“Best” can mean different things to different people, cheapest, best value, close to the sights, health clubs, pampering, near nightlife or theatres …
For the purpose of this discussion we’re really saying what are the most convenient hoel districts if you are staying in London.
So first lets take a look at the major hotel districts.
Where Not To Stay
The easiest aspect is to outline hotel areas of London that will get you off to a seriously bad start if you book accommodation in them, (unless you splash out on a taxi.)
The hotel areas that are particularly bad for Heathrow are those in the City Of London, Tower of London, London Bridge, Waterloo, County Hall areas. And don’t even think of going the other side of London from Heathrow to Docklands.
Kensington – The Easiest All Round Hotel District For Heathrow
The easiest hotel district logistically for Heathrow is Kensington. Its the closest mainstream hotel district to Heathrow and the main road out to Heathrow from London passes right through it, as does the Piccadilly Line of the London Undeground.
The district goes further and further upmarket as you travel into London along the Cromwell Road, (the extention of the motorway/freeway from Heathrow).
Earls Court is the place for low cost, the Gloucester Road area is the area for chain value 4 stars like Holiday Inn, Knightsbridge is one of the most expensive and exclusive districts of London to stay in.
If you have a family or a couple with lots of luggage a private car with meet n greet at the airport should be around the same price or cheaper than taking the Heathrow Express into London.
The Piccadilly Line of the London Underground runs every 5 minutes to Heathrow from about 5 a.m. to midnight and is the cheapest way to get to and from Heathrow. Trains from Earls Court, Gloucester Road, South Kensington and Knightsbridge take 40-50 minutes with stations beneath the passenger terminals.
There are plenty of restaurants to suit all budgets in the area and excellent public transport links to the main attractions. At Gloucester Road and Earls Court are proper full size supermarkets, not the small convenience style outlets you get elsewhere in Central London.
Paddington – The Fastest Link To Heathrow
Paddington is not particularly central and its environment is OK but not outstanding. The big attraction here is speed to the airport using the Heathrow Express train. Trains run every 15 minutes and take 15-20 minutes to Heathrow depending on terminal required. There are hotels of all types and budget around the station. Its probably quicker to get to check-in at Heathrow from Paddington using the Heathrow Express train than staying at many Heathrow hotels.
Looking For Cheap Accommodation?
If low cost is the overwhelming factor that determines where you stay then look at Earls Court Kensington and St Pancras. Both are on the Piccadilly Line of the Underground the cheapest Heathrow transfer available. Earls Court has the convenience of being the closest to Heathrow, Kings Cross/St Pancras may have cheap or cheaper accommodation with better reviews.
You Want To Be Downtown, Close To The Theatre ….
London has no downtown area in the North American sense. Sights are spread out, as are the hotels. You will be using public transport and walking to get around.
The nearest thing to a downtown area is the West End area where most but not all of the theatres are. Most hotels are 4 or 5 star global chain type hotels or exclusive boutique hotels. If you are in London on an expense account then its fine or if money is no object – for others not quite so fortunate they tend to look for something just a little further out the second time.
Bloomsbury is an atmospheric literary district that fits this bill with a good range of accommodation. If you don’t take the Underground from Heathrow then a taxi or a shorter journey on the Underground will be part of your transfer.
Kensington Hotels – Earls Court, Gloucester Road, South Kensington
Paddington Hotels – Accommodation around Paddington Station
Kings Cross St Pancras Hotels – Value for money accommodation, a great transport hub
West End Hotels – Hotels in the geographical centre of London