Curious about the best neighborhoods for tourists in London? Let this dedicated Anglophile give you the full tour!
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My London Neighborhood Guide
If you've been following the blog for a while, you'll know London is my absolute "favourite" place in the world, and I'm constantly trying to justify another trip to England, in conjunction with our various other explorations. I'm never happier than when I'm sitting in a pub after shopping at Fortnum & Mason.
Of course, as one of the most-visited (and most-expensive) cities in the world, planning a vacation to London can be a bit overwhelming for visitors, even if it's not your first trip to the city. Deciding where to stay and which neighborhoods to check off your list in London requires a lot of research. Incidentally, if this is your first trip "across the pond," check out my post on what you need to know before your first trip to England!
After our recently cancelled trip to London, I decided I'd take out some of my frustrated Anglophile inclinations by reflecting back across our previous trips and sharing my assessments of London's best neighborhoods for tourists with all of you!
And if you're off to Paris as well on your European adventure, don't forget to check out my Paris Neighborhood Guide!
Best London Neighborhoods for Tourists
The City of London
But don't get the wrong impression and think of The City as too "touristy." Yes, The Tower is a tourist hotspot, but much of The City is full of bankers and lawyers going about their business. Much like the rest of London, The City is a charming combination of normal life continuing where it has for hundreds of years, in the shadow of some of the world's most famous landmarks.
For more on what to see in the City of London, check out the full post!
South of the River: South Bank & Southwark
On the other side of the Thames from the City of London is the South Bank, home to the South Bank Centre, The London Eye, and some of the most "touristy" tourist attractions surrounding it (the London Dungeon and Sea Life Centre). We loved our ride on the London Eye during our first trip to London, but it doesn't come cheap!
Walk along the Thames over to Southwark to see the reconstruction of The Globe Theatre, the Shard, and Borough Market, the thriving London market where you can pick up anything your heart desires!
From classy Russell Square to the touristy, and architecturally impressive, Kings Cross St Pancras, Bloomsbury bustles with life and places for tourists to explore.
With easy access to transit, Bloomsbury is also a great spot to make your headquarters as a tourist. Montague on the Gardens is an excellent option - check out their rates on Booking.com!
If you're wondering where you should stay in London, I'd strongly suggest Covent Garden, if you can find a room! A centuries' old misspelling of "Convent," Covent Garden is now a chic brunch and shopping spot, which abuts London's popping West End Theatre District. You can have it all as a tourist in Covent Garden - great restaurants, high-end and "normal" shopping, easy access to transportation, all within walking distance of most of the spots in London you'll want to explore.
Even if you don't stay in Covent Garden, be sure to stop by for dinner and a show, after perhaps just a bit of shopping!
Read up on everything you need to know about Covent Garden!
The poshest of the posh will love Mayfair. From the highest of high-end restaurants, to the spots where international moguls do their shopping and celebrity spotting, it's all here in classy Mayfair.
Window-shop in New Bond Street (or go in, if you're feeling like a big spender!), and visit Berkeley Square, so you can have Dame Vera's song stuck in your head for the rest of your life! Should you stay in Mayfair? It's certainly easy to find a hotel in this area (though not cheap). If you're looking to go *ritzy,* then I'd say yes. If you'll be opting for a big chain hotel, this area can feel a little cold and may not give you a window into 'real' London.
Mayfair borders Hyde Park, on its eastern edge, so don't forget to detox a bit from the hustle and bustle with a leafy stroll in one of my favorite parks!
Wondering what to wear in London? Check out all my tips to have you feeling chic (and prepared for rain!) wherever you go!
History buffs rejoice! Westminster is the political heart of London. It's the birthplace of modern democracy in Britain, and boasts The Houses of Parliament, and the best church in the world, for my money, Westminster Abbey, burial place of anyone who's anyone, from Elizabeth I to Sir Isaac Newton.
Oh and did I mention...? Westminster is also home to Her Majesty The Queen and all the pomp that surrounds her! If you happen to visit London in the summer, don't forget to put the full tour of Buckingham Palace very high on your agenda!
Small but powerful, Belgravia is one of my absolute favorite corners of London. Known for its rows of stunning townhouses and home to the Royal Family's home-away-from-home in London, The Goring Hotel, Belgravia also where most of the ambassadors to the Court of St James have those posh residences. There's not a huge amount to "see," but definitely plan to stop by Belgravia as you stroll through the city.
Wondering who built all of those townhouses? Prepare for your trip by streaming Belgravia, a recent miniseries based on a book by Lord Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame).
Between Belgravia and Hyde Park, you'll find slightly flashy Knightsbridge, home to Harrods, yet more fancy shops and in-city car dealerships, and the Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design. The V&A, as it's known, might not sound the most exciting for some people, but its collection of historic clothing is absolutely incredible (and enlightening) for those of us with an interest in history!
Looking to explore London's historic department stores? Check out the full post to learn more!
With its prime waterfront location on the Thames, Chelsea boasts more than its fair share of posh brunch spots, perfect for celebrity-sightings. Chelsea is where the Royals brunch. Bluebird anyone?
For the history buffs, Chelsea is is where you'll find The National Army Museum and the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home to retired service members in those famous red coats (if you don't know about the RH, read up about it regardless!)!
Thanks for stopping by!
I know you'll love London as much as I do. Don't forget to sign-up for the blog newsletter, for all of my Anglophile musings delivered straight to your inbox!
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