Buckingham Palace in the spring

London Neighborhood Guide

There are so many things to see and do in London, deciding where to stay can be confusing. The city is so big and made up of many different neighborhoods each with their own distinct character, that you may need some help choosing the best base for your trip.

Choosing the area

Central hotels are pricey, but being close to the main sights and museums can save you time and money in transport.

When choosing where to stay, think about what you want to visit during your city break. Do you like a bit of buzz or do you prefer quieter, less populated areas? Do you prefer eating in high-end restaurants, or is cheap and cheerful more your style?

If you are traveling with children, you’d probably prefer to stay in a quieter area where there are plenty of family-friendly places to go. Many of the top museums are located in the same area of London, so staying nearby might make more sense if you’re interested in the cultural sights. If you want to party, you may want to stay in the heart of clubland so you can walk back to your hotel after a night of painting the town red in London’s nightclubs and bars.

This guide to the different areas of London will help you decide where to stay in London to get the most from your city break.

'Don't miss' landmarks

Portobello Market
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Visitors head here in droves for a glimpse of Portobello’s candy-coloured houses, chipper vendors and tempting bric-a-brac. Bumbling booksellers may be a rare breed, but Notting Hill fans can still get their fill of the neighbourhood’s bohemian atmosphere. Visit on Saturdays for the antiques market; don’t miss the North African and Caribbean street food on Golborne Road.

Buckingham Palace
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Buckingham Palace opens the doors to its state rooms for ten weeks in the summer, an opportunity to nose around the lavish drawing rooms, grand ballroom and throne room. Her Majesty’s most gilded residence is closed the rest of the year, but you can still watch the pomp and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Get to the gates at around 10.30am for a good spot.

Big Ben
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London’s most iconic landmark is in fact called the Elizabeth Tower, in honour of the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Big Ben, its enormous bell, cracked twice but still struck the hours right through the Second World War. It will be silent until 2021 while it undergoes repairs; take in a tour of the splendid Houses of Parliament and Westminster Hall instead.

London by Neighborhood

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