Hampstead in North London is a quaint and picturesque neighbourhood that makes you feel you’re worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its village like setting is perfect for a stroll and the beautiful Hampstead Heath nearby is ideal for a picnic. One of London’s most expensive zip codes, Hampstead has a rich literary and musical tradition. Not surprisingly many a poet, writer and artist call it home.
The area around the busy Victoria Station can be crowded and loud but it’s close to quite a few attractions: the Westminster Abbey, the Big Ben and the Buckingham Palace. It’s also an inexpensive area with quite a few affordable B&B’s and hotels. Pimlico, which is a short walk away, has its share of nice restaurants, while the peaceful St. James’s Park nearby is a great place if you want to spend some quiet moments.
Paddington is popular, lively and convenient. It sits just north of Bayswater and is home to Paddington Station, a major transport hub, with also a link to Heathrow. The area is packed with loads of cheap to mid-priced lodging options, especially in and around Sussex Gardens and Norfolk Square. But choose carefully because not all of them pass the muster. The area also has numerous restaurants and shops, and trendy Notting Hill is a short walk away.
Located on the edge of the lovely Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, Bayswater is one of the city’s most cosmopolitan neigbhourhoods. Though a mostly residential area full of quiet streets dotted with Georgian mansions and expensive apartments, it also has numerous lodging options to suit all budgets. Bayswater gives you quick and easy access to the main sights thanks to its close proximity to several tube stations. There are also a variety of good ethnic restaurants in the area.
The charming and green neighbourhood of Bloomsbury is the intellectual and literary heart of the city. Once the home of Virginia Woolf, its list of attractions include the British Museum, the British Library and Russell Square. The presence of many bookshops and prominent colleges adds to its literary reputation. The vibrant nightlife of Soho is close by, so are the markets of Covent Garden and Charlotte Street which is packed with nice restaurants.
Kensington is a wealthy and fashionable part of town. It houses the Kensington Palace, the home of Princess Diana. To the west is Kensington High Street with its posh boutiques and restaurants, while South Kensington has the 3 big museums (the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert museum and the Science Museum). Hyde Park and Notting Hill are a short walk away to the East. All of this makes Kensington very popular with the tourists.
This area west of Bloomsbury is flanked by Hyde Park in the South and Regent’s Park in the North. There are a few attractions to be discovered here: Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Royal Academy of Music and Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street. Staying here puts you a stone’s throw away from the buzz of the West End. While Marylebone High Street has some buzz of its own, thanks to its pubs, restaurants and trendy boutiques.
Once reputed for being seedy and run-down, the King’s Cross area is going through massive transformation. These days it’s a much improved and cleaned up neighbourhood with plenty of reasonably priced accommodation. It being close to St. Pancras station (Eurostar) and Bloomsbury is a plus point.