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London Neighbourhoods

Now that London Connection is gone, I need to start my search again for a 2 bedroom apartment for a one week stay. For this exercise, since my visit was supposed to be the last 2 weeks of September, lets keep that date in case it matters with anyone's opinion. We are a couple-mid 50's plus 1 Mother-in-Law age 76. All are very active and healthy, walking won't be a problem.

We like a location that is;

  • Within walking distance to nightlife such as plenty of restaurants within a 10 minute walk. Bar or pub scene is not important, but we do love to wander after eating just to take in the atmosphere and people watch.
  • Prefer location to be bustling with people in the evening.
  • Close to a tube station to get us to our daily destinations.
  • Convenient to get to from Gatwick-we don't mind taking our luggage on train, tube and rolling down a sidewalk for a bit.

We were going to stay in Mayfair this time as it seemed to be a good neighbourhood to be able to walk to places like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey but I was concerned it might have been too quiet. Last time we stayed in Covent Garden and loved it, but that apartment was not available this time. If I remember my last visit correctly, we didn't think the Westminster/Pimlico area would make the cut as it seemed like restaurant choices may be limited, but I'm willing to be convinced. Notting Hill and Chelsea look interesting but I don't know they meet the main criteria of plenty of restaurants withing walking distance. I'm intrigued by the Southbank area from the London eye to the Tower bridge, but not sure about restaurants and Tube stations.

Budget, about £300/night, but am not opposed to less. For us, an apartment is a place to sleep until its time to explore again. Luxury is nice, but not critical.

Looking forward to your opinions.

Posted by
6113 posts

Chiswick is a nice area with as near a village feel as London gets with plenty of eateries. Transport links are good and there is Chiswick House and Garden to see plus there are good walks along the River Thames tow path.

Posted by
3745 posts

"Southbank area from the London eye to the Tower bridge"
I think you are on the right track there.
You will find plenty of restaurants and Borough Market (with all of its great food stalls and vendors) is smack in the middle of the area you describe.
Transportation would be the RV1 bus.
There are several tube stations in this area.
Plus, you can walk across the bridges to access the areas north of the river.
The riverboats leave from several locations, one location is near the London Eye, another is the pier on the waterfront at the Tower of London.

Look at the area of Butler's Wharf, which is just east of Tower Bridge on the south side, and has numerous listings on AirBnB, VRBO.
Several good restaurants near there.

"Last time we stayed in Covent Garden and loved it, but that apartment was not available this time."
If that's the area you want, keep looking in the Covent Garden area.
There are dozens of apartments for rent.
I like Covent Garden because of the variety of restaurants in the area, good transportation, and it is walking distance to many sights.

Posted by
32700 posts

Yes, unfortunately the RV1 is no more.

Gone for nearly a year. What the aftermath of the virus will do to the already hacked up bus map remains to be seen.

The removal of this line was just a small part of the wholesale destruction of the formerly very convenient and well designed central London bus system. This disaster started about 2 years ago for reasons best known to Transport for London.

Posted by
3745 posts

Sorry to hear about the demise of the RV1!
It had a very useful route.
Nigel and ramblin' on, thanks for the update.

Posted by
8645 posts

Chiswick is a lovely area. Stayed there in December of 2019.

If you choose the Premiere Inn know it's a good 20-30 minute walk from the High Street depending on your pace.
Other than the lovely George and Devonshire pub which is part of the adjacent Fuller Brewery and the food at the hotel there aren't other eateries that are close by. I understand Gordon Ramsey tried to open a restaurant at the vacant pub on the corner of Fraser and Devonshire but it never took hold.

The walks along the Mall and the river are lovely. If you head towards Hammersmith Bridge via the Mall there was the charming and tiny Mari Deli.

Using past tense simply because once the pandemic has ebbed one never knows what businesses will reopen.

Posted by
4077 posts

My wife and I were talking about Notting Hill and wondering if it's a good neighborhood to stay. The only thing I really know about it is from the movie. Has anyone stayed there?

Posted by
8645 posts


Portobello Road, parts of Goldbourne Road and Ladbroke Grove have shops, restaurants and cafes. But the area is nothing like Covent Garden. Definitely calmer as the remainder of the area is residential. Depending on where you stay you have different tube stops. Ladbroke Grove, Nottinghill Gate, Westbourne Park.

Given your “wants” I’d look at SoHo or Shoreditch.

Posted by
27057 posts

I've stayed twice at a budget lodging that's one long block north of the Notting Hill Gate Underground Station. There are quite a lot of restaurants within about 2 blocks of the station, many of them chains. You can see a lot of what's there (or was, pre-lockdown) on Google Maps. There is at least one supermarket as well, plus drug stores. The area north of the station is quite residential except for commercial enterprises in the area of the Portobello Road Market. When you get up near Ladbroke Grove Station there are a few more restaurants.

I agree that the Notting Hill Gate area is really not like Covent Garden. The latter is much, much busier (too much so for me to want to stay there).

Posted by
3745 posts

geovagriffith, you will possibly get more answers to your question if you post it as a separate thread.

That said, to address your question....
"Are there any areas in London to avoid?"

Avoid apartments listed on AirBnB, VRBO, or other sites that turn out not to be in the neighborhood advertised.
Listings may say they are in a certain neighborhood, but in fact when you map the street address, they are well outside the advertised neighborhood.

This is a deceptive practice, but it does sometimes occur.
If the owner is ashamed of the real location of their property, and is hiding it, then you know the owner thinks it's in a bad section of town. (Or at least not as good as the advertised location) And why would you want to deal with someone who isn't 100% honest with you from the start?

Also, I personally would avoid areas in which it is extremely difficult to access transportation.

Posted by
392 posts

Another thumbs up for Southbank. There are lots of restaurants to cater for the office workers but it’s also quite residential so hopefully some apartments available. Stay as close to the river as possible.

Posted by
27057 posts

I enjoyed spending two weeks on the South Bank last year, at the Premier Inn County Hall near Waterloo Station. I would caution you to check the location of potential lodging vis-a-vis Underground stations, because not all South Bank locations are created equal in terms of convenience to tourist sites.

In general, I prefer to stay near one or more Underground stations that give me access to more than one Underground line. That reduces the need to transfer, which increases travel time.