The Best Places in London for First-Timers to Stay

London is not a city that needs introducing. Well over 8.5 million people call London home – people of all backgrounds, creeds and experiences, and who make London the inimitable capital that it is today. If you’ve never been before, and you’re intent on heading there soon, you might feel a bit over faced by all the options available to you. Here, we’ll help you answer one simple question: where should you stay?


Westminster is famously the seat of government in the UK, perhaps best recognised by the unique silhouette of the Houses of Parliament – featuring, as it does, that edificial spire Big Ben. Big Ben is an obvious draw for tourists, but Westminster is also home to Westminster Abbey, the Imperial War Museum and even the Tate. As well as there being a lot to do here, Westminster is well-connected – making it a useful hub from which to travel.


Literally on the other side of Westminster Bridge, you’ll find Waterloo. You can look for places to stay in Waterloo, that will give you even better views of Westminster than Westminster can. Waterloo is also the home of a great many cultural institutions, with the South Bank tracing its outline along the River Thames. Staying in Waterloo means the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, BFI, London Dungeon and Sea Life Centre are all within arm’s reach.


Back on the north side of the Thames, on the other side of Trafalgar Square, you’ll find Soho. This is famously one of London’s many cultural hearts, having had its heyday in the heady 70s and 80s. Today, though, it is still a formidably cool place to stay – with wine bars, restaurants and world-renowned venues stippling its streets.

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is so much more than the setting for Hugh Grant’s and Julia Roberts’ semi-forgettable rom-com escapades. Today it may have a reputation for being somewhat pricey, but its traditions are of great value; look no further than the Notting Hill Carnival! Notting Hill is also host to one of London’s most famous markets, a gateway to amazing produce and vintage object d’art.


Shoreditch, like Soho, had already enjoyed its prime days as a cultural ‘place-to-be’. While some of that early-noughties counter-cultural magic may have dissipated, Shoreditch remains an eminently fun place to be – rife with amazing independent shops and venues. If you want to wake up to the best brunch of your life, Shoreditch is the place to be.


Lastly, we come to Camden. This is a real mecca for fans of music and counter-culture, being a hotbed of rising talent and, to this day, a vibrant community-led region that puts self-expression first. Camden Market is an obvious draw, and staying next to it means you can enjoy an eclectic range of foods and souvenirs whenever you want. From the Roundhouse to the Electric Ballroom, Camden hosts the best venues in the South – and remains the stage for the best music in the country.

Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.

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