If you’re not familiar with central London, take a look at our guides to the different areas of central London. These are the main districts London where it’s possible to find reasonably-priced hotels.
The vast majority of hotels in the West End, the main shopping and theatre district of central London, are expensive and out of the price-range of most budget visitors. However, there are plenty of cheap hotels and B&Bs in the immediate surrounding areas.
There is no real ‘best area to stay’ in central London. All the areas listed have their good and bad points.
If you’re having trouble choosing where to stay, pick a hotel with the best deal — you will have to use the transport system to get around anyway or, pick an area near to or with easy access to your departure point.
All the districts listed below are in central London (zone 1)
Kings Cross – N1, WC1
A major transport hub and a useful base if you’re using Eurostar trains or for travel to Luton airport from St Pancras station.
Bloomsbury – WC1
Bloomsbury is within walking distance of the West End, but has a sedate atmosphere and is surprisingly quiet, especially at night.
Paddington – W2
North of Hyde Park and a convenient place to stay for trains to Heathrow airport. Good underground and bus links into the West End.
Bayswater – W2
West of Paddington station and more residential than its neighbour. Queensway, the main street, has a reasonable choice of pubs and cheap restaurants if you don’t want to venture into the West End.
Earl’s Court – SW5
On the western edge of central London. A suitable area to stay if you arrive at Heathrow airport. It’s 35 minutes by Tube from the airport.
Victoria – SW1
Some of London’s major attractions are within easy walking distance and it’s a handy location for travel to/from Gatwick airport.
Euston – NW1/WC1
Not the prettiest area but it’s handy for trains to or from Scotland or North West England. Good Tube connections – it only takes 5 minutes to Oxford Circus by Tube.
South Bank – SE1
South of the river and home to London’s lively arts centres and the London Eye. A short walk, bus or tube ride to the West End and the City of London.
City of London – EC1/E1
Not, as many first-time visitors think, London’s ‘downtown’ area. The City (note the capital ‘C’) is London’s financial district. It’s a convenient area to stay if you arrive at Stansted airport as there are direct train and coach services from Liverpool St station.