Known for its bustling art museums, internationally influenced eateries, and sprawling markets, London consistently attracts culture-seeking jet-setters despite its notoriously dreary weather. If you're such a traveler who has your sights set on the banks of the Thames, you're not going to want to book your accommodations in until after you've scrolled through this article (trust us).
For insider intel on where to stay, find the best gin and tonic, and escape the crowds in the British capital, we turned to former London local Jessie Bush of We the People. London is "essentially a massive city made up of small villages, meaning there really is something (and somewhere) for everyone," says Bush of the metropolitan capital. "Basically, whatever you're into, you'll find it in London."
Whether you're lured to the British capital by the burgeoning food scene, the outstanding art galleries, or the quality vintage shopping, these are the best areas to stay in London no matter what's on your itinerary.
If You're an Art Aficionado…
The Area: Soho, home to a number of world-class theaters and situated between The British Museum, The National Gallery, and The National Portrait Gallery.
The Insider Info: "I visit Dishoom every time I'm in London with whoever I can lure for an epic feast," divulges Bush. "And trust me when I say epic feast—Dishoom is the sort of place you share dishes, over-order, and just generally indulge. This modern Bombay kitchen has several spots throughout the city, and they are all worthy of a visit."
The Accommodations: Dean Street Townhouse, located in a pair of Georgian residences in a neighborhood that once attracted sculptors, architects, and artists, such as the painter William Hogarth.
If You Want the Local Experience…
The Area: Shoreditch, the edgy East End neighborhood that borders the buttoned-up financial district and boasts the ever-popular Brick Lane Market.
The Insider Info: "Leila's Shop is an East London institution; a cozy cafe serving thoughtfully created seasonal fare with a produce shop next door," recommends Bush.
The Accommodations: Ace Hotel London, which is conveniently located around the corner from Leila's Shop. The rooftop bar offers panoramic views of the city's high rises and a long list of cocktails.
If You Love Vintage Shopping…
The Area: Marylebone, known for its curated boutiques, trendy restaurants, and charming neighborhoods.
The Insider Info: Portobello Market is "hardly a secret spot, but it's definitely worth rummaging through the racks," says Bush. "And if you don't happen to find anything you fancy, you can always check out (aka Instagram) the pastel-lined streets nearby."
The Accommodations: The Marylebone is centrally located, just a short walk from the Bond Street station.
If You're a Foodie…
The Area: Notting Hill, as the cobblestone streets of this London neighborhood are lined with restaurants suitable for every palate, spanning local haunts like The Churchill Arms (pictured above) to Michelin-star eateries like the Ledbury.
The Insider Info: For the best gin and tonic in Notting Hill, head to the Portobello Star, a stripped-back contemporary bar serving the quintessential London cocktail.
The Accommodations: The Laslett, a reasonably priced luxury hotel that's located a stone's throw from Notting Hill Gate station.
If You've Visited London Before…
The Area: Clerkenwell, the up-and-coming central London neighborhood is a bit out of the way, but it's well worth the extra effort.
The Insider Info: Make a reservation at Moro, a restaurant serving up dishes inspired by the 700-year Moorish occupation of Spain.
The Accommodations: The Zetter Townhouse, an under-the-radar hotel complete with a charming, country house–style living room cocktail bar.