London is a metropolis made up of Inner London, which has 12 boroughs, and the surrounding areas, Outer London, with the other 20 boroughs. Altogether it’s referred to as Greater London.
City of London
We’ll start with the most significant district. The City of London is a unique administrative-territorial entity that has the status of a ceremonial country, which means it isn’t under the queen’s power. The City of London has the famous Tower of London, the Saint Paul’s Cathedral, skyscrapers, Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theater, and other important tourist sites.
In general, the hotels here are luxurious, but there are cheap options like hostels available as well.
The Westminster borough is the west of the City of London. It’s also called the City of Westminster and is one of the historical boroughs of Greater London. This is where you’ll find the famous Big Ben and the British Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Royal Courts of Justice.
Westminster is where all the famous streets are, including Mall, Piccadilly, Whitehall, and Downing Street, as well as Baker Street, famously home to Sherlock Holmes. This borough has many hotels with various prices so choose freely according to your budget.
Covent Garden is a borough in the center of London on the Thames. This is a popular shopping place and has some popular tourist destinations, including the Royal Opera House.
You’ll find fashionable luxury class hotels here as well as more modest ones.
Kensington and Chelsea
To the west of Covent Garden, you’ll find the borough Kensington and Chelsea. Kensington is the embassy and consulate district, and therefore it has an air of respectability. There are two parks nearby, Holland Park and Kensington Gardens. Other than that, there’s the science museum, the natural history museum, the Victoria and Albert museum and the Olympia exhibition center.
If you’re in the area, you’ll want to visit the Kensington palace because it has two exhibits on Queen Victoria’s life and there are offers available that let you get in without waiting in lines.
There are many hotels here and the prices are lower than others in the popular tourist areas. You can get to the central tourist attractions on the Underground or a bus in 20 minutes.
Hammersmith and Fulham
The Hammersmith borough has several famous theaters and concert halls. There are many bus routes that go through here and several Underground lines, including Piccadilly, which can take you to the Heathrow airport. This borough is within walking distance of famous London sights like Hyde Park, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and more. It has its own interesting places like the Earl’s Court exhibition and concert hall, the famous Empress State Building skyscraper and the Finborough Theatre.
Fulham is one of the greenest areas in London and is on the Thames’s northern bank. Football fans know that Fulham has two football stadiums, the Stamford Bridge and the Craven Cottage, where the Chelsea and Fulham clubs practice, respectively. You can visit the first stadium on a tour, and it has its own museum.
There are many hotels in this area and the prices are reasonable. It’s about a 30-minute Underground ride or a 40-60-minute bus ride to the center.
Wandsworth is a quiet, safe, residential borough on the southern bank of the Thames with many bridges and green gardens about 30-40 minutes from the center.
It’s not very different from other residential quarters with an average white population and is considered a good place to live.
There aren’t many hotels here, but the prices are fairly low.
Lambeth is in Inner London, across from the Westminster Palace. It’s connected to Westminster by the Waterloo Bridge and the Westminster station is on the bank. This is where Lambeth’s unofficial name, Waterloo, comes from. The local Kensington park and Vauxhall parks are great places for walking and appreciating the view.
Tourist attractions here include the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal National Theater and the gigantic Ferris wheel called the London Eye. The view from the top is captivating, and you can experience it without lines and with other benefits as well: get more information here. This borough is interesting for tourists and always has festivals, fairs and various shows.
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There aren’t many hotels in this area, and they’re fairly expensive.
Southwark is split off from Westminster and the City of London by the Thames. Most of it runs along the southern bank between Lambeth and Bermondsey. The current architecture is fairly modern and has skyscrapers and shopping malls. One of the best modern buildings is City Hall, which serves as the residence for the Greater London Administration.
The Thames riverbanks are connected by the Millennium bridge, next to the modern art gallery Tate Modern. The Tower Bridge reminds us of the city’s rich past and has become one of London’s symbols. This borough is comfortable for tourists.
There are many hotels here, but they’re not priced for people on a budget.
Tower Hamlets is to the east of the center. It’s home to the Tower of London and includes a large part of the London East End. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs and more than half of the residents are national minorities. It also has the Childhood Museum, a filial of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Isle of Dogs has the Cannery Wharf business quarter, and it’s a very large and diverse borough. Overall, it’s fairly safe, has comfortable transport routes and cheap lodging.
You can find very cheap hotels here, but quiet isn’t guaranteed.
Hackney is a borough in the north-eastern part of London. It’s worth noting that Hackney is often associated with poverty and crime, and it has had a crime rate for over 100 years. But it also has some tourist sights!
Victoria Park was opened in the early 19th century and workers had protests here. Now it’s one of the largest landscaped parks in Britain. It has museums, theaters, and modern art galleries. It often has music festivals, concerts and other creative events. But we don’t recommend staying here.
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Islington is famous for its antique stores, as well as its modern wine bars and restaurants. Londoners love it. The famous writer George Orwell lived here, and later the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair did too.
This borough is fairly prestigious, but relatively inexpensive, and it has many hotels and hostels with affordable prices. It’s comfortable for tourists, is close to the center, and is beautiful and clean.
Camden Town is a charismatic and trendy borough. It’s a kind of underground paradise for people in various subcultures. Here every other person is a goth, emo, punk or just a jolly person.
The main tourist attraction in Camden Town might be the many markets. Millions of people come here every day to find exclusive clothing items. There are many hotels and hostels and they’re fairly cheap. It’s a great place for modern youth.
Brent is a mix of residential, industrial and commercial land. Wembley is the main part of Brent, and it’s where you’ll find the Brent stadium and arena.
It’s a safe borough, but not very interesting for tourists. It’s also very multi-national and multi-cultural.
Ealing is a borough in the farthest west part of London. It’s saturated by the spirit of cosmopolitism but is very family friendly and green. It’s popular among the British middle class and various ethnic groups.
It has a large variety of stores and restaurants next to Ealing Common. Ealing Broadway has a large shopping and entertainment center with a movie theater and many stores.
These western boroughs don’t have many hotels, but the prices are low due to the distance.
Hounslow, Richmond-upon-Thames and Kingston-upon-Thames
The Hounslow, Richmond-upon-Thames and Kingston-upon-Thames boroughs are the quietest, most prestigious parts of the city and are famous for their number of schools, parks and gardens.
Merton, Sutton and Croydon
Merton, Sutton and Croydon are the southern-most boroughs and farther from the center than most tourists want to be. Merton and Sutton are safer than the set apart Croydon districts. You might like the low hotel prices, but it’s better to stay closer to the center in more interesting places. You can find hotels in these boroughs by clicking on the names Merton, Sutton and Croydon.
Lewisham and Bromley
Lewisham is to the southeast, and even farther southeast is Bromley. These are also less interesting areas for tourists. They’re far from the center and the Underground doesn’t reach Bromley, but the Overground does.
Lewisham has better transport. The Docklands Light Railway runs there and works without conductors. Before staying in one of these boroughs, it’s best to learn about the hotel locations and safety level. The hotels here generally aren’t very expensive.
The Greenwich borough is to the east of Lewisham and is London’s “sea gates.” Greenwich has always been tightly connected to the British navy. The prime meridian and the Greenwich Observatory are famous around the world. It’s considered one of the most prestigious boroughs. Greenwich’s main tourist attractions are the famous observatory, Greenwich park, the navy museum and the Yuri Gagarin statue.
It’s a touristy borough, and we don’t recommend staying here. You’ll have to take a train to the center, which will take about an hour. But it’s worth visiting the park because it has an excellent view of London and the Thames.
Bexley, Havering, Barking and Dagenham
The farthest east boroughs Bexley, Havering, Barking and Dagenham are remote industrial regions that don’t have much that would be interesting for tourists. There are many working class people, pubs and football here. The famous footballer John Terry is from Barking.
The London Underground goes to these boroughs, but it will take 40-60 minutes. There are many cheap hotels here, but because of the distance, we don’t recommend staying here.
Redbridge is to the north. It’s made up of 13 protected territories, 500 hectares of forest and about 250 hectares of parks and green zones. There are a lot of football and cricket fields here, as well as playgrounds and several tennis courts. There are three bike paths in the borough and a cycling center.
A wide range of cultural events are held here, including dance and literature festivals, exhibitions, concerts and tea dances. You can stay here for cheap, but it’s far from the center. Many people commute from here into the main part of the city.
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The eastern region, Newham, has the largest percentage of youth and is one of the least white British regions. It’s in second place for ethnic diversity after Brent.
Newham isn’t so far from the center but is very noisy. The southern part of the borough has the London City Airport that primarily serves the business regions of London. There are also not many tourist places here, but the prices for lodging are low.
Waltham Forest, Haringey and Enfield
Waltham Forest, Haringey and Enfield are green residential boroughs. More than 11% of the area is green zones and 40% of Enfield is in the London forest belt. Its area has historical buildings and farmsteads, and the most famous one is the Forty Hall Farm.
It’s a good safe area, but tourists should pick a borough closer to the center. If you want to breathe fresh air, enjoy quiet villages or exercise under the sunny sky, come here. There aren’t many hotels in these boroughs, but the prices are low.
Barnet, Harrow and Hillington
Just three boroughs are remaining: Barnet to the north, Harrow to the north-west and Hillington to the far west, where Heathrow airport is located.
They’re not interesting for tourists and are considered growing Outer London. They’re far from the center and there’s nothing interesting to do there on vacation.
That’s all the boroughs. Enjoy your trip! Remember the importance of your hotel’s location and that London is unpredictable and full of adventure.
Have a nice vacation!