Where to Stay in London for First-Timers

London › First Time in London
Updated: January 28, 2024
By Santorini Dave

Our Favorite London Hotels

• 5-Star: Connaught
• 4-Star: Marylebone
• 3-Star: Motel One
• Boutique: Batty Langley’s
• Cheap: Z Soho
• For Families: Park Plaza
• For Couples: Soho
• Heathrow: Sofitel
• Gatwick: Sofitel
• Victoria Station: DoubleTree
• Paddington: Hilton
• Kings Cross: St. Pancras Renaissance

Good hotel for first-time visitor to London.

The excellent Strand Palace Hotel in the heart of Covent Garden. A great location for first-timers to London.

What is best area to stay in London for a first-time visitor?

For first-time visitors to London, staying in the West End, particularly in the Covent Garden neighborhood, is highly recommended. Renowned for its dynamic blend of history, culture, and entertainment, Covent Garden serves as a perfect base for exploring London’s numerous attractions. This area is famous for its historic market and lively streets, creating an energetic (and touristy) atmosphere that epitomizes modern London. From Covent Garden, you’ll find it easy to access many of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Royal Opera House, Leicester Square, and the British Museum, as well as discovering charming hidden spots. Plus, its central location means excellent transport links, making it convenient to venture further across the city.

Covent Garden in London.

Hotels in Covent Garden (great for first-timers):

Covent Garden HotelME LondonNoMad LondonOne AldwychResident Covent GardenThe SavoyThe Fielding

Covent Garden – Ideal for First-Timers

At the heart of Covent Garden lies the famous Market Building, an architectural marvel that dates back to the 19th century. Visitors can wander through the covered market, browsing the boutique shops and artisanal stalls that showcase an array of unique products, from handcrafted jewelry to fine teas. The market’s charming piazza serves as a gathering place for street performers, who entertain passersby with an eclectic mix of music, acrobatics, and comedy.

Just a short walk from Covent Garden, visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant theater scene of London’s West End. This renowned district is home to a plethora of world-class theaters that stage everything from long-running musicals to avant-garde plays.

In addition to the theater scene, Covent Garden offers easy access to several iconic London attractions. Trafalgar Square, a bustling public square that hosts art installations, cultural events, and political demonstrations, is just a short walk away. Nearby, visitors can explore the National Gallery, which houses a vast collection of European masterpieces, or the National Portrait Gallery, which showcases an impressive array of portraits of famous British figures.

For those interested in the literary and historical aspects of London, the British Museum and the Charles Dickens Museum (both in Bloomsbury) are within walking distance of Covent Garden. The British Museum is home to an unparalleled collection of artifacts from around the world, while the Charles Dickens Museum offers a glimpse into the life and work of one of England’s most beloved authors.

Food lovers will relish Covent Garden’s diverse culinary scene, which caters to a variety of tastes and budgets. From trendy street food vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants, the neighborhood offers an eclectic range of dining options. For those looking to unwind after a day of sightseeing, Covent Garden’s numerous traditional pubs and lively bars provide plenty of nightlife options.

What attractions are in Covent Garden or within easy walking distance?

Public market in Covent Garden.

Covent Garden Market in London.

Covent Garden Market: A historic covered market that is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and street performers.

Royal Opera House: A world-renowned performing arts venue that hosts opera, ballet, and other live performances.

London Transport Museum: A museum that explores the history of London’s transportation system, featuring vintage buses, trains, and other vehicles.

Somerset House: A beautiful neoclassical building that hosts art exhibitions, concerts, and other cultural events.

National Gallery: A world-class art museum that features works by some of the most famous artists in history, including Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Rembrandt.

British Museum: One of the largest and most comprehensive museums in the world, featuring a vast collection of artifacts and artworks from around the globe. Located in Bloomsbury and about a 12-minute walk from Covent Garden.

The West End: A vibrant theater district that is home to some of the best shows and musicals in the world.

Trafalgar Square: A historic square that is home to the famous Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery.

Leicester Square: A bustling square that is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and cinemas.

Soho: A trendy neighborhood that is known for its nightlife, restaurants, and shopping.

What are good places to stay in or near Covent Garden, for first-timers to London?

Best luxury hotel in London for first time visitors.

The historic and iconic Savoy is the best luxury hotel in Covent Garden.

The Savoy: This fabulous hotel, situated near the banks of the River Thames, has been synonymous with luxury and elegance since its opening in 1889. With its opulent interiors, world-class dining options, and impeccable service.

Covent Garden Hotel: Located in the bustling heart of Covent Garden, this boutique hotel features a unique blend of contemporary design and classic British charm. The Covent Garden Hotel’s individually-designed rooms, stylish bar, and intimate screening room make it a popular choice for discerning travelers.

Strand Palace: Situated on the famous Strand, this historic hotel offers a prime location just steps from Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square. Strand Palace features comfortable, well-appointed rooms and a range of dining options, ensuring a pleasant and convenient stay in the heart of the city.

Fielding Hotel: Nestled in a quiet corner of Covent Garden, the Fielding Hotel provides guests with a cozy and intimate retreat. With its charming Georgian façade, tastefully-decorated rooms, and warm hospitality, this hotel offers a tranquil haven amidst the busy streets of central London.

Citadines Trafalgar Square Hotel: This aparthotel, located just a short walk from Covent Garden and the River Thames, offers spacious and well-equipped apartments, making it an ideal choice for families and longer-term visitors. With its modern amenities and convenient location, Citadines Trafalgar Square Hotel provides guests with a comfortable and flexible base for exploring the city.

One Aldwych: This contemporary luxury hotel, situated in a beautiful Edwardian building, features an impressive range of amenities, including a stylish lobby bar, an indoor pool, and a private screening room. One Aldwych’s elegant rooms and suites, combined with its prime location, make it a sought-after choice for travelers seeking a sophisticated stay in Covent Garden.

The Waldorf Hilton: A historic hotel with a rich heritage, The Waldorf Hilton offers guests a blend of classic British elegance and modern luxury. Located near Covent Garden and the West End, this hotel features beautifully-appointed rooms, a grand ballroom, and a range of dining options, ensuring a memorable stay in the heart of London.

The Henrietta Hotel: This boutique hotel, located on a quiet street in Covent Garden, showcases a unique blend of contemporary design and Art Deco-inspired elements. With its intimate atmosphere, attentive service, and stylish rooftop terrace, The Henrietta Hotel is a chic and fashionable choice for visitors to London.

The Z Hotel Covent Garden: This budget-friendly hotel offers compact yet stylish rooms, complete with modern amenities and comfortable furnishings. The Z Hotel Covent Garden’s central location and affordable rates make it a popular choice for travelers seeking a convenient and well-designed base in the heart of the city.

St. Martin’s Lane Hotel: This design-driven hotel, situated just a stone’s throw from Covent Garden and the West End, features bold and imaginative interiors by renowned designer Philippe Starck. With its striking design, spacious rooms, and lively bar, St. Martin’s Lane Hotel offers a unique and memorable stay.

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About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Author Bio. Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loved Greece, travel, and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers on a mission to deliver the most helpful travel content on the internet. We specialize in Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece and recommend the best hotels, best neighborhoods, and best family hotels in top destinations around the world. We also make hotel maps and travel videos. I can be contacted at dave@santorinidave.com.