We are currently planning the London part of our trip in the later part of June 2022 after visits to Oxford and Cambridge. The sights we want to visit are Ceremony of the Keys; Tower of London; Tower Bridge; Westminster Abbey; St. Paul's; Victoria and Albert Museum; Kensington Gardens; Hyde Park; Freud Museum; Charles Dickens Museum; British Museum and Covent Garden. The major museums will be plotted out to see only those areas we feel are must-sees. I may be a philistine, but 2-3 hours tops will be spent in any one place. Those sights will be split up into 3 1/2 days. The question for us is where to stay? What section of London will have a Tube commute that won't significantly take away from the day? We plan to rent from VRBO and take out trip insurance due to a bad experience we had a few years ago with, then, HomeAway, now, VRBO. The Richmond section looks good but maybe a bit far out. Shoreditch--maybe a bit noisy? Looking forward to your suggestions.
We enjoyed staying in both Chelsea and South Kensington. There is better tube access from So. Kensington. Lovely neighbourhoods with good food shopping for your Air BnB.
We always stay near Cromwell Road by the Gloucester tube stop. From it, one can get to most places via the District, Circle, or Piccadilly lines. V&A museum is about a 10 minutes walk away. Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are a little further, but still walkable, or a short tube ride away. We like the location since it’s easy to get to and from Heathrow.
Lindy, you may want to stay near the Gloucester Road tube station, in Kensington, west London, as many tourists do. Several tube lines run through it, making it easy to get almost anywhere in London you wish to go.
Tube lines are Piccadilly, District, and Circle.
The station entrance is located close to the junction of Gloucester Road and Cromwell Road. Cromwell Road is a main road with the V&A Museum, Science Museum, and Natural History Museum located right on it.
Edit: whoops, jaimeelsabio, we were posting at the same time.
To continue on, the Gloucester Road area is, however, very busy, noisy, and streets jammed with tourists. I would prefer a quieter area.
Covent Garden would be an excellent area in which to stay.
It's an area with lots of restaurants nearby for dinners, plus good transportation options. Several tube stations near there, but also bus routes running through the area.
Bloomsbury (not far from Covent Garden) is the neighborhood where the British Museum is located, and I would definitely look there for lodgings.
Richmond and Shoreditch--Not as handy for seeing the sights of central London as some other locations. If what you are looking for is more green space and a house to rent as opposed to an apartment, I would say the commute in from Richmond each day is worth it. Keep in mind that there will be crowds of commuters on the tube coming into central London in the mornings from outer neighborhoods such as Richmond. You will have to jam onto the trains with them to come into London each day. Likewise, going back out in the evenings. However, Richmond is lovely, especially for long walks in Richmond Park.
Don't rule out hotels as an option. You said you had had problems with a rental before. Many hotels in London have adjoining rooms and (what I like) a free breakfast buffet to get you set up for a day of sightseeing.
When you decide what neighborhood or area you'd like to stay in, we can give you names of hotels in the area, if you'd like. It can be easier to cancel a hotel room on short notice if you need to, depending upon what option you've chosen when booking the hotel.
In my opinion Richmond is probably too far away from most of your London destinations. However, if you do stay in Richmond, try to visit Kew Gardens. I personally like the Parson's Green area and it has a very small and easy to navigate tube station on the District Line. Or look near the Notting Hill area. Notting Hill Gate tube station on Central Line has good connections. The tube has lots of options and your commute will be relatively easy getting from place to place. No advice on VRBO as I have never used them. Find a property or lodging you like and then look at the map to see how close it is to the nearest tube station and use the tfl website to “plan a journey” which will show your route, transportation options, and time needed to get there. Here is that link London tube Plan a Journey link.
I don't have recommendations on where to stay except to stay that even with short museum visits you've got a pretty long list so the more central you can stay, the better.
TBH, you are probably going to wind up editing some things out of your wish list. I've been to the Charles Dickens Museum and really to me it's not a top tier sight. Yep, interesting to see where he lived and that's about it. You might get more out of adding time to one of the key sights you are targeting (Tower, Westminster Abbey, British Museum and V&A). I've not been to the Freud Museum.
I would opt for Pimlico, Marylebone, Fitzrovia or Bloomsbury. I would avoid anything on a major road, as traffic noise is 24/7, despite double glazing in my experience. Lancaster Gate, Victoria and Gloucester Road would be a no from me due to noise.
I once stayed in Covent Garden and was awakened at 4am with empty bottles from a nearby restaurant being taken away. Avoid properties near bars and restaurants!
You don’t sound like a philistine with this itinerary. I recommend sleeping in Covent Garden or the Mayfair neighborhoods.
It all depends on your budget. The closer you are into the heart of the city, the more expensive it would be.
I normally stay in the Earls Court area and it is more residential than commercial. Twenty minutes into the heart of the city.
My advice, however. Is to get a map of the London Underground. You will see it is broken into zones. If you limit your search to zone 1 and perhaps a station or two into Zone 2. You should haveca fairly easy commute to your intended sights.
I also suggest you get a regular map of London and map out what you want to see. This way you can focus on a different part of London each day rather than go all over the place daily.
I can see that I have my day booked researching the areas that you have presented for me to consider staying in. I so appreciate that. Also, thank you, Rebecca, for the suggestion of a hotel with adjoining rooms. The reason we've always rented flats is because of my husband's jet lag issues: I need a separate bedroom if I'm going to get any sleep. I am rethinking Charles Dickens' home. I am also following Claudia's trip report as she is currently in London and giving some wonderfully detailed accountings. She has recommended the Joy King Lau Restaurant, and I scheduled it on the day we are visiting Covent Garden. Generally, when traveling to Europe, we schedule our lodgings @ six months out, but I am hesitant to do that until I see the covid reports @ mid-January when I expect to see the numbers go up after Christmas. . .
I haven't worked out when your trip will be, other than after the January covid statistics.
I do see that top of your list is The Ceremony of the Keys. You'll know that that is at the same time every night, starting just before 10pm. Do you know that it books up way ahead, many months in the Before Times? I don't know what the booking horizons are now, but it is only a very small group every night.
Nigel, her trip will be in June. She mentioned it in her comment on Claudia's thread "In London Now".
I've edited my original comment to include when we'll be in London, Nigel. Thank you for the heads up regarding the Ceremony of the Keys. I am willing to spring for certain events and eat the costs if I know I must reserve way in advance possibly to have to cancel later. Having just checked, it is only 5 pounds per person! I am grateful for smart phones as I will set an alarm for this event and others to make certain that I get tickets.
I’m Staying at friends in Richmond now.
It is a good 45 minutes into central London on the tube (District Line) I’ve been visiting London since college days. Long ago. Seen the sites numerous times so no need to be close to the city center.
You need to Stay closer to Central London.
See what VRBO has at Canary Wharf ( still a bit of aways from the city centre but a nice stroll along the Thames Path) Belgrave, Bloomsbury, Barbican, Pimlico, Mayfair neighborhoods. Rentals are not going to be inexpensive but convenient to your list of interests. Look at Premiere Inns as well.
Thanks, Claudia. I appreciate your experience and advice. One of my great pleasures when not traveling is doing the "homework" for the next trip. I'll be looking at the areas you suggested.
Lindy, I recently returned from a 10-day stay in London at this property: https://www.vrbo.com/401139ha and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s literally across the street from the Tower and a couple minutes walk from Tower Hill tube station, which will get you on the District and Circle lines. Gorgeous views, well appointed, and I didn’t find it too noisy.
You arent a philistine.
South Ken is nice (have stayed there numerous times) and is central to the places you list, but I am going to put a plug in for Islington as it is a little off the usual tourist track. Angel to South Ken Underground station is just shy of 30 minutes.
Thank you, Elizabeth. I just looked and it does look fantastic--so much so that it's not available on my dates! I'm glad you were able to enjoy it and that fantastic view.
My wife and I spent a long weekend in London in autumn 2019 and we stayed in Southwark (specifically at the Hilton Bankside) and we thought it was an ideal location for trying to fit a lot into a short window. It is walking distance to many of the places on your list (albeit 30-45 minutes for some - we love walking in new cities). This is very close to Central London, so you won't need to use too much public transportation, but it is very close to Southwark Station (as well as other Tube stops) if you. From there, we walked to Parliament/Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the theater district (we saw a show and ate dinner at a restaurant in Covent Garden), Tower Bridge/Tower of London, Shoreditch, and more.
Thanks, Steve. "Southwark" is going into my search bar.
To comment on what Steve said, the Hilton chain is one that has adjoining rooms in their hotels.
You spoke upthread about being interested in that as an option.
If you are going to search "Southwark" in the VRBO search, also search "South Bank".
South Bank is limited to the area right on or near the river.
Best of luck getting tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys. We will be in London in late September/early October next year and between now and the end of October there were no tickets available as far as I can tell. I’m not sure how far in advance tickets can be purchased, so I guess it’s possible that my time period has not been released yet.
Andrea, I'm sure someone here can inform us about getting tickets for Ceremony of the Keys tickets. I just looked at the website: it looks as though there are still tickets available for next month but cannot be purchased beyond December 2021. Perhaps the calendar is released to purchase tickets only two months in advance from now.