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What area of London do you like to stay in best?

What area of London do you like to stay in best?

Oct 17th, 2010, 06:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
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What area of London do you like to stay in best?

We'll be in London in early July with our three kids and my husband's parents. For frequent London visitors and/or resident, which neighborhood do you like to stay in and why?

Just looking for information as we narrow our search for lodging. I've read the guidebooks; I want to hear from real folks.

Thanks in advance.
ksbeem is offline  
Oct 17th, 2010, 08:12 PM
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I don't feel qualified as a frequent visitor, but here are the areas where we've stayed and what we thought of them:

Close to Outer Circle, Regent's Park, using the Baker Street tube stop. If was very nice, but a lot of walking. I was younger and could do it. I'm not that young now, and would choose to be near to transportation.

Twice we stayed just southeast of the Gloucester Rd. station. Very convenient. Not very pretty, but busy, central and super easy to get almost anywhere.

Once we stayed near the SE corner of Kensington Gardens. Much nicer views, and almost as good transport. Busy shopping street to get to the tube.

Last time was our favorite, but I don't know if anyone would agree. We stayed in a very quiet corner not far from Tower Hill tube, with no real shopping or close at hand dining, but the accomodations were lovely and we enjoyed the area for it's quiet, especially at the weekend.

So my thoughts and experiences have been varied. I think I would go back to any of these areas, or try a new one. London is a very cool place to be.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Oct 17th, 2010, 10:51 PM
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South Kensington is a good location, especially with kids as you are near some popular museums and parks, and transportation is good.
Tulips is offline  
Oct 17th, 2010, 11:34 PM
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Knightsbridge, I just love it!
cafegoddess is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 12:27 AM
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South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Chesea, Belgravia, Notting Hill, Fitzrovia, Marylebone would all be good general areas...we can refine recommendations based on specific addresses in each location.
lizziea06 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 01:04 AM
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We lived in London until recently and one thing I know now, that I didn't before, is that there is regular maintenance done on tube lines every weekend and often parts of lines, or the whole line, is not working on Saturday or Sunday, or both. I would definitely try and find somewhere to stay that is within an easy walk of two or more tube lines. For example, we stayed once at an apartment and it was 5 mins walk to West Kensington tube station which is the District line and 10 mins walk to Barons Court, which is the Picadilly Line. You also have the buses so can always easily get around.

I like the area around Bloomsbury, it's walking distance to a lot of different things. We stayed once in The City and found everything closed, it's the financial heart of London but deserted on weekends - not a good idea. We also stayed for a while around the Paddington / Bayswater area which we liked but a lot of people don't. There are loads of travellers in the area so lots of cafes and shops and Queensway (one of the main streets in Bayswater) has two different tube stations on it, with three different lines which is useful. Though one is the Circle line which you will no doubt learn to avoid, we usually found it horribly slow and unreliable.

If you want to, you can sign up to www.tfl.gov.uk for weekly emails that tell you which tube lines will be affected by maintenance.

KayF is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 03:28 AM
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I like Russell Square (Bloomsbury), very close to the tube, you can take the tube directly there from airport. Near British museum, easy to reach a lot of touristic places.
valtor is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 04:01 AM
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We just took the kids this past spring, stayed at Marriott County Hall and loved that location!

There isn't the neighborhood feel of a West Kensington, but for convenience, it was great. Also, the SouthBank Centre is right there, so there are lots of choices of restaurants.

Kay makes a good point about the tubes - I think they are upgrading many lines for the Olympics so disruptions will be many between now and then. We could easily walk to Westminster (across the Thames), Embankment (walk down and across the Thames) and even Waterloo Station for the train to Hampton Court.

The kids loved seeing and hearing Big Ben at various times and watching the traffic on the Thames. We would stay there again.
surfmom is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 04:44 AM
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Another Bloomsbury fan. Good central location, and transportation, and many areas/sights within walking distance. Having the British Museum nearby can fill countless hours.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Oct 18th, 2010, 06:42 AM
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Bloomsbury, last time in May 09.
From my hotel m, British Museum right there, some good food places walking distance, parks nearby, good tube access, from hotel I walked to the City, the Thames, St Paul's, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Sq. , B&B or hotel, shopping on Oxford St or Tottenham Ct.
Tube to Heathrow.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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It is really easier to list the neighborhoods to avoid -- since most areas basically w/i zone 1/the Circle tube line have good transport and advantages.

I'd avoid Earls Court, Paddington/Queensway, parts of Kings Cross/Euston, and (unfortunately) parts of Chelsea. Chelsea is a wonderful/upscale area but parts have limited transport options. There are other areas to avoid - parts of the East end, some areas south of the river, etc.

Top of my list for first timers would be Covent Garden, Bloomsbury, South Kensington, and Sloane Square. Mayfair/Knightsbridge are very central but are generally pricey. For budget/central/transport Victoria is good.

After one has been to London and is back for a 2nd (or 10th) visit - then there are lots of great options since you might not need to be in the very center of things.
janisj is online now  
Oct 18th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Janis: Could you give a general idea of what the areas to avoid are like..why should they be avoided by a non-frequent visitor?

Is Notting Hill a good area for tourists? Pimlico? (You can tell that I am not very familar with London but we didi visit last year for the first time in many years and liked it so much that I would like to return one day to rent a place for a week or so..)
ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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I just don't personally like Earl's Court. It isn't nearly as bad is it was years ago but it is pretty far west and is just a busy area centered around the exhibition centre w/ lots of low cost B&B hotels.

I LOVE Pimlico -- I often rent flats in the area. Basically Pimlico is "Outer Victoria" since it is just south of there. It is only served by one tube station/line but is only one stop from Victoria w/ all its choices. And much of Pimlico is an easy walk from Victoria. It is a nice area w/ the river and Tate Britain. For staying a week in a nice flat - great. For 3 days on a quick look-see visit to London, maybe not.

Lots of people like Notting Hill -- but I generally don't recommend it for first timers. It is in the far NW corner of central London and quite removed from most sites.
janisj is online now  
Oct 18th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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Thanks so much! I remember staying in a terrible place in Earl's Court on one of my first visits ever--years and years ago. Last year we stayed at Barbican with a friend but I agree that it might not be best for tourists...we had such a good time that I am dreaming about returning to rent a place--maybe in a year or so..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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Within the Circle Line:
"I'd avoid Earls Court, Paddington/Queensway, parts of Kings Cross/Euston"
...is just prejudice/personal taste. There used to be a bunch of prissy suburbanites here who railed against Kings Cross because they'd seen hookers (they were presumably too naive to spot the hundreds of hookers in the bars of the posh hotels). But the hookers have been chased out, and with apartments in the area now going for up to £10 million, the suburbanites have finaly realised whast they've been missing.

"...and (unfortunately) parts of Chelsea. Chelsea is a wonderful/upscale area but parts have limited transport options. " That's why it's worth avoiding

Outside the Circle Line:

"There are other areas to avoid - parts of the East end, some areas south of the river, etc." But if there's a chain hotel there (as along the South Bank,) it's fine. If there's not, it's possibly an iffy area. Or an area so hoity-toity they don't want it bringing down by anything as plebby as a hotel, however smart.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 08:48 AM
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Ah, but flanner -- I only said parts of Kings Cross/Euston. It was nothing to to w/ the old time reputation. It is just a very busy/congested/bustling area -- so I'd personally avoid 'parts'.
janisj is online now  
Oct 18th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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As you can see there are plenty of "best" areas. My list for best apartment locations for you and your family's first visit would include Mayfair (near Grosvenor Square), Covent Garden, or St. James Square.
bardo1 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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We stayed in the Premiere Inn in Kings Cross (very good value) a couple of weekends ago which worked very well for us. The area is fine, and the tramsport links are very good. We went for a big wander from the hotel all around the Clerkenwell area.
Kings Cross has undergone a lot of regeneration in the last 10 years or so.
alihutch is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 09:16 AM
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Knightsbrige or Mayfair. they're central so you can walk to quite a few sights, have a good selection of pleasant hotels (although not cheap) and also good tube access if going further afield.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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Personally, I like Shoreditch. I like the bars in the neighborhood, as well as the general feel of the area. However, I wouldn't recommend it for kids and grandparents. For kids and grandparents, I would like something more central. Bloomsbury is pretty nice. The area around Marble Arch is alright, soulless, but a good location. If you are willing to pay for it, then Knightsbridge or Mayfair would work well. South Kensington is a bit less central, but a good, solid choice, with some good value hotels.
travelgourmet is offline  

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