Trip Tips

  • InstaGusto
  • Where to stay?

    London is vast and so spread out it is almost overwhelming trying to figure out where to stay. You can go round and round in circles trying to find somewhere. Ooooh…there’s a hotel, looks great, but when you check exactly where it is you discover it is almost in another city. You find another that looks cute, close to the centre but realise to secure a room you will have to sell an arm and take out a mortgage on a leg. An hour has passed and still the pain continues…

    woman in white shirt showing frustration
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

    So how to narrow it down.

    We are not going to recommend individual hotels, that is always down to taste and budget, but we can suggest some areas to try and look in that make sense and why they do.

    Tip 1

    If you are going to travel around London on public transport make it easy for yourself. You want to be near a Tube Station and you don’t want to have to change lines if you can avoid it. Use the Tube Map to find the nearest station to your hotel, check the walking distances. It’s cheap, it’s frequent, it’s what the locals use for a reason.

    Click Map to Open in Another Window

    Tip 2

    Also think about the airport journeys with heavy bags. Not every Tube station has a lift, not every Tube station has an easy interchange between lines (some involve a long walk and stairs and are not easy with heavy luggage). Try and keep the number of changes to a minimum.

    Heathrow Options

    If you look to the far bottom left of the Tube Map (above) you will find the Heathrow terminal stations marked and see a dark blue line (Piccadilly) running from them which is the cheapest way to get to and from the airport. Another, quicker but more expensive option, is the overground Heathrow Express which will take you direct to PADDINGTON. If you are travelling from the other airports it will inevitably involve more changes.

    man walking on escalator
    Photo by Naveen Annam on

    Tip 3

    Think about what you will be doing. If you are coming to sightsee for the first time we think there is a sensible choice of Tube line to think about staying near and that’s the dark green line (District). Why?

    Well because of this…first find the Heathrow Airport stations again on the Tube map above and follow the dark blue Piccadilly Line until you get to a station called EARL’S COURT. It has a box around it and is joined to the dark green line (District Line).

    If you took this dark green District Line from here moving to the right you will pass and stop at the following stations serving the following tourist sites –

    • SOUTH KENSINGTON (Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert Museums/short walk to Hyde Park/short walk to Royal Albert Hall)
    • VICTORIA (short walk to Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard)
    • WESTMINSTER (Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms)
    • EMBANKMENT (short walk to Trafalgar Square, National Gallery, Covent Garden, Leicester Square)
    • BLACKFRIARS (short walk across the river to Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe
    • MANSION HOUSE (St Paul’s Cathedral)
    • TOWER HILL (The Tower of London, Tower Bridge)

    That’s nearly all the major tourist sites. Not bad for just one line eh!

    london telephone booth long exposure lights
    Photo by Negative Space on

    Tip 4

    Tube lines sometimes go down either because of unforeseen issues or planned maintenance. This is frustrating for locals but can be bewildering for visitors. If you can have another option close by – another Tube line, Tube or a mainline railway station. Based on these criteria we have three areas we suggest looking at first, especially for a short visit.

    Areas to consider along the District Line

    EARL’S COURT or GLOUCESTER ROAD (Budget – Mid Range) – lots of different options for transport, a good, if lively, area, plenty of places to eat if you just want to wander nearby, very close to some museums and shopping. Also has the Piccadilly Line for Heathrow Airport and the British Museum.

    WESTMINSTER or ST JAMES’S PARK (High End) – right in the heart of it, mostly top end hotels, expensive, in places can be quiet at night, might need to walk a little or travel to find a range of restaurant choices but right in the heart of the tourist city near Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

    TOWER HILL (Mid Range) – you are right at the stunning Tower of London and Tower Bridge, can be very quiet in the evening and at weekends, might need to travel for more food choice. Can also be good if you want to explore the edgier East End of the city.

    These suggestions are just intended as some pointers to make your life easier. Perhaps you are comfortable travelling around on mass transit. Pick and choose which tips are useful to you. You can of course also get buses, black cabs and Ubers, although London traffic can be notoriously slow and the costs can quickly add up. Road is often slower than underground. We will do some neighbourhood guides at a later date to give you some more ideas on where you might want to stay. Enjoy the anticipation. We look forward to seeing you!