Where to stay in London – the best district for you
London is huge. The city has more than 8 million citizens and several touristic attractions all over its territory. Thus, choosing where to stay in London can become a hard task. Yet, there is no reason for it because despite its dimension, the British capital has an amazing subway system, which reaches everywhere and really facilitates the life of a traveler. So, it should be like when you are visiting any metropole that has a good public transport system: you will have no problem choosing a hotel if you consider the subway system. You can use it to reach everywhere.
Understanding the London map
A good way to understand the London map and to properly choose your hotel is using the subway map. The city is divided in 9 zones, with 1 being the most central and 9 the most peripherical. The price for using the subway varies according to those zones: it is cheaper to travel inside the zone 1 and more expensive between different areas.
When you choose your hotel in London, the most indicated option is to stay in the zones 1 or 2 and as close as possible to the subway. Thus, you will be able to quickly get to any place within the city limits.
The center of London is the Trafalgar Square (near the Charing Cross station). Everything to the left is the West region and to the right is the East region. The north and south are defined by the Thames river: the upper part of the river is the Northbank and the lower part is the Southbank. Learning this will facilitate your life while finding the touristic attractions. We choose some neighborhoods with not so expensive options to stay in London, besides interesting things to do around those areas. Obviously, always close to a subway station.
Where to Stay in London
South Kensington and Chelsea
This was the area we choose when we were in London for the first time. It is a very beautiful area and one of the richest and more charming of the city – while still offering affordable options for both hotels and hostels. It is right bellow Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It is close to many museums, such as the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. There, you will be close to the Gloucester Road and South Kensington stations. What is the weakest point of this are? While it has some pubs, it has a poor offer of nightlife options.
Camden Town or Shoredich
Both areas are modern, different and good as an alternative offer.
Camden Town is famous for its street markets that sell everything and for its strong music scene – Amy Winehouse, for example, lived there. It is a good area to stay if you would like to know an alternative London and to enjoy the nightlife. That area is close to the Camden Town and Camden Road subway stations. It is not for those who just want to see the traditional points of the city and for those who don’t enjoy the alternative vibe.
Another option for an alternative or hipster London is Shoredich. It is a neighborhood that became hugely popular among the younger audience during the last years. The Brick Lane street is a true treasure for those who enjoy small markets that sell food and second-hand items. The streets are decorated with graffiti and you will see all kinds of people in the neighborhood. Shoredich is accessible by subway using the Shoredich High Street station (zone 1) or the Old Street station (zone 2).
The area near the Kings Cross station, named Bloomsbury, was the one I chose for my accommodation during the last two times I visited the city: one at the Euro hotel and the other at the Generator Hostel. The good thing about choosing this area while staying in London is that it is quite easy to reach the subway: besides Kings Cross station, you will also find the Russel Square station and the Euston Square station. You can also do a lot by walking. Besides, the British Museum is located in that area. The streets are quite beautiful, there are many parks, a big offer of places to eat, and many accommodation options, both cheap and expensive.
This region, which is up from Hyde Park, has some of the cheapest accommodation options of the entire city. It is close to the Bayswater and Queensway stations. What is the weak point? It has no touristic attractions near, besides the park.
Soho and Covent Garden
This is the West End region. In other words, the area where you will find the theaters, like a London Broadway. Since it is close to the city center, the nightlife is busy and has many famous commercial streets, such as the Oxford Street. Some of the touristic attractions are quite close too. The Piccadilly Circus and the Leicester Square are in the area, as well as the subway stations with the same name. However, the area is truly busy. If you are looking for something quiet, this is not your best option. The prices are a little bit high too.
City of London
The financial district of the city has many of the important touristic attractions, such as the London Bridge and the St. Paul Cathedral. Besides, you can stay closer to the Thames and enjoy walking in the area with its amazing sights. There are many subway stations in that area and you can also find the Bourogh Market there, which is a cool market where you can find fresh products and some good food. Despite the fact that this area is built upon an old Roman area, it has many modern buildings and you will find many people in fancy clothes.
Colin / Wikimedia Commons
Where to stay in London: other options
Naturally, a city as big as London offers many other accommodation options. There are several neighborhoods besides the ones named here that would easily offer what travelers are looking for – it is all about understanding the characteristics of each region while considering what you are expecting from your trip. For example, Hackney, Shepherd’s Bush and Notting Hill, Greenwich, and Hammersmith are neighborhoods that are far away from the center, but you can still go to the center quickly while paying less for your accommodation option. Check them here: