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Where to stay - London neighborhoods

I have the RS London book but still need help with where to stay. Looking for a busy active area where there are cafes, pubs , restaurants. Boutiques right out the door . I was thinking of Notting Hill, Convent Garden etc but since I haven’t been there I don’t know and getting overwhelmed . I’m only there for 4 days. In Rome, I love Trastevere and France -Latin Quarter , in Germany Rothenberg, in Austria-Hallstatt , Mexico-San Miguel Allende. When I look at Nottingham Hill I see 15 min from Notting Hill. Any help with locations is appreciated !! I am open to hotel, B and B or rental. Just need to right location
Thank you !!

Posted by
6950 posts

We usually stay around Kensington-Bayswater-Nottinghill Gate area. It's also a short run to the Paddington train station where the Heathrow Express comes into the city.

Posted by
2 posts

I recently stayed at the London House Hotel, 81 Kensington Garden Square and would recommend the hotel. It is very clean and modern with good WiFi. I believe that the hotel is in the Bayswater neighborhood and is very close to Notting Hill. I felt very safe walking in this area. The hotel is a 15 minute walk from Paddington Station (if you are 90 days out, you can purchase tickets for the Heathrow Express, a 15 minute train ride from Heathrow, pretty cheaply) or just take the tube to either Bayswater Station or Queensway Station from Paddington Station, which is then only a five minute walk. That's another bonus, two tube stations, Bayswater and Queensway within a 5 minute walk from the hotel, both of which are on separate lines. From the hotel, it is a quick walk to either Queensway or Westbourne Grove, both of which have an eclectic mixture of restaurants and shops. Plus you are next door to Whiteleys. Additionally, you are about a 15-20 minute walk to Kensington Gardens or Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens Square Garden is across the street (nice little park to sit and eat lunch). For the bad, the room is on the small size and price for breakfast is rather expensive, especially when you can walk around the corner to a coffee shop and get a nice, fresh breakfast for under 5 pounds. Additionally, you will have to rely upon the Tube or a bus to get to the London and City of London to see the major sites because you are a good distance from those areas.

Posted by
2664 posts

Additionally, you will have to rely upon the tube or bus to get to London and city of
London to see major sites because you are a good distance from those areas...

This might get the OP really confused. Notting Hill is in London. Using the tube would be the fastest to get to different area. For example Notting Hill tube station to Covent Garden is a 12 minute ride, you would have to change at Holborn. Nothing Hill to Oxford Circus (Oxford Street) is only a 7 minute ride with no change. So Notting Hill would be a good area, if you decide to stay there.

Posted by
11292 posts

There are lots of central London areas that will be suitable for you.

I agree with Marylebone. I had two great stays this year in that area, in the Hub by Premier Inn Goodge Street. Note that the regular rooms are very small (but efficient and well laid out, complete with lots of under the bed storage space). If you will be claustrophobic in a smaller room, consider a "Bigger" room. If there are two of you, don't even think of staying in one of the regular rooms, but a "Bigger" room could work.

Before booking a hotel, you can use Google Maps Streetview to "walk" the neighborhood, to make sure it's what you want.

Posted by
267 posts

Hi Carol,
I would also recommend locations near Paddington Station and Kensington, possibly near Victoria Station which is not too far from there. You should get a good mix of businesses like you listed near most of the hotels in that area. Near enough to theatre and sights, good options. I would not recommend Covent Garden, it's hard to explain, it's just not that same kind of place that you described how you want a neighborhood-feel. Hard to explain. :)

If you come in from Heathrow on the Express to Paddington station, it could keep it simple for you, since it's your first time.
There are ways to take different transportation for cheaper, but the Heathrow Express can be booked ahead of time for a lower price, and it's really FAR from Heathrow to the center of London, so an express train really does help very tired travelers. It's important to be very low-stress on yourself for your first trip. Plan a few things that you don't want to miss, and give yourself some rest time when you need it. You can always ask your hotel's employees for additional ideas in your neighborhood too. Hotels with breakfast DO help, one less thing to deal with finding especially on your first day or two.

I found generally there is one time each trip that my back-up credit card gets used for a taxi to save us from some miscalculated plan where the buses disappear or something else goes wrong, so it's normal to just wave a white flag and get someone to save ya when you need :) Low-stress about it. There are things you just can't know til you're there. It happens.

If you belong to any clubs or organizations that have locations there, it can be great to make a friend in advance who will meet you somewhere and help you feel more connected. There are a lot of active groups over there too, you may find a common-interest activity.
Interesting that I'm a neighbor of yours, I live in NH, and my stepbrother lives in San Miguel Allende in Mexico, he actually does real estate rentals there for Americans getting out of the winter. I should go visit him. Snow's coming here tomorrow. eek.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
31510 posts


I always stay in the London Victoria / Belgravia area as it's very convenient for transportation, and lots of nice hotels and restaurants in the area. It's also a fairly easy walk from there to Buckingham Palace and other sights.

Check the Rick Steves guidebooks for hotel listings and other details.

Posted by
459 posts

Another vote for the Victoria Station/Pimlico area. We stayed at the Best Western Victoria Palace: great location in multi-ethnic neighborhood, shops & small supermarket, cafes, pubs, restaurants, street market, walkable to the Thames, Westminster Abbey, etc etc (we're active but not Olympian seniors). Easy walk to V. Station for the further-flung.

The BW's in RS's London book; room was tight but fine, had tall windows over the interesting street, management very pleasant. Breakfast available, but we got stuff at the Tesco's (? - one of the usual chains) down the street, & made coffee with the room's kettle. Several morning cafes open close by.

Also stayed in Southwark at the posher Mad Hatter, big rm! big bathroom!, classy pub. Great location for the Cathedral, Borough Market (fish&chips to gourmet take-away), Tate Modern, Old Globe, evening street food & buskers along the Thames/Queen's Walkway, very close to Blackfriars Bridge. More business-y area but everyone walks & bikes. Good-sized Sainsbury's (?) nearby, & the usual coffee-making stuff in the room.

If your definition of "boutiques" includes charity shops, go for the Best Western! Four or five along Warwick St. alone.

There's numerous RS Forum threads on London neighborhoods, lots of input.

Posted by
914 posts

You’re getting a lot of good ideas. I’ve had luck staying on the Lancaster Gate-Bayswater Road-Queensway- Notting Hill stretch. I also like the area between Baker Street and Marylebone. I stayed near the Hammersmith tube station last time. There are restaurants/pubs, cafes & small hotels within walking distance of the station along Shepherds Bush Road, and it has a quieter neighborhood feel to it than some other areas.

I can’t really speak to boutiques because that hasn’t been a focus for me.

Posted by
3428 posts

We often stayed in the Neal's Yard area- just a short walk from Covent Garden. Plenty of restaurants and small shops, a renown cheese shop (hubby loved to pick up a small piece for his late evening snack back at the hotel). Even a couple of theatres very close. Easy to get to Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, with a short walk. The Covent Garden tube station was only a 5 min. or so walk also.

Posted by
364 posts

I reccommend St. Ermins Hotel London Westminster- a Opulent Victorian hotel in a former WWII spy base, offering classic rooms, dining and a bar. Can easily walk to Buckingham Palace and St. James Park- I loved it!!

Happy Travels✨💫