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Where to stay in London: our guide to the best places

Discover the capital’s best bits with our helpful guide to where to stay in London

Written by
Danielle Goldstein

Thinking about a London break? You've probably already clocked that this city is a massive, sprawling giant, made up of neighbourhoods that each have their own unique character. So don't resign yourself to a super-pricy hotel in the city's fancy West End. Dive into the real London by branching out from the well-trodden tourist path and immersing yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of somewhere totally new.

Whether you're after lively nightlife, easy access to gorgeous green spaces, culture on your doorstop, or dining to die for, you'll find it here. Read on for our guide to nine great neighbourhoods and find the best places to stay in London.

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Best places to stay in London

Once a cornucopia of sex shops and rock ’n’ roll, Soho maintains pockets of hedonism, but overall is more family-friendly these days, with shops, restaurants and theatres in abundance. But keep Soho’s spirit alive with a stay at the Sanctum Soho, which is like a rock star’s crib. They have a 24-hour bar, rotating beds and a guitar tuning service at reception.


To add a little countryside whimsy to your schedule, make a beeline for Richmond. Here you’ll find the very large and very royal park with freely roaming deer, the blooming lovely Kew Gardens, and a fine (if pricy) night’s stay at the Bingham. In fact, this stately riverside hotel has elegantly designed rooms (six of which overlook the River Thames) and a restaurant with a thoroughly Instagrammable menu, so showing off to your friends and family is easy peasy.


Drawing in tourists like a moth to a flame, Covent Garden is very special indeed. In one afternoon, you could easily shop both ends of the fashion spectrum, pick up a black lava sea salt ice cream and watch the world’s longest running play (Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ if you’re wondering). Afterwards, we suggest taking a totally lavish respite in one of The Hospital Club’s 15 boutique rooms, or alternatively in one of its bars, the restaurant or rooftop terrace.


Buzzing Shoreditch is all about going out out, with bars and clubs galore and a creative edge that's survived its more recent popularity with City types. When you’re ready to take a step back, boutique hotel Boundary makes for good shelter. This former warehouse was overhauled by Sir Terence Conran and boasts a rooftop terrace that's perfect for surveying the mayhem below.


This charming part of London offers stunning scenery and impressive views of the city from atop a historic hill. Around the village are quaint shops and cafés, an array of arresting architecture and unpretentious, welcoming family run B&B La Gaffe, which has been in business for over 60 years. As well as a cosy berth, you'll find a quaintly decorated Italian restaurant and bar downstairs and even a jacuzzi: perfect for soothing your muscles after a stroll round nearby Hampstead Heath.  

6. Dalston

Throw yourself into the heart of northeast London nightlife by staying in edgy Dalston, which is drowning in cool pubsrestaurants, and nightlife options. The main drag is pretty hectic, but the quieter charms of London Fields and leafy Islington are only short walks away and the Overground makes accessing other parts of London a breeze. 


Tourists haven't typically found their way to Peckham, but if you know where to look you'll find plenty to love about this south east London neighbourhood, from pocket-friendly restaurants on Rye Lane to the bougie charms of Bellenden Road. Lay your head at The Victoria Inn, a traditional British pub with beautifully presented boutique rooms upstairs. Lovely.

Named after Clerks’ Well, which can still be seen on Farringdon Lane, this location allows easy access to Michelin-starred restaurants (meat marvel St John is a highlight), buzzing markets and, if you’re visiting in May, Clerkenwell Design Week. Stay at The Rookery on Peter’s Lane, a Georgian townhouse that is impeccably decorated, has huge beds and an honesty bar.


It may be way out west (ok Zone 2), but Shepherd's Bush has got plenty going on. Westfield's White City branch can appease even the fussiest of shoppers, while legendary venues like Hammersmith Apollo and Bush Hall host a variety of big-name musicians and comedians. Plus there's a market brimming with international foods that smell totally irresistible. If you decide to head out this way, book in at the K West. This four-star hotel is favoured by rock stars, having once been a recording studio used by David Bowie and Bob Marley, plus they have an in-house DJ and an excellent spa.

Louise Ireland/Flickr

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