Trying to find the Best Area to Stay in London for Your First Visit?
What’s the best area to stay in London for first time visitors? It can be overwhelming to try and figure out the best area to stay in London especially if it’s your first time visiting the city.
I’ve got all the info you need in this post! I’ve listed everything to consider when finding the right neighborhood to base yourself for your time in London. I’ve also included the two best neighborhoods in London for tourists – read on for more, along with my hotel suggestions in each area!
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How to Find the Best Areas to Stay in London
Stay in A Central Area of London
There’s a few factors to keep in mind when you’re trying to find the best area to stay in London for your first visit. First, you want to stay in an area in London that is centrally located. While you might be able to find cheaper accommodation outside the city center, you’ll spend a lot of time going back and forth between your hotel, losing precious sightseeing time.
As you plan your trip to London, you will probably need some help with preparation. I’ve put together a list of everything to do before traveling to London, along with exactly when to do it during your planning process. It’ll make planning your trip a cinch.
Find a Neighborhood That is Well-Connected to Public Transportation
Secondly, the best areas to stay in London are well-connected to public transportation, including the tube and airport transit. I’ve included all the detail below to help you find the perfect place to stay in London.
And while you’re visiting for the first time, make sure to avoid these ten common tourist mistakes in London.
1. The Best Areas to Stay in London are Near the City’s Highlights
If it’s your first time in London, you will likely be visiting places like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament, and the Tower of London. If you need inspiration for how to spend your time in the city, check out this perfect London itinerary for more info on a great day-by-day plan for sightseeing.
The best areas to stay in London are close to all the things you’ll want to see as a tourist. Fortunately, most of the highlights of London that first-timers will want to see are also located relatively close to one another, so that will make choosing a place to stay even easier.
My picks for the two London neighborhoods that fit the bill are below!
2. Pick an Area in London to Stay that is Near a Tube Station
If it’s your first time visiting London, you’ll likely spend a lot of time hopping around the city from place to place. You’ve probably already heard that the tube is by far the easiest way to get around London. For this reason, the best areas to stay in London are located a short walk from any tube station, so take that into account when you are choosing a place to stay in London.
Not only will staying near a tube station save you time as you come and go, but you’ll be thankful for a short walk if you experience any of London’s frequent rainy days during your trip.
One more tip: the best tube stations to stay close to are those that service more than one tube line, since that will give you even more options for easy transportation.
The Best Areas to Stay in London are in Zone 1
Speaking of the tube, ticket prices for the tube are calculated based on “Zones” within London, and the zones are shaped like a target. Zone 1 is the most central part of London, Zone 2 encircles Zone 1, and so forth.
Most of the things you’ll want to see in London are in Zone 1, so the best area to stay in London is generally within Zone 1, too, so that you’ll save money on the cost of your tube tickets.
The two areas where I recommend staying in London are both in Zone 1, so you’ll be set to get around the city as cheaply as possible!
3. The Best Areas to Stay in London for Tourists Have Easy Airport Access
If it’s your first time visiting London, you may not know that there are actually five airports that service the city. Heathrow (London’s largest), Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, and City. With the exception of London’s City Airport, each of the other four airports are located a bit outside of central London, but are linked to the center of the city by train.
Depending on which airport you arrive at, you’ll end up at a different area in London when you take public transportation into the city. For example, the Heathrow Express train arrives into Paddington station, while the Gatwick Express train arrives into Victoria station.
Keep this in mind when you’re choosing an area to stay in London, because it’ll save you a lot of time coming and going.
Two Best Areas to Stay in London for First Time Visitors: Mayfair and Covent Garden
Keeping all of the above in mind, there are two areas to stay in London that I typically recommend for first-time visitors: Mayfair or Covent Garden. Both of these make great areas to stay in London because of their location and wide selection of accommodation.
When you’re choosing a hotel in London, look for hotels in either of these areas. I’ve included a bit more info below on each neighborhood, and why they are each a perfect area to stay in London.
Here’s a map I’ve made of the best areas to stay in London for first time visitors. Mayfair is highlighted in blue, while Covent Garden is in yellow. Try to find a hotel in one of these areas. A few suggested options are below!
Mayfair: The Best Area to Stay in London for First Time Visitors
Mayfair is a great neighborhood to stay in for tourists in London because it’s centrally located, it’s close to almost everything you’d want to see and do, and it’s within walking distance to tons of restaurants and shopping.
This neighborhood of London is home to well-heeled boutiques, cobblestone side streets, along with fancy restaurants and bars are what you’ll see in this part of London. But not to worry – there are plenty of hotel options for tourists!
Proximity to Hyde Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are all reasons why Mayfair is the best area to stay in London for first time visitors to the city. The architecture and tiny side streets also make Mayfair one of the most instagrammable spots in London.
Hotels in Mayfair
There are so many places to stay in Mayfair that it can be hard to choose! A good midrange option in Mayfair is the Marriott Grosvenor Square. It’s tucked away on a side street, so it’s very quiet. Despite that, the hotel is only a couple of minutes walk from one of the busiest shopping streets in London. It’s also close to multiple tube stations, giving you lots of options for transportation.
For a slightly less expensive option, try The Chesterfield. It’s just a few minutes’ walk to two of London’s most famous city parks, and only a short walk from more than one tube station.
Covent Garden: Another Great Area to Stay in London for First Time Visitors
What makes Covent Garden the best area to stay in London for first time visitors? It doesn’t get more central in London than Covent Garden. For that reason, it’s a great neighborhood in London for tourists.
Hotels in Covent Garden
If your budget allows it, The Savoy is one of London’s finest hotels. The Savoy is located perfectly within Covent Garden, and you’ll be able to easily walk to tons of shopping and dining, not to mention sights like Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery.
There you Have it – The Best Area to Stay in London for First Time Visitors!
Now that I’ve helped you find the best area to stay in London for first time visitors, I’d love to help you pack for your trip, too. Check out my very best packing tips for Europe!
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