What’s The Best Area To Stay in London For First Time Visitors?
This site uses affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you use my links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.
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. If you’re wondering what area of London is best for tourists to stay, I’ve got all the info you need in this post, along with specific recommendations for where to stay in London!
I’ve listed everything to consider when finding the right location to stay for your first time in London. Read on for all of these details, including a map showing the two best neighborhoods in London for tourists when it comes to sightseeing.
- Trying to find the Best Area to Stay in London for Your First Visit?
- How to Find the Best Areas to Stay in London
- Where to Stay in London
- Two Best Areas to Stay in London for First Time Visitors: Mayfair and Covent Garden
- Mayfair: The Best Area to Stay in London for First Time Visitors
- Covent Garden: The Most Central Place to Stay in London for First Time Visitors
- Where Should I Avoid Staying in London?
Does it matter where you stay in London?
Where to stay in London if you’re visiting for the first time will make a big difference in your trip. London is a huge city, so it’s important to choose a central area for sightseeing, so that your trip will go smoothly.
Keep reading for all of my best tips on the best neighborhood to stay in London for tourists, along with my hotel suggestions for first time visitors to London, England.
How to Find the Best Areas to Stay in London
If you’re visiting London for the first time, you’re probably wondering what location is best for tourists. In this post, I will walk through the factors that are important to consider when choosing a London neighborhood to stay in, and which areas are the most central for sightseeing.
Where to Stay in London
Below I also provide recommendations for specific London hotels to stay in in each area, so read on for details!
What Are The Most Central Areas to Stay in 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.
I’ve included a map below that highlights the most central places to stay in London, as well as specific hotel recommendations in each neighborhood that are best for tourists and sightseeing.
While you might be able to find cheaper accommodation outside of London’s 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.
The Best London Neighborhoods for Tourists are Well-Connected to Public Transportation
Secondly, the best areas to stay in London for tourists 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 for Sightseeing 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 my London bucket list, as well as this perfect 4 day London itinerary for first time visitors 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 best London neighborhoods for sightseeing are below!
Pro Travel Tip: These days, travel can be more uncertain than ever. Check for any COVID-related restrictions at your destination, and never travel without travel insurance! I recommend SafetyWing, because they have flexible + affordable insurance plans, and also cover COVID-related impacts on your trip (not all companies do)!
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 for sightseeing 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 for Sightseeing are in Zone 1
The best areas to stay in London for sightseeing are all very accessible by London’s tube system. 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 sights you will want to see in London if you’re visiting for the first time are in Zone 1, so the best area to stay in London for seeing the sights 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 for easy access to sights 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 neighborhoods are great areas to stay in London because of their central location and wide selection of accommodation. They’re also both very safe neighborhoods for tourists to London.
When you’re choosing a hotel in London, look for hotels in one of these two areas. I’ve included a bit more info below on each neighborhood, and why they are each a perfect area to stay in London.
A Map of the Best Places to Stay in London
Here’s a map I’ve made of the best areas to stay in London for first time visitors. The image below is a preview, and you can access the full map here.
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 sightseeing, restaurants and shopping.
What is the best London neighborhood for sightseeing?
The Mayfair neighborhood of London is perfect for tourists because it is home to well-heeled boutiques, cobblestone side streets, along with fancy restaurants and bars.
There are also plenty of hotels in this location for tourists and it is one of the best locations for sightseeing because of its central location.
Mayfair is the best area to stay in London for first time visitors to the city because of its proximity to Hyde Park, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
The architecture and tiny side streets also make Mayfair one of the most instagrammable spots in London.
The Best Hotels in Mayfair for First Timers to London
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Mayfair, there are plenty of good hotels for tourists. 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, and making this a central area for sightseeing.
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: The Most Central Place to Stay in London for First Time Visitors
What makes Covent Garden the best area to stay in London for first time visitors? One of the most central places to stay in London is Covent Garden.
For that reason, it’s a great neighborhood in London for tourists.
The Best Hotels in Covent Garden for Tourists
There are plenty of hotels to choose from in Covent Garden. The Z Hotel Piccadilly is a great, reasonably-priced option. Another good choice is the Thistle Trafalgar Square.
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.
Where Should I Avoid Staying in London?
There are several areas in London to avoid staying if you’re visiting for the first time.
Tourists in London should avoid staying outside of Zone 1 (read up on this above for more info)! By avoiding staying in London neighborhoods outside of Zone 1, you’ll save money on transportation, and also save time when it comes to sightseeing.
You should also avoid staying in a London area that is not within close walking distance to a tube station. Look for a place to stay that is within 5-10 minutes walking distance to a tube, and your time sightseeing will be much better spent!
For more tips on what to avoid in London, check out this post on common tourist mistakes in London to avoid!
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 how to pack light and fashionable for Europe!