We recently got back from our trip to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam and we’re so excited to share more about the trip with you all. Like all of our trips, we put hours into planning the perfect itinerary. Along with gathering all of the things to do, we also put a great deal of effort into locating the ideal lodging and most efficient transportation throughout our trip. Read more about the top places to stay on your next trip to London! And be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to London coming soon.
We highly recommend anyone traveling to London stay in the heart of the city, also called Central London. This area is home to zones 1 & 2 of the Tube, and this area is well connected to other spots around town. You’ll learn quickly that the Tube is reliable, easy-to-use and safe. Read more about the Tube and view maps on their site here. We’ve separated the information out by travel category to help narrow down the relevant areas a bit more.
As a couple ourselves, we knew we wanted to be in the hustle and bustle of the city and didn’t mind some extra noise here and there. If these things are bothersome to you, perhaps you should take a look at the family section further below. Our other key focus point when deciding on our own lodging was proximity to public transit. We tend to stick with public transit to avoid the high costs of taxis and rideshare services in Europe, so knowing we’re close to a station is a must. Personally, we found Airbnbs in the ideal areas to be expensive, and after the cleaning/services charges they were above our lodging budget. We knew we’d be arriving to the city late and also would need to store our luggage on the last day, so the certainty of a hotel accommodating those things was crucial. An elevator to get all of our luggage up, along with climate controlled living quarters, was also a must for us. We know many studios/apartments in London are not equipped with these things, so we settled on a hotel for our visit.
Side note — I recently opened a Citi Prestige credit card because of its travel perks. With the credit card, if you book 4 nights at a hotel, you get 1 of those nights free. We used it to book our honeymoon and saved $1000+ (even after the $450 yearly card fee!). That specific perk has a limit of 2 uses a year, so we took our 4 nights in London as one of those uses and booked a hotel rather than Airbnb. Also, the card offers $250 in travel credit a year so we also received that with one hotel booking. If you’re a frequent traveler, the card pays for itself with one trip! Sign up for the card here.
Below is a map of the top areas we’d recommend for travelers. Kensington and Paddington are both great options in West London that are typically less expensive but still easy to get to all of the tourist spots from. We chose the Paddington area because it was near the Paddington train station and the Tube stop, which we knew we’d be utilizing both! The other area is Soho, which is between Mayfair and Covent Garden. This is were young people hang out, eat, and drink. We really enjoyed hanging out in this area, but be prepared for some street noise if you do choose to stay there.
All of that being said, below are our top 3 hotel picks for couples:
- Park Grand London Lancaster Gate ($205/night)- This is where we stayed and we couldn’t recommend it more! It’s walkable from Paddington Station, which is where you’ll arrive if you take the Heathrow Express into the city from London Heathrow Airport. It’s also walking distance from the Lancaster Gate Tube stop and Hyde Park. The hotel itself was extremely clean, the bed was comfortable, and the staff was friendly. If you book through the hotel’s website directly, breakfast will be included with your stay. They held our bags at no charge and everything went smoothly with our stay.
- Other Park Grand properties we looked into and liked:
- Strand Palace Hotel ($195/night) – In the heart of Covent Garden, this hotel is known for its friendly staff and clean rooms. It’s a great neighborhood and it’s close to a Tube stop. If we hand’t booked Park Grand we would have booked this one.
- Z Hotel Soho ($160/night) – This boutique hotel is known for its free wine and cheese every night. And the location of course! If you stay in Soho, be prepared for a bit of noise. If you’re wanting to be in the middle of the action, this area is for you.
Although we opted for a hotel over an Airbnb, we still did a lot of research on Airbnb options. If you’re a first-time user of Airbnb, sign up with our link to get $20 off your stay. Pro tip: if you’re traveling in the middle of summer or dead of winter, check to be sure the Airbnb is climate controlled! Here are our top 3 Airbnb recommendations for couples traveling:
- Studio in Soho ($125/night) – As with any Airbnb, this one has its positives and negatives. Positives: AMAZING neighborhood (we found ourselves here often for dinner/drinks); close to 2 Tube stops; entire place to yourselves. Negatives: 3rd floor walk-up; needs some renovations; communication can be tricky.
- Apartment in Central London ($135/night) – The listing isn’t very descriptive, but the reviews speak for themselves — clean, great location and stocked with basic amenities.
- 1 Bedroom in British Museum ($240/night) – If you’re really needing some extra space but wanting a place that’s still in the hustle and bustle, this apartment is for you.
Typically, families will have the most luck finding more spacious accommodations in West London. Kensington is great because it’s near many museums, and both Kensington and Paddington are near Hyde Park. Similar to mentioned above, these locations tend to be a bit less expensive and less noisy. Westminster and the area across the river, called South Bank, are also great locations for families due to their close proximity to key sites and activities.
Our top 3 hotel recommendations for families are:
- Hampton by Hilton ($200/night) – This hotel in South Bank is close to the Waterloo Tube stop which will get you all around the city with ease. Be warned that during rush hour some stops are especially busy, which may make traveling as a family more difficult. At one point, Kevin and I had to split up and ride separately in order to get to our destination. We couldn’t both fit with all of our luggage on one train — talk about scary to split up with no cell service!
- Park City Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel ($165/night) – Located in Kensington, this hotel has positive reviews around location, cleanliness and friendliness of staff.
- Park Grand Lancaster Gate ($205/night) – This is the hotel that we stayed at, and it’s the same as the one mentioned above under “couples.” We loved this hotel so much that we wanted to list it again. It has room options for a family, and if your children are grown enough, you could always have 2 rooms next to each other rather than all piling into one room. This spot would be great for couples or families alike!
3. Solo Travelers
If you’re traveling solo, you’re likely interested in hostel options. With many throughout the city, we found ones with the highest reviews and best locations to be:
- SoHostel ($50/night) – Located in the bumping Soho area, this hostel offers many lodging options, including single rooms with en suite bathrooms.
- Generator Hostel London ($66/night) – Near Camden Market and King’s Cross Station, this hostel is in the perfect location for exploring.
- The Walrus Hostel ($55/night) – This hostel is in Waterloo, on the other side of the river. It’s above a popular pub and it offers free breakfast.
We began our trip in London and then continued on to the other cities. Our flight home was out of London, so we traveled back to London the day before our departure. We treated ourselves to a night at the J.W. Mariott Grosvenor House and were upgraded to a suite! (In case you haven’t read our bios, it’s important for me to note that Kevin is a consultant and spent ~140 nights in a hotel last year. Sometimes we use the points to treat ourselves! He gets 10 “suite nights” a year for his Elite status and they’re expiring so we knew we needed an excuse to use one.). It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to stay there in the suite. We liked our stay at the J.W. Mariott, but we think some of the other luxury hotels may be better bang for your buck (and I bet their club lounges don’t stop serving alcohol at 9 PM like the J.W. Mariott!). Here are our top 3 luxury options:
- Shangri-La at The Shard ($500/night) – The Shard is London’s tallest building (we’ll talk more about it in our Guide to London because it’s a fun stop for drinks!) and you can stay in the very top floors. Talk about head in the clouds!
- The Langham ($350/night) – Located in West End on Regent Street, this hotel is known for its London charm.
- The Connaught ($625/night) – Located in Mayfair near the J.W. Marott Grosvenor House, this is quite possibly the nicest hotel in London. If you’re like us and can’t afford to stay there, perhaps you could hop over for a drink at their world class bar instead.
Let us know where you end up staying in London! We’d love to hear how you like the area. As always, let us know if you have any questions or feedback!
*Disclaimer: Links on this page route to Booking.com and we may earn a small commission for stays booked through that site. This is at no additional charge to you and helps us continue to provide valuable information at no cost to our readers. We personally book through booking.com (if it’s not a Mariott property of course!) and have had no issues with any of our stays. 🙂