hotel in a great neighborhood and set up your itinerary, reach out! I'd love to be your travel planner!






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