5 best areas to stay in London for an authentic local experience

July 22, 2021

What’s the best area to stay in London?

London is the largest city in the UK and is widely regarded as the arts and cultural capital of Europe. Due to its sheer size and multicultural nature, the city is split up into 32 large districts or “Boroughs”, with each of those split into smaller parts to help locals discern between areas.

As lovers of London, Blue Orchid Hotels is dedicated to hosting guests in the top central London locations. Using a deep knowledge and respect for the city, the Blue Orchid Hotels collection is comprised of some of the most unique and wonderful properties in the capital: each with its distinct London charm. 

Located in Westminster, the flagship properties are situated near some of the city’s best-connected stations and beloved landmarks: the most affordable luxury hotels London has to offer. While Westminster is widely regarded as the best district for guests to the city, the truth is there is no single best area. It all depends on why you are coming to London, how long you are staying for and who you’ve come with.

As great as the very lively commercial areas of London are, those looking for a quieter, more laid-back stay while still being in easy reach of the city’s popular must-see districts may want to look for an authentic local hotel experience. 

So, which are the quieter, more residential areas? There are actually many of them that in the total host the city’s whopping nearly nine million residents. Read on to find out where you can find the best 5-star hotels in London.


Why should you look for the best local London experiences?

No one can deny that the top tourist hotspots in London remain popular to this day for a good reason. However, once you’ve visited Westminster Abbey once or twice before and gone on a couple of spins of the London Eye, you might be looking for something a bit different (and perhaps less rammed with excitable London newbies!)



The great thing about looking for a more authentic local experience in London is that the smaller businesses could really use the patronage after a difficult year in lockdown. By making a conscious choice to opt for some of the smaller shops and fine dining restaurants in London, you’ll be making a big difference while also giving yourself the opportunity to create the unmatchable holiday of a lifetime.


1. Tower Hill

Where is Tower Hill?

Tower Hill is one of the East London districts that borders the River Thames. Bordering Whitechapel, Shoreditch, and the City of London to name just a few- this district encompasses both the city’s historical past and some more modern artistic influences.


What to do in Tower Hill

Home to the same small independent businesses, quirky art galleries, and artisanal world foods that spring to mind when you hear ‘Hoxton’, ‘Shoreditch’ or ‘Dalston’: Tower Hill is East London’s characterful neighborhood.

No district could be so close to the cool arts and cultural scene and not follow suit. The Barbican and Whitechapel Gallery are in close walking distance. Brick Lane and Old Spitalfields Market are two must-sees for shopping enthusiasts and anyone looking for a unique souvenir to take away.

Of note, recognizable landmarks are Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, and Monument to the Great Fire of London. Guests to the area can easily spend a day ducking in and out of the lanes lined with Elizabethan architecture and ruins of the Roman Wall. At the end of certain streets, the city’s modern design (The Shard, The Gherkin, and the Walkie Talkie building) highlights the duality and evolution of the global city.


2. Camden

Where is Camden?

Camden is a short journey north of central London- easily accessible both on foot and using the easy public transport links. The district is surrounded by other familiar areas: celeb-favorite Primrose Hill, classic Regents Park, and the sprawling Hampstead Heath.


What to do in Camden

Aside from the obvious (yet wonderful) choice of Camden Market, the district has a lot to offer its local residents: a side that many tourists never get to see. 

Many of the city’s canals run through here, giving the area a distinctly Amsterdam-like vibe. These beautiful quieter waterways are perfect for a romantic walk- and also give guests to the city the unique opportunity to stay on a houseboat.

The area has a thriving nightlife, from themed bars and pubs to cabaret and underground clubs there is something to entertain every taste. While many of the district’s bars are fairly well-known, a small search will pull up some lesser-frequented venues to be discovered.


3. Battersea

Where is Battersea?

For years, the reigning ‘top’ districts in London were all north of the river, but that has been changing in recent years. Battersea is south of the River Thames, on the opposite banks to the Royal Borough of Chelsea (just a walk across the bridge away). Retaining Chelsea’s uber-chic style but in a more laid-back and less self-conscious way.



What to do in Battersea

Battersea’s star attraction is the beautiful Battersea Park. Stretching out over 200 acres of land, the Victorian Park borders the River Thames and contains a number of ecological areas and the famous Peace Pagoda: one of many worldwide presented by the Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji as a shrine to peace.

Also of note are the children’s zoo, a number of children’s play areas, gallery, and open-air activities from dance classes to sports. Surrounding the park are a multitude of independent cafes and luxurious architecture just waiting for your discovery. 

More than meets the eye, Battersea Power Station makes for a great day out with some of the top seasonal attractions, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues in South London!


4. Mayfair

Where is Mayfair?

Mayfair is an incredible central and upmarket district (you may recognize the name from the dark blue properties in Monopoly!) Bordering the largest royal park in central London, Hyde Park, and just a short walking distance from the city’s popular commercial district, Soho, this area is peacefully residential in the heart of buzzing central London.


What to do in Mayfair

As one of the most upmarket areas in London, Mayfair contains some quieter local celeb haunts and private clubs. The traditional architecture in Mayfair dates back hundreds of years, so simply wandering through the peaceful backstreets you’re sure to stumble on a delightful boutique or Michelin-star restaurant located inside the old Georgian townhouses.

Mayfair also borders the bustling commercial district Soho. Perfect for those looking to voyage out easily into the buzzing heart of central London, while also having a quieter retreat at the end of a long day.

Check out the hotels near Buckingham Palace to get the best of both the authentic local experience and the traditional tourist stay in London.


5. Notting Hill

Where is Notting Hill?

The furthest west of all our top authentic London hotel spots, Notting Hill will be instantly recognized by any film buff as the namesake for popular rom-com Notting Hill. Located just above super-affluent Kensington on the map, Notting Hill is a convenient distance from Paddington Station, making it a great choice for long-distance visitors.



What to do in Notting Hill

If you’ve watched the film Notting Hill, the first place you’ll want to head to is Notting Hill Bookshop. The streets that surround the bookshop are lined with trees and small cottage-like properties that seem to whisk you from the streets of London and deposit you in a small coastal town. 

Perfect for tranquil walks (and snapping some very Instagram-able shots), Notting Hill is the perfect destination for families or couples looking to discover a new favorite indie cafe.

Make your booking in one of Blue Orchid Hotels’ unique 4 and 5-star properties for a unique and authentic stay in central London. Visit the website or get in touch with the experienced reservations team to check availability and make your reservation!