London, England has captivated travelers for decades with its long list of fascinating attractions. From the Royals to its rich history, we’ve found ourselves longing to skip over the pond to experience the culture and sites. From top shopping venues, incredibly comforting eats and undeniably elegant charm, it doesn’t take much to convince travelers to traverse to this part of the United Kingdom. If you’ve finally decided this is your next big vacay, we’ve put together a guide of the very best areas to stay. Depending on your interests and goals, one, or many, of our list choices could be perfect for your first-time visit in London.
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Covent Garden, tucked in the west end of London, offers a variety of activities, so visitors can dip their toes in a little bit of everything during a first-time visit. Shop the extensive offerings of markets and boutiques, where you’ll find classic food and fashionable souvenirs. Attend opera and theatre to immerse into an age-old culture, then enjoy cuisine from all over the world, such as sushi, authentic Italian and French fare. Quite a few restaurants, including indigenous European eats, are plentiful in Convent Garden.
Not only does Victoria have many things to do and experience, such as the Little Ben Clock Tower and iconic parks, the neighborhood also houses a site that resides on the top of the site seeing list for many—Buckingham Palace. Home to many royals of the present and past, it’s a significant part of London culture. Victoria’s train stations also allow guests to hop from one location to the next, so it’s a great place to stay if longing to venture further out. Jump on the Gatwick Express for a speedy ride to the airport.
Aside from also being home to Kensington Palace, the breathtaking Victorian style of the area creates quite the elaborate location to explore. One can truly get a clear picture of the ornate structures that exist in London. Not just for the architecture geek, you’ll find dinosaur and science museums, along with the famous concert venue, Royal Albert Hall, where well-known singers such as Adele have even performed. The Ivey Kensington Brasserie is just one of the stellar places to grab a bite to eat, where you can get true British food with a modern spin.
Camden is an edgy portion of Northwest London, where visitors will find street art along brick walls, punk dressed folks and a gritty music scene. A fun change of pace from the centuries-old charm of the United Kingdom, the atmosphere is vibrant and non-typical. Beside the Regents Canal is a famed market area that not only has countless shops selling interesting art and fashion, but the venue itself is eclectic and charming, attracting an array of people. Nightlife is also a major draw in this electric spot.
Picturesquely set on the edges of River Thames, the medieval presence of one of Britain’s oldest areas is still in place, making for some pretty awesome surroundings. Transportation is easily accessible whether it be by boat or train, so one can get to the west end, or other neighborhoods, in a snap. See the Southwark Cathedral which houses famous tombs, walk across the eye-catching Millennium Bridge or skip over to the London Bridge—many notable sites are at your fingertips. Watch a historic show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, then dine on British eats at their waterside cafe, Swan.
Westminster is highly famous, partially for a well-known stretch named Oxford Street. Possibly the tourist spot of all tourist spots, the cluster of a few hundred shops sees around 500 thousand visitors every day. However, as a whole, Westminster has much to offer in the shopping department. The official Big Ben is also here, and a list of stunning Royal Parks like Jame’s, Green and Hyde make for scenic stops. Grab a drink at the Red Lion or dive into modern Indian cuisine at The Cinnamon Club—the upscale neighborhood has an internationally diverse food scene.
Fitzrovia borders over into both Camden and Westminster, but still offers its own allure. While largely residential, parts of the bohemian style destination house beautiful hotels and places to eat. Visitors love the central location, as well as the restaurant and cafe packed Charlotte Street. Mac and Wild’s Scottish haggis, Cliostone’s custard tart, Hibey and Co.’s middle eastern breakfasts—this is certainly a foodie district in addition to all the museums and history. Fun fact, writer Virginia Woolf called Fitzrovia home.
Named for the literal “May Fair” that took place yearly from the 1600s to the 1700s, the now highly ritzy part of London attracts those seeking luxury and high-end shopping. Expect an unparalleled heavenly experience when staying in luxury hotels along streets like Piccadilly, or dining at any of the lavish restaurants such as Michelin acknowledged Jamavar. Wellness clinics where you can spend the day getting totally pampered are also a part of the experience.