London is a massive place, 1,572 km² to be precise. Therefore you will have be confused where you should be staying. We have become London locals and have supported many friends and family members to pick the right spot for their stay. So now i’m going to share that with you.
To help you to get a picture, it’s worth nothing that London is split into Zones as dictated by transport links. There are a total of 6 zones outlined by London Transport, and going from Zone 1 to Zone 6 can be over 15miles. So let’s drill in a bit deeper and answer that question “where should i stay?”
The best way I can think of to help you is to split up different areas depending on your budget and interests. Read on below:
Bigger Budgets or Limited Time – Zone 1
When you think of London, the famous sights and scenes that come to mind will likely be that of Zone 1 and is basically the City of London. This includes areas such as:
- Covent Garden
Regardless of where you pick, you will be walking distance or a very short commute to any attraction within Zone 1. Including:
- Buckingham Palance
- London Eye
- Tower of London
- St Pauls Cathedral
- Westminster Abbey
- Big Ben
- West End
Find a hotel you like the look of as it won’t make too much difference. This area is great if you’re only in London for a short time and want to see and do as much as possible with limited time. In this area you can have incredibly expensive accommodation upwards of £1,000 a night with 5 star service like the Ritz, Savoy, Browns Hotel. Only the uber rich actually live here. But you can also get accommodation of around £200 a night, however the size of the rooms on the lower end of the price spectrum of Zone 1 will be limited (aka just a place to sleep).
Pros of Zone 1:
- In the heart of the city
- A lot of restaurants and bars
- Theaters close by
- Expensive – everything including food and drinks (jokingly considered the “London city tax”).
Middle of the Road – Zone 2
99% of people don’t live in Zone 1. They live in Zone 2 and beyond. In these Zones you will actually see “real” London, because this is where real working people and communities exist. Don’t get me wrong though, that certainly does not mean it’s cheap. If you’re going to spend more than a few days in London, you should look to stay beyond Zone 1 and therefore we recommend Zone 2. Here you will have more space, a local vibe, and more price conservative options, on average you can expect £100-170per night. Zone 2 is incredibly well connected via the London Underground and bus services. The extra minutes it takes to get into the City for spare change will save you hundreds of pounds overall. When looking for accommodation, a key factor is looking how close you are to an underground station. It’s a good goal to be within minutes walk (minutes max) These areas include:
- Camden – Famous Camden Market
- Clapham – Lively nightlife
- Fulham – Comfortable and laid back
- Earls Court – both Zone 1 & 2 for London underground, meaning good savings
Pros of Zone 2
- Local community
- Cheaper than Zone 1
- Good transport links
- Less touristy restaurants (better food I reckon!)
- More parking opportunities
- More travel time
Further Out but Not too Far – Richmond
This is when you’re getting more into nature. Experiencing the mix between classic London architecture and fantastic parks and walkways.
Our favorite place out here would be Richmond. A 35-40minute district line underground ride from Richmond station to Westminster. Out in Richmond you can find the beautiful Richmond Park that even includes wild Deer. Walkways along the river, quaint markets and cafes.
Zone 5 & 6
Honestly, we wouldn’t recommend heading out these ways unless you have something particular in mind. There’s plenty of fantastic locations in these zones but you do become more disconnected from central London and if you’re a tourist you probably want to be a little more accessible.
- Be close to a Tube station
- Look at your itinerary. If you’re going to be doing things in one area try stick to that area
- Have a good google regarding safety (London Burroughs vary in terms of safety)
- If you’re staying longer than a few days, get out of Zone 1
- Check hotel reviews