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Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Portland, Oregon
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Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Hello!

I had previously posted a topic seeking any advice on apartment companies to look at for renting a flat for my first-time visit to London.

However, after hours of internet research, I have finally determined that first I need to decide what area to stay in.

My question is: what area/neighborhood would you recommend for a first-time London visitor?

We are interested in seeing some of the big sites, but have found that our travel style gears more toward eating out, shopping and doing what the locals do. To give you an idea, we recently visited Paris for the first time in June and stayed mainly in the Montmarte area where our apartment was located. We loved it there.

Any advice would be soooo appreciated. I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of London right now.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Were you looking at flats in the area around Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove? Those areas are nice, but a bit west of central London, and you may find the bus or tube a bit of a hike, unless you're used to using public transport. Notting Hill is positively central if you compare it to staying in Barking and coming in to central London daily, but it's all relative, to be sure.

Having said that, I suspect you'd like Bloomsbury. It's more central than Notting Hill, has excellent bus and tube connections as well as the potential to walk to a number of sights, but has pockets of quiet green space if you want to escape from the bustle of the city.

An alternate to Bloomsbury is Marylebone: close to shopping, a number of restos, cafes and pubs, and not far from Hyde Park. The High Street has a villagey feel, and is really a hidden gem.

How long will you stay in London, and how many of you are travelling?

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

We'll be in London for a week then off to Paris for another week. It is just my husband and I. We will be traveling on a budget and are looking to only spend about $200 USD a night, max.

We are a young (early 30's) couple, somewhat new to traveling, but not novices and we are not very picky people. In June we had a two week vacation beginning in Amsterdam, then to Brussels and then Paris. It was a wonderful, wonderful vacation. Traveling is my passion in life, for sure :)

Seattle
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3. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

PDXLadie: TP has given you excellent suggestions. I also like South Kensington, especially near the Gloucester Road tube stop as you can walk to the V&A, Science & Natural History museums, or just explore the neighborhood. You can also walk to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, too, as well as Holland Park.

Portland, Oregon
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129 posts
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4. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Thank you for your suggestions! My mom stayed in Kensington and really recommended the neighborhood. Is there much of a difference, if any, in Kensington and S. Kensington?

Seattle
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5. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

PDXLadie: Not too much of a difference. Kensington High Street tube stop lets out in a shopping center, as there are lots of shops and restaurants in that area. South Kensington and Gloucester Road have three tube lines (Circle, District and Piccadilly) to choose from while South Kensington is on the Circle and District lines.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Kensington and South Ken are both swell areas. When I stay in the former, I rely on buses to get around more than the tube, and from Gloucester Road, I use the tube a fair amount.

High St Ken is a little like Marylebone, witn a bit of a villagey feel, and South Ken a bit more smart houses and flats, plus all the culcha (sic) one gets from the museums.

Either would be desirable for a first time visit, I think.

Calgary
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7. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Hi ,

Im with Lee. We took our 1st trip over in the summer and really lucked out with the S Kensington area. Very close to the tube and shopping and museams etc. We felt very safe and comfortable the whole time. the millenium Bailey was our choice hotel and we were not disappointed. Have fun toffee

somewhere out there
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8. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

An area you might be interested in, which I rediscovered recenty, is around Goodge st. I'm not sure if it's classed as Fitzrovia, or Soho or even Bloomsbury but it seemed very nice, lots of individual type shops and restaurants and a good neighbourhood feel.

Maida Vale is also nice though more residential. There are lost of shops and restaurants along Edgeware rd and a food market on Church st. It's also close to the 'Little Venice' area where there are lots of restaurants and shops and again more neighbourhoodly.

Redlands, California
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9. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Our first trip to London we stayed in Kensington, right off of Kensington Church St. at the Vicarage Hotel. It's a small B&B in a residential neighborhood. It was wonderful as it was centrally located between two tube stops: Kensington High St & Notting Hill. It was also a 5 minute walk to Kensington Palace & Park. Lots of restaurants and shopping nearby.

Dyann

Williamsburg...
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10. Re: Best Neighborhood To Stay In For First-time London Visitor?

Dear PDXLadie

One of the great things about London is its public transportation. That means you can stay almost anywhere in central London and use theTube (London Underground) to get to the major sights. Also, London's sights are spread around the city, and not grouped in one area, as many are in Paris.

The first time I stayed in London, I stayed in Marylebone, near the Baker Street Tube station. It was fine, and we could walk to many places or take the Tube. I then discovered Knightsbridge and South Ken, and have stayed in that area, regularly. If your budget is tight, you might consider the Earl's Court area, which has a number of moderately priced hotels. The Earl's Court Tube is on the Picadilly Line, which is the Tube line that goes out to London Heathrow.

The gist of my advice is to go through the hotel list on TripAdvisor, by popularity. Find one that's in central London, is within your price range and appeals to you, and then book it. Please note, however, that some very good hotels have lower rankings because they don't have as many reviews written about them. So technically, a hotel could be listed as #100, and be just as good as one ranked 45.

Good luck and cheers!