London is one of the world’s most visited cities and with good reason.

It has much to offer and a long list of attractions.

But with so many things to see and do, what’s the best area to stay in London?

It can be daunting for a first-time visitor to choose where to stay.

So we round up the best London areas along with the top hotels for couples and families.

Whether you’re staying for a weekend, 3 days, or more, read this before planning your next London itinerary.

West London

1. Kensington

Kensington is one of London’s wealthiest areas.

The area is home to some of the city’s top attractions including Kensington Palace.

There are also a number of museums, some of which are free.

If you’re after retail therapy, you can hit the shops of High Street Kensington.

There’s a good choice of restaurants and bars too.

In the summer, Kensington Gardens is a nice place to enjoy the outdoors.

Best Hotels

  • Buckingham & Lloyds [Family-friendly] – These luxury apartments have lots of facilities, especially for families. Think nanny services, personal concierge, and even a personal in-house chef. (Official site)
  • Milestone Hotel Kensington [Couples] – This five-star residence with royalty for neighbors is located opposite Kensington Palace. It’s a London landmark with stylish rooms, a refined bar, and excellent dining facilities.
    (Official site

More Places to Stay

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2. Chelsea

This has always been an affluent area of London.

Fun fact: popular King’s Road was installed in the 18th century by the order of Charles II as a private road for the king.

Today, the street is a place for designer shopping and posh restaurants.

Known as the fashion capital of London, shopping is one of the main draws here.

That said, there’s also some great galleries and museums.

And of course, there’s the Chelsea Football Club if you’re a premier league fan.

It’s a pretty neighborhood, so there are plenty of photo opportunities when walking around.

You can meander around Albert Bridge and the Chelsea Embankment.

Best Hotels

  • 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel & Apartments [Family-friendly] – This luxury hotel has a relaxed village atmosphere with a boutique vibe. You’ll find a range of accommodation options, onsite dining and family-friendly services like babysitting. (Official site)
  • The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel [Couples] By the trusted Belmond brand, this hotel has an artistic vibe and a list of famous past residents. Opposite you’ll find Cadogan Place Gardens; guest perks means you’ll be granted keys to the gates so you can enjoy a picnic or play tennis. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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3. Notting Hill

Notting Hill is one of the most Instagrammable areas in London.

It’s also especially popular with foodies.

The colorful streets are peppered with appetizing eateries.

That’s not all though…

It’s also home to the renowned Portobello Market and cutting-edge theaters.

During the August bank holiday, Notting Hill plays host to one of Europe’s biggest street festivals, the Notting Hill Carnival.

If you’re around during this time, it is well worth a visit. 

Best Hotels

  • Blue Bells Hotel [Family-friendly] – Housed in an 18th-century Victorian building, this is one of the best-loved hotels in the area. Rooms have self-catering kitchens and it’s got an attractive location, close to Portobello Road. (Official site)
  • The Laslett [Couples] – The epitome of British style, rooms here are inspired by local culture. There’s stylish accommodation and facilities are set across five Grade II listed Victorian townhouses. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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4. Paddington

One of the best things about Paddington is the amount of pretty outdoor spaces.

You can wander around attractive parks, gardens, and the canal.

There are also a number of bars and restaurants, some of which offer canal-side tables.

We recommend taking a trip to Merchant Square.

Here, you can enjoy a bite to eat from street food vendors and the Water Maze is popular in the summer months.

Best Hotels

  • Chilworth Court [Family-friendly] – This is one of the most luxurious apart-hotels in the area, conveniently located just 350 meters from Paddington Station. Apartments have excellent facilities; each is designed with separate rooms and living areas. (Official site)
  • Royal Lancaster London [Couples] – The Royal Lancaster is an independent hotel with plenty of personalities and genuine service. There’s excellent onsite dining, a spa, and a gym for guest use. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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5. Hyde Park

The Hyde Park area is home to one of the largest and most well-known green spaces in London.

Hyde Park itself is one of London’s most popular attractions.

It offers visitors a pleasant place to stroll, and in the summer months, an excellent picnic spot.

From November to January, the park is transformed into London’s biggest festive market – Winter Wonderland.

The area boasts more than just the park though.

There are plenty of other attractions to see including galleries, statues, and memorials.

Best Hotels

  • COMO Metropolitan London [Family-friendly] – The bedrooms at this luxurious Park Lane hotel are among some of the most spacious in London with some offering views of Hyde Park. Hotel facilities include unparalleled dining such as the famed Nobu, and there’s the COMO Shambhala spa. (Official site)
  • The Lanesborough, Oetker Collection [Couples] – Not only is this grand mansion on the doorstep of Hyde Park, but all rooms come with butlers. We recommend visiting the Michelin-starred Celeste for the excellent tasting menu. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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North London

6. Kings Cross

King’s Cross is a traffic-free zone that feels somewhat calm given its surroundings.

It’s in the heart of London with an interesting mix of things to see and do.

There’s Coal Drops Yard – King’s Cross’ ultimate shopping and dining scene.

Fans of J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter can visit the famous platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station.

Or, for something a little different, we recommend a visit to Word on the Water, a floating bookstore on Regent’s Canal.

Then, you can enjoy a nice stroll along the canal.

Best Hotels

  • Megaro Hotel [Family-friendly] – Situated close to the station, the multi-colored front of The Megaro makes it stands out from the other hotels in Kings Cross. It’s a no-frills, but a very pleasant hotel with designer rooms fit for families and a restaurant with an open kitchen. (Official site)
  • The Standard London [Couples] – Choose from 266 rooms that range from small cozy rooms to larger suites. Enjoy F&B outlets serving up bottomless brunches, legendary burgers, and live-fire cooking. They also have a curated library and even a cultural hub. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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7. Camden Town

Camden is one of London’s most distinct and diverse districts.

Today, it’s probably most famous for the bustling Camden Markets.

There’s also a colorful art scene.

You’ll find street art all over, but don’t miss Hawley Mews.

If you’re looking for nightlife, you’re in the right place.

You can catch a gig at Camden’s iconic music venue, The Roundhouse.

Or, relax in one of the many gastropubs or a more traditional British boozer.

Best Hotels

  • Holiday Inn London Camden Lock [Family-friendly] – This modern hotel is in an excellent location right next to Camden markets. The facilities are second-to-none. Besides all-day dining, you’ll love the large rooms with flatscreen TVs and free WiFi. (Official site)
  • York & Albany [Couples] – Foodies will love this hotel, restaurant, and bar by Gordon Ramsay. There are eight boutique rooms but the highlight is the tasty restaurant and pizzeria. (Official site

Find More Hotels in Camden Town

Central London

8. Marylebone

This area has more of a village feel to it.

The Georgian streets look cute and classy, it’s an oasis of calm in busy London.

It’s bursting with first-class venues to eat and drink.

It’s fashionable too – Marylebone High Street is quiet and has a whole host of shops including many independent boutiques.

One of the main reasons tourists flock to Marylebone is the famed Madame Tussaud’s Waxwork Museum.

Another highlight in the area is Daunt Books.

This is a beautiful Edwardian bookstore that travel enthusiasts will love thanks to its huge selection of travelogues and guides.

Best Hotels

  • The Langham London [Family-friendly] – Close to the action, yet tucked away from the noise, The Langham is a big hotel that’s grand and sophisticated. There’s a big swimming pool in the spa, excellent food and rooms have everything you need. (Official site)
  • Nobu Hotel London Portman Square [Couples] – You know you’re in good hands at the Nobu; this particular hotel is home to the first Nobu Pilates Reformer Studio. Of course, you can also expect the world-renowned Nobu Restaurant and sleek rooms. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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9. Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is known to many as the intellectual and literary hub of London.

As well as being home to the world-known Bloomsbury Publishing, it also has some of the best educational institutes in the UK.

Bookworms will love the area and can spend hours rummaging through the abundance of bookstores.

Stepping outside, green space is aplenty.

Picturesque parks, nature-filled squares, and gardens make a change from the busy city life.

There’s also plenty of interesting architecture and museums, including the British Museum to explore.

Best Hotels

  • L’oscar London [Family-friendly] – There’s no denying that this boutique offering has the wow factor. No detail has been overlooked and guests are treated to sumptuous boudoirs and decadent dining. (Official site)
  • Charlotte Street Hotel, Firmdale Hotels [Couples] – Service is slick, comfort is key and the design is full of Kit Kemp’s signature style. Communal areas feel more like a members’ club, and as a Firmdale standard, The Drawing Room has an honesty bar. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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10. Mayfair

If you’re after a bit of luxury and pampering then Mayfair is the place to stay.

It’s London’s wealthiest neighborhood and you are unlikely to find anything less than 4 or 5 stars here.

Retail therapy can be enjoyed at high-end designer stores that are plentiful.

Or, as it’s peppered with Michelin-starred restaurants and elegant cocktail bars, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a night out.

Perhaps one of the biggest luxuries is that it’s a lovely area to walk around.

It’s fairly tranquil nature when compared with other areas of London.

Best Hotels

  • The Biltmore Mayfair [Family-friendly] – Having only opened in 2019, this is a fairly new hotel set on the prestigious Grosvenor Square. Everything is utterly luxurious. Service is impeccable and exclusive excursions can be arranged. (Official site)
  • The Beaumont Hotel [Couples] – A place where classic style and elegance have not gone out of fashion. At this traditional grand hotel, guests can expect a touch of old-world luxury, plus everything you’d expect from a five-star hotel. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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11. Soho

If we had to describe Soho in just three words it would be fashionable, energetic, and cultured.

It was once known as London’s red-light district, and if you look close enough, you’ll still find remnants of that.

But today, it’s the epicenter of entertainment come day and night.

The shopping options are endless and there are excellent choices of restaurants.

For more entertainment, you’ll find plenty of theaters.

It’s an extremely popular location for visitors looking for unrivaled nightlife.

Here, many of the bars stay open until the early hours.  

Best Hotels

  • Hotel Cafe Royal [Family-friendly] – This hotel has a lot to offer with an excellent location, well-appointed rooms, and an array of facilities. There’s an events program for the whole family to enjoy. This includes specific children’s activities and a kids club with a cinema screen. (Official site)
  • The Soho Hotel, Firmdale Hotels [Couples] – This is a design-minded address with interiors full of individuality and style. Facilities are top-notch too – there’s a gym, spa, cinema room, restaurant and bar. (Official site)

More Places to Stay

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12. Covent Garden

Well on the trodden path for most London visitors, Covent Garden is lively and exciting.

This area is a maze of little lanes filled with boutique stores and upscale fashion.

Grab a seat outside one of the restaurants and cafes that surround the traffic-free Piazza and enjoy a spot of people-watching.

Here, you can also catch a glimpse of street performers – there’s everything from mime artists to musicians.

World-class performances of both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet can be seen at the Royal Opera House.

And film fans will love The London Film Museum where memorabilia from many famous films can be found.

Best Hotels

  • The Savoy [Family-friendly] – Situated in the heart of the action, this is one of London’s most famous hotels, and rightly so. Adults will love the plush rooms and fancy F&B options while kids can expect their own robes, and themed afternoon teas. (Official site)
  • Covent Garden Hotel [Couples] – This boutique hotel has 58 individually designed rooms. Located right in the heart of the theater district, you couldn’t ask for a better location for a West End experience. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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13. City of London

You’ll know you are entering the City of London as iron dragon statues line the roads and pathways.

Though this is where most of the financial district is concentrated, there is more to it than that.

You’ll find many of the top attractions here or close by.

There’s a mix of architecture to see, both modern and traditional.

It’s also centrally located which is perfect for getting about.

Best Hotels

  • Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square [Family-friendly] – This five-star hotel overlooks Tower Bridge and is as impressive inside as it is out. There are loads for children including welcome milk and cookies, DVDs, and kid-friendly excursions. (Official site)
  • Pan Pacific London [Couples] – This uber-modern residence is a true mix of Singaporean hospitality and British design. There’s a dreamy spa and pool, five places to eat and drink and distinguished rooms. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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14. Westminster

The City of Westminster, as it is formally known, sits right in the heart of central London.

It’s where you’ll find the majority of the government.

Here, you can see the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, and Westminster Abbey.

Another hugely popular attraction is Big Ben – one of the world’s most famous clocks.

There are also plenty of historic sites and some leafy parks to explore.

Best Hotels

  • 41 [Family-friendly] – One of the ‘World’s Most Luxurious Hotels’, Hotel 41 describes itself as a ‘hidden gem’ in the heart of London. We love the ‘Plunder the Pantry’ concept where guests can grab complimentary snacks throughout the day. (Official site)
  • The Guardsman [Couples] – At The Guardsman you can expect service that is attentive but not intrusive. The location is fit for royalty, and you can walk to Buckingham Palace in six minutes. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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15. Victoria

Acting as the gateway for many visitors, this area is the cities transport hub.

Passing through are coach services and of course Victoria train station, London’s second busiest.

It’s not a particularly memorable area but there are things around to explore.

Nearly all of the buildings in the area are built over 100 years ago so there are no fancy modern structures.

You’ll find plenty of restaurants including casual burger joints and The Cardinal Place Food Market – which is worth a visit in our opinion.

Nearby, you’ll also find top attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Royal Mews.

Best Hotels

  • 41 [Family-friendly] – With a private entrance that overlooks the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace, this residents-only hotel has an air of exclusivity. Expect beautiful rooms and spaces, and exceptional facilities throughout. (Official site)
  • Rubens At The Palace [Couples] – Not only are you moments away from the famous sights, the Rubens Hotel overlooks Buckingham Palace. Highlights include the service which is as regal as the neighbors, and dining in the AA Rosette awarded restaurants. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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16. Southwark

In older times, Southwark was known for its inns situated off London Bridge.

Today, it’s full of history and heritage and also a vibrant art scene.

One of the most popular attractions in the borough is the Tate Modern.

Of course, there’s also Tower Bridge.

Note, the walkways of the bridge’s museums offer some of the best views in the city.

There is also Shakespeare’s Globe, a replica of the open-air theater close to where the original used to sit.

And perhaps one of London’s favorite food markets, Borough Market, where you’ll find artisan sweet treats, cheeses, preserves, and street food.

Best Hotels

  • Native Bankside [Family-friendly] – Packed full of history, this place was once a Victorian tea warehouse; it still has many of the original features. Here, most of the rooms encourage open-plan living and range from small ‘Crash Pads’ to larger two bedroom duplexes. (Official site)
  • Shangri-La The Shard [Couples] – Occupying 18 floors of the famous The Shard building, this hotel has the wow factor. Guests are treated to striking views of the city, three signature dining venues, and London’s highest infinity pool. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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17. Waterloo

Playing host to London’s busiest train station, Waterloo is a hive of activity.

Right next to the River Thames, it sits in the South of London.

The Waterloo area is made up of smaller district areas, all with their own appeal.

The South Bank is packed with places to eat and drink, and some of the main attractions like the London Eye.

The Cut is home to two of London’s most famous theaters.

And Lower Marsh contains an interesting selection of independent bars, restaurants and shops.

Best Hotels

  • Sea Containers London [Family-friendly] – Located in the lively South Bank part of the district, this hotel is reminiscent of a 1920’s cruise liner. There’s award-winning F&B outlets, a decent spa, in-house cinema and rooms with river views. (Official site)
  • Bankside Hotel [Couples] – There’s a choice of 161 bedrooms in this six storey hotel set close to the River Thames. It’s the perfect resting spot for anyone who enjoys culture, art, food and drink. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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East London

18. Shoreditch

Shoreditch was once considered a cool place where only hipsters hung out.

However, it’s really gained popularity in recent years and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the most popular things in the area is BOXPARK.

This retail revolution is home to more than fifty independent traders including fashion, food, and lifestyle.

There’s also a great nightlife scene with a bunch of cocktail bars, live music spots, and pubs.

If you’re into street art, then you can take tours to see the colorful works of art on just about every corner.

Best Hotels

  • Hart Shoreditch Hotel London [Family-friendly] – At this hotel, guest rooms come in all sizes; they are modern and have city views. Notable facilities include a restaurant, bar, and 24-hour front desk. (Official site)
  • Batty Langley’s [Couples] – If you’re looking for a small quirky boutique option, then there’s no better place in the city. Rooms have vintage fittings and genuine antiques. Some even have throne loos. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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19. Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is technically a buzzing business district.

Though many see the area as the lifestyle hub of London.

There’s much to see and do and the area is very walkable.

A total of over 300 shops, restaurants, and bars are available.

There’s an open-air gallery hosting public art exhibitions which is free to visit.

Green spaces are aplenty too so expect to see parks and gardens – we recommend visiting Crossrail Roof Gardens.

Best Hotels

  • Hilton London Canary Wharf [Family-friendly] – Shopping, dining and many of the corporate offices are all within easy reach of this Hilton hotel. Connecting rooms are available for families. Amenities include a concierge service, fitness center, and onsite dining. (Official site)
  • London Marriott Hotel Canary Wharf [Couples] – This solid hotel is perched on the waterfront and just minutes away from many of the famed attractions. Comfortable rooms have signature bedding and floor-to-ceiling windows. At night, head to the G&T Lounge where you can enjoy craft cocktails. (Official site

More Places to Stay

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London Map

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What’s the best area in London for walking?

Walking is one of the best ways to see the city, but London is huge!

So we recommend Covent Garden first, a fairly central location to make walking more feasible.

It’s a lovely area to walk around and explore, plus you can easily access many other areas and attractions.

What’s the best area in London for bars and restaurants?

London has some of the very best bars and restaurants in the U.K., if not the world.

There are plenty of bars and cool hangouts in trendy Shoreditch including live music venues.

Soho is also a hub of activity where there are plenty of bars and restaurants that will suit everyone.

If you’re after first-class restaurants, then Westminster has a long list of Michelin-starred options.

What’s the best area in London for tourists?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this.

Each area of London offers something different and it’s pretty easy to get around.

However, if you’re in the city to do a lot of sightseeing then Southwark is home to many attractions.

It also offers easy access to the rest of the city.

What’s the best area to stay in London on a budget?

Camden Town is a great place to stay in London if you are on a budget.

There are plenty of food markets where you can grab cheap eats, and vintage markets and shops to grab a bargain in.

You can also find some affordable accommodation options.

What’s the best area to stay in London for families?

Kensington is one of the best areas for families to stay in London.

It is relatively quiet and close to some of the family-friendly attractions such as the Natural History Museum.

Hyde Park is also fairly close and kids will love running around here in the summer months.

What’s the best area to stay in London for couples?

Depending on what you’re in London for, couples may enjoy staying in either Soho or Mayfair.

Soho is vibrant with plenty to do from shopping, theaters, and places to dine.

Mayfair is uber-luxurious so couples looking for a spot of pampering will love it here.

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!