Between Tracey and me, we've been to London nine times.
I tend to stay in luxury boutique hotels or great budget hostels. In fact, listed below are what I consider to be the best hostels in London.
When Tracey does a search on where to stay in London she looks for mid-range hotels and makes her choice by location.
Collectively we have some great recommendations to make for accommodation in London.
We're going to start with London's neighborhoods and where you might want to stay if you choose your accommodation by where it is. However, London has its fabulous Tube system. Everywhere is quite accessible. So below the Where to Stay by London Neighborhoods are sections on Budget, Luxury, Moderately Priced, and Hipster accommodation.
But there's more. In reading Solo Traveler you may have noticed that we like sharing travel information from readers as well. So included in the suggestions below are also recommendations from readers. We'd love more. If you have a suggestion for where to stay in London please leave it in the comments below with a few lines as to why the place is great for solo travelers. As everyone shares, everyone benefits!
Where to Stay in London by Neighborhood
I find London easy to get around. I'm happy walking for hours to get from one neighborhood to another. However, if that's not for you and you want to dig into certain aspects of London, it's important to understand the neighborhoods. Knowing them will help you know where you want to stay. So let's start with a run down of a few of the more popular neighborhoods, what they're like and which hotels we recommend. Further below you'll see more information on the individual hotels, hostels and inns by category of budget, moderately priced, luxury and hipster.
- City of London (central London). This is the oldest part of London where historic buildins including St Paul’s Cathedral are located. It's a fascinating area with many small lanes to wander and get lost in. The Tower of London and Tate Modern are within easy walking distance. For budget accommodation stay at YHA London St. Paul's, the first place I ever stayed in London or for moderately priced option go to the Z Hotel City
- Shoreditch is a hipster part of London. It's an artsy neighborhood with lots of clubs and bars around Shoreditch High Street, Great Eastern Street and Old Street. Lots of interesting food options too. Stay at the Ace Hotel, Shoreditch or The Hoxton, Shoreditch.
- Marylebone is a residential area in central London. It includes Oxford Street and Regent Street shopping but lots of small shops, restaurants and bars as well. A healthy walk will get you to Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and more. Regent Park and Hyde Park are on its borders. Recommendations include YHA London Oxford Street (budget) Z Hotel Gloucester Place (moderately priced) and The Marylebone Hotel (more luxury).
- Bloomsbury is a literary center in London. Think the Bloomsbury Group. There are welcoming squares to sit and people watch, The British Museum and great coffee shops. Our recommendation for Bloomsbury is a luxurious, boutique. Worth the splurge. Montague on the Gardens
- Covent Gardens is exciting part of the city that features many West End theatres and lots of shopping. Try the moderately priced Z Hotel Soho or in the affordable luxury category, The Nadler Hotel.
- Kensington. If museums are your thing, this is the neighborhood for you. It has three of London's best museums, The Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. For a bit of local flavor go to Walton Street in Kensington or wander north to beautiful Notting Hill. Stay at The Nadler Hotel, Kensington, or for budget accommodation in the area, YHA London Earls Court.
- Notting Hill is located north of Kensington within the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Notting Hill is known for being a cosmopolitan neighbourhood, hosting the annual Notting Hill Carnival and Portobello Road Market.
There are more hotels in the list below and all are shown on the map at the bottom of the post.
Best Places to Stay in London from Budget to Luxury
It can be a challenge to find the right accommodation at the right price in London so I thought we'd put this post together for you. Think of it as a companion piece to Affordable London! 32 free and low-cost tips. While “Affordable London” is a a budget post many of the tips will be of interest to luxury travelers as well.
London is a city that's alive at its core. It's a city of neighborhoods so you can stay in the center of things and feel quite at home. All the hotels, B&Bs and hostels recommended below are within walking distance of key London attractions. Whether you're on a budget or love luxury in your accommodation, this post gives you some of the best of where to stay in London.
Cosy into a neighborhood and likely save some money too by renting an apartment. I've had great success with VRBO.com (Vacation Rental By Owner). Here's a link to their London listings. Of course, there's also Airbnb but I've had better luck on VRBO. If you're going the Airbnb route, click here to book and you'll get a $25 credit.
Best Hostels in London – Budget Hotels Too!
Palmer’s Lodge Recommended by a reader: Definitely the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. Palmer’s Lodge redefines luxury hostels. Located in a restored Victorian building, it couldn’t be a cooler and more affordable place to stay.
YHA Hostels. YHA is a charity that began in 1930 with a mission “to inspire all, especially young people, to broaden their horizons gaining knowledge and independence through new experiences of adventure and discovery.” Those are their words. From my perspective they are reliably clean and friendly. They have a family atmosphere in which age doesn't matter at all. I've stayed in three YHA hostels in London. Here they are in order of my preference.
- YHA London Central I stayed at this hostel when I was in London on business. It's near a couple of tube stations. It's a 12-minute walk to Oxford Street, 10 minutes to Marylebone High Street and just 45 minutes through the heart of London to get to Buckingham Palace. It's a purpose-built hostel meaning that it is not a modification of an older building. You can read more about my stay at YHA London Central in Sleeping with Strangers: The Hostel Experience.
- YHA London St. Paul's. This is actually the first hostel I ever stayed in. I was 15 years old and I remember looking out of my dorm window to see the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. It was magical. Of course they have updated the facilities since then. It now has a licensed restaurant and laundry services on site. I stayed in a private room when I was last there. Across the hall were two showers saved for, I think, their four private rooms. I'm not seeing this option on the website.
- YHA London Oxford StreetThis hostel is in a fabulous location for shopping. From the street, this hostel is barely noticeable. Press the buzzer to be let in and take the elevator to the third floor where you’ll find reception and a friendly staff. Given that the hostel is in London, the people staying (and chatting) in the common room were from all over the world – I found myself translating for French travelers on two different occasions. My room had a bunk bed so that it can be offered to two people but I took it as a single. The shower and toilet were about three steps down the hall.
- YHA London Earls Court is located in Kensington with The Natural History and the Albert & Victoria Museums less than a 10-minute walk away. The Kensington High Street with its fantastic selection of shops is also nearby. This is the one London hostel I've not yet stayed at but it is a YHA which, for me, guarantees a level of quality. I wanted to include it because of its location. It offers shared dorms and private rooms, a 24-hour reception, Wi-Fi access, kitchen facilities, a cafe, laundry, a TV lounge and more.
Hipster Places to Stay in London
Not being a hipster (I'm totally out of the demographic) I've not sought out these hotels but I know a blogger who has. Victoria publishes on Bridges and Balloons, a site that brings to you “places worth sharing”. I've met her, I've traveled with her and I totally love her sensibility. For full descriptions of the hotels and why they make her hipster list go to her blog. If you want to go right to her recommendations you can click through to them here:
Moderately Priced London Hotels & B&Bs for Solo Travelers
Moderately priced in London means somewhere between US$130 and $200. If you get a nice hotel for that rate you're doing well.
Z HotelsThis small hotel chain has six London Hotels with rooms specifically for solo travelers. I discovered them in Glasgow and I was impressed. You can book a single room. It's small but it's also well designed. I got an interior room for less money. Check to see what you're getting as a window may be important to you. I'd suggest that you include their breakfast with your booking because they're fabulous. Served in The Z Cafe they include smoked salmon, fresh croissants, pastries, cereals, fresh fruit salad and bacon rolls. The Cafe is open all day and serves wine in the evening. Here's the list. Look on the map below for their locations.
- Z Hotel Soho
- Z Hotel Piccadilly
- Z Hotel City
- Z Hotel Shoreditch
- Z Hotel Victoria
- Z Hotel Gloucester Place
The Lynton Hotel Recommended by a reader: “London was the first place I ever took a solo trip to, and traveling outside my own country (even to another English-speaking country) made me pretty nervous. Despite the name The Lynton Hotel is more like a B&B, and it was perfect for my first solo trip. The owners, Mark and Simon, were both very nice and helpful in giving me suggestions on what to do and where to go.”
Captain Bligh Guest House Recommended by a reader: “This is actually Captain Bligh’s house. There are several fabulously decorated rooms with so much attention to detail. Gayna and Simon are very welcoming. They stock your little fridge with breakfast and tea things. Lovely view of garden and London Eye out back, and the Imperial War Museum is across the street. It’s an easy walk to Westminster Bridge for Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, walking on the Thames and ten minutes from there to Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as The Strand. I’ve stayed in the Captain’s Cabin twice now, which was Captain Bligh’s room. It’s quiet and what a treat to hear Big Ben chime!”
Luxury London Hotels for Solo Travelers
I have a few very different luxury hotels to recommend. These are not the most luxurious hotels in London. The sky doesn't seem to have a limit on this. These are in the “affordable luxury” category.
Montague on the Gardens The Montague is richly decorated and the staff is very welcoming. From the rich woodwork to the art on the walls to their afternoon tea, it all feels very British. In fact the Montague is frequently mentioned as one of the best places for afternoon tea in London. Located near Russell Square in Bloomsbury, in the London Borough of Camden, it is right next to the British Museum and within walking distance of the Strand for theater and Covent Garden Market for shopping.
The Marylebone Hotel The Marylebone Hotel is a gem for its location alone, but the hotel is beautiful as well. I would classify it as casually luxurious. Marylebone is a true neighborhood in the heart of London. Regent Park to the North, Oxford Street to the south, and just a bit west along Oxford Street is Hyde Park.
The Nadler Hotel The three boutique Nadler hotels in London are in the affordable luxury category. Each room is more of a mini apartment with a compact kitchenette including microwave and fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, a flat-screen digital TV and free Wi-Fi. The decor is modern. Their three hotels in London: Soho, Kensington and Victoria.
Where to Stay in London: A Map of Great Accommodation
This map is interactive. Click on a marker and you'll see the name of the hotel, hostel or B&B and a link to book it.
- blue markers are our luxury hotels
- green markers are priced in the middle-of-the-road by London standards
- yellow are budget accommodation.
- purple are hipster hotels.
As you make more recommendations in the comments we'll add them to this map for everyone's benefit.
You can also zoom in and out with this map to get a better look at what's near the various hotels. I love maps and study them before traveling so that I have a sense of the destination.
For more recommendations on places to stay
throughout the UK click here.