Where to stay in London without a car: 9 Best areas

I love to explore places without a car, and on my website, I cover many topics for car-free travelers. In this article, we will visit London and help you find the best places to stay in London without a car. 

I will share my recommendations for the top areas to stay in London without a car, along with a helpful map. I’ll also tell you where I stayed in London and suggest the best hotels in London for all budgets.

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom, located in southeastern England and has a rich history that dates back to Roman times. The city is a global hub for finance, culture, and politics, and it is known for its diverse population, iconic landmarks, and cultural attractions.

If you are asking “Can you get around London without a car?” My answer is, “Yes, it’s entirely possible to get around London without a car. In fact, many people in London rely on the Tube and other alternatives due to the city’s traffic congestion, limited parking, and extensive public transportation network.”

Let’s look at some of the ways you can get around London without a car:

London Underground (Tube) is one of the most extensive and efficient subway systems in the world. It covers most parts of London, making it easy to get around the city quickly.

To get from Heathrow Airport to the city center, you can take the Tube on the Piccadilly Line or the Heathrow Express fast and direct train to London Paddington Station (15 minutes). From Gatwick Airport, you can take the Gatwick Express train to London Victoria Station (30 minutes).

London has an extensive bus network that complements the Tube system. The iconic red double-decker bus is a great way to explore the city!

London Overground is another rail network that covers areas of London not served by the Tube. It’s part of Transport for London (TfL) and uses the same payment system as the Tube.

London has several major train stations ( King’s Cross, Paddington, Victoria) that connect the city to other parts of the UK. These services are particularly useful for day trips and longer journeys.

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) serves East and Southeast London, connecting several important business and residential areas.

London has tram services in some areas, primarily in South London, providing a convenient way to travel through neighborhoods like Croydon and Wimbledon.

London has made significant efforts to become more bike-friendly with dedicated bike lanes, bike-sharing schemes, and bike rental options. Cycling is a great way to explore the city.

London is a very pedestrian-friendly city. Many of its neighborhoods and attractions are within walking distance of each other. Remember to bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Black cabs and ride-sharing services like Uber are widely available for when you need a more personalized transportation option.

The River Thames runs through London, and you can take advantage of river boat services for a scenic way to travel between certain parts of the city.

I recommend buying The Oyster Card or Visitor Oyster Card, which is a convenient way to pay for public transportation in London. It offers reduced fares compared to paper tickets.

London offers various tourist passes that can save you money on public transportation and entry to attractions. The most popular one is the London Pass.

With all these options, it’s usually more convenient and cost-effective to rely on public transportation, walking, or cycling when getting around London, rather than using a car. Plus, you’ll avoid the stress of navigating the city’s traffic and finding parking, which can be quite challenging and expensive.

Where to stay in London without a car?

The best areas to stay in London without a car are Covent Garden, Westminster, Mayfair, Soho, City of London, King’s Cross, Shoreditch, Kensington/ Belgravia/Chelsea, and South Bank.

These are all central and well-connected areas, so you can easily get around on foot and by using public transportation if you book your accommodation there.

Covent Garden, Westminster, Mayfair, and Soho are the most popular areas for car-free travelers and first-timers. They are best suited for those who want to be in the heart of London and have easy access to major sights such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. 

The City of London is the financial district, but it also has a central location and a wide range of hotels catering to both tourists and business travelers.

King’s Cross is well-connected with excellent transport links, including the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras. It’s a good choice for travelers planning to take day trips outside of London.

Shoreditch is a great choice for a younger crowd as it is known for its street art, nightlife, and unique dining options. Kensington/Belgravia/Chelsea are upscale areas that have a mix of elegance, museums, and high end shopping. 

South Bank provides beautiful views of the River Thames and is close to attractions like the Tate Modern, the London Eye, and the Shard.

During my trip to London, I stayed in central London at Page8, Page Hotels. It is a great 4-star hotel located in an unbeatable position, right next to Trafalgar Square, a step away from everything including the National Gallery, the Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and St. James park.

Below is a map of the popular areas in London for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in London without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in London without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in London, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area and how to get around. I’ll also provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in London have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

9 Best areas to stay in London without a car:

1. Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a popular neighborhood in London, known for its vibrant atmosphere, street performances, shopping, dining, and cultural attractions. It’s an excellent choice for visitors looking to experience the heart of London’s entertainment and cultural scene. 

Covent Garden is well-served by the tube system. Some of the popular stations in this area include the by Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Charing Cross, Embankment subway stations.

The area is famous for its street performers and buskers, making it a lively place to stay. Additionally, you’ll find numerous theaters in the West End nearby, perfect for catching a show.

Covent Garden Market is a shopping destination with a mix of boutique shops, high-street brands, and artisanal products. Neal’s Yard is another colorful and photogenic spot for shopping and dining.

Covent Garden boasts a wide range of restaurants, from casual eateries to fine dining establishments. You can find cuisine from all around the world, making it a food lover’s paradise.

The Royal Opera House and Somerset House are nearby cultural attractions worth visiting. Covent Garden also has galleries and museums such as London Transport Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and The National Gallery.

Best places to stay in London in Covent Garden without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): St Martins Lane London, great 5-star hotel, set in a prime location, in the Covent Garden neighborhood, within easy walking distance from Charing Cross Station,Covent Garden Market, Royal Opera House, Leicester Square, and Trafalgar Square.
  • Mid-range ($$): Page8, Page Hotels, popular 4-star hotel, centrally located between Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square. Short walk from Charing Cross metro and train stations, as well as the Leicester Square subway station. Also close to all the popular venues.
  • Budget ($): The Z Hotel Strand, a very popular hotel in central London, within walking distance from Trafalgar Square, Embankment Underground Station and Leicester Square Underground Station. It has a 24-hour front desk, and Luggage storage.

2. Westminster

Westminster is one of the most iconic and historic areas in London, known for its prominent landmarks, government buildings, and cultural attractions. 

Westminster is home to some of London’s most famous landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben (now known as the Elizabeth Tower), Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Churchill War Rooms. Staying in this area provides easy access to these historic sites.

If you’re interested in exploring London’s history and culture, you’ll find numerous museums and galleries in the vicinity, including the Tate Britain, the Queen’s Gallery, and the Cabinet War Rooms.

St. James’s Park, one of London’s most beautiful royal parks, is nearby, offering a peaceful retreat amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

Westminster is well-connected with several Underground stations, including Westminster (Jubilee, District, and Circle lines), St. James’s Park (District and Circle lines), and Victoria Station (for the Victoria, Circle, and District lines). 

Best places to stay in London in Westminster without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Guardsman – Preferred Hotels and Resorts, 5-star hotel, conveniently located within walking distance from subway stations such as St. James’ Park. Easy access to major sights such as the Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Houses of Parliament.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Clermont London, Victoria, great 4-star hotel, conveniently located on Buckingham Palace Road, right next to London Victoria station, offering links to King’s Cross St Pancras and the London Eye. It is a short walk from Apollo and Victoria Palace theaters.
  • Budget ($): The Sanctuary House Hotel, great 3-star Victorian hotel, located in theWestminster district, a short walk from Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. Also close to a subway station and within easy distance from Oxford Street.

3. Mayfair

Mayfair is one of London’s most prestigious and upscale neighborhoods, known for its luxury and sophistication. It is an excellent area for travelers who want a luxurious and refined experience in London.

Mayfair is famous for its high-end shopping. Bond Street, New Bond Street, and Old Bond Street are lined with designer boutiques and luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Tiffany & Co. The nearby Regent Street is also known for its flagship stores.

The area is dotted with Michelin-starred restaurants and fine dining establishments. You can experience exceptional cuisine at places like Scott’s, Nobu, and Sketch. Mayfair also offers traditional British afternoon tea at many of its upscale hotels.

Mayfair is an art lover’s paradise, with numerous art galleries and auction houses. The Royal Academy of Arts is a prominent institution in the area, and you can explore contemporary and traditional art.

Grosvenor Square and Berkeley Square offer serene green spaces where you can relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Mayfair is well-connected with several Underground stations, including Bond Street, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, and Piccadilly Circus.

Best places to stay in London in Mayfair without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Claridge’s, great 5-star good value for money hotel located on Brook Street, in the heart of Mayfair. It is walking distance from Hyde Park and the bustling shops of Oxford Street and Bond Street. It has Indoor swimming pool, 3 restaurants, and private parking for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Chesterfield Mayfair, 4-star hotel on Charles Street just off Berkeley Square. It is within a short walk from Hyde Park, Green Park, and Buckingham Palace. Close to Green Park London Underground Station. You can enjoy daily traditional afternoon tea and Fabulous breakfast while staying at this hotel.
  • Luxury ($$$): London Marriott Hotel Park Lane, 5-star hotel, located on the corner Park Lane and Oxford Street, in the center of London’s West End, a few steps away from Marble Arch Underground Station. Great base to explore the city’s most attractions, theaters and shops.

4. Soho

Soho is one of London’s nightlife hubs, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues. It’s a great choice for those who want to experience the city’s nightlife scene, from trendy cocktail bars to traditional English pubs.

Soho Square in the heart of Soho offers a calm oasis in the midst of the bustling city. Berwick Street Market is a popular spot for street food and fresh produce. You can catch live comedy shows at venues like The Comedy Store or enjoy a play at the Soho Theatre.

The neighborhood offers a mix of high-street stores, independent boutiques, and record shops. It’s also close to Oxford Street, one of London’s major shopping districts.

Soho is served by several London Underground stations, including Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road, and Leicester Square, which provide access to multiple Tube lines.

Just be aware that the area can be lively and bustling, so it may not be the best choice for those seeking a quiet and tranquil stay.

Best places to stay in London in Soho without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Piccadilly Circus, 5-star hotel located on Denmark Place, short distance from  Dominion Theatre, Prince Edward Theatre, Queen’s Theatre and British Museum. Featuring family rooms, 24-hour front desk, laundry services, and daily housekeeping.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Resident Soho, great 4-star hotel, located on Carlisle Street, in Soho, a short walk from Oxford Street,  Tottenham Court Tube Station, and the British Museum. Lots of restaurants and bars nearby.
  • Mid-range ($$): Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel, London, great 4-star hotel that has an excellent location between Covent Garden and Soho, easy access to the tube system, and major attractions. Shops, cafes and restaurants are all a short walk away.

5. City of London

The City of London is the historic and financial heart of London. It’s a unique area that combines modern skyscrapers with centuries-old traditions. Staying in the City of London can be a great choice for business travelers, history enthusiasts, and tourists who want a central location and easy access to public transit.

The City is home to the London Stock Exchange, many international banks, and financial institutions. It also boasts a rich history, and you can explore landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, and the Monument to the Great Fire of London. 

It’s also home to the historic Leadenhall Market and Museum of London as well as Postman’s Park and the garden at the St. Dunstan in the East church ruins, where you can relax.

The City is well-connected with several London Underground stations, including Bank, Monument, Blackfriars, Aldgate, Barbican, and Liverpool Street, making it easy to access other parts of London. Liverpool Street Station also provides rail links to other parts of the country.

The City is located along the River Thames, offering opportunities for pleasant riverside walks and views.

Keep in mind that the City is typically quieter in the evenings and on weekends, as it’s primarily a business district, so it may not have the same lively atmosphere as some other areas of London.

Best places to stay in City of London without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Vintry & Mercer, excellent 5-star good value for money hotel, located on Garlick Hill, short distance from St Paul’s Cathedral, Sky Garden, Tower of London and Borough Market. Close to Mansion House and Cannon Street metro stations.
  • Mid-range ($$): Clayton Hotel London Wall, great 4-star hotel located on Copthall Avenue, in the heart of London’s old city, a short distance from Old Spitalfields Market and Shoreditch. Easy access to 3 tube stations and Liverpool Street Station.
  • Budget ($): Motel One London-Tower Hill, 3-star accommodation, situated in the heart of the financial center of London, a short walk from Aldgate Underground Station offering services to Heathrow Airport. Also close to the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

6. King’s Cross/ Camden Town

King’s Cross is one of London’s major transportation hubs, home to King’s Cross and St Pancras International train stations. It’s also well-connected by the London Underground, making it convenient for travelers planning day trips outside of London.

The King’s Cross area has undergone significant regeneration in recent years. The King’s Cross Central development has brought new restaurants, shops, and cultural spaces to the area. There’s also shopping at the King’s Cross Shopping Center and nearby Coal Drops Yard.

King’s Cross is home to the British Library, which is one of the largest libraries in the world and a must-visit for bibliophiles. The area is also near the Granary Square and King’s Cross Pond Club, which offers unique swimming experiences.

Camden Town is known for its lively nightlife, with numerous bars and clubs where you can enjoy live music and DJ sets. It is also known for its street art, with many murals and graffiti throughout the area.

Camden Market is a world-famous market complex known for its eclectic mix of stalls, selling everything from vintage clothing to street food from around the world. It’s a hub for alternative fashion and culture.

Camden has a vibrant music scene, and it’s famous for its live music venues, including the Roundhouse and The Underworld. It’s associated with the punk and alternative rock movements.

The Regent’s Canal runs through Camden, offering pleasant canal-side walks and the opportunity to take a canal boat tour. Camden has some cultural attractions, including the Jewish Museum and the ZSL London Zoo.

Best places to stay in King’s Cross/ Camden Town without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Megaro Hotel, 5-star hotel located on Belgrove Street, right in front of Kings Cross and St Pancras International for the Eurostar. It is also close to Camden and Regent’s Park, as well as the Tube, train and bus links.  
  • Mid-range ($$): Pullman London St Pancras, 4-star hotel located on Euston Road, Camden, a short walk from Eurostar Terminal and Kings Cross and Euston Underground and train stations.
  • Budget ($): The Rokxy Townhouse – Kings Cross, 3-star Victorian townhouse hotel located on Argyle Square, Kings Cross. Only a few mins walk from St Pancras International and Kings Cross Rail Station, offering access to central London. Easy access to Bloomsbury and the British Library.

7. Shoreditch

Shoreditch is a trendy and vibrant neighborhood in East London known for its creative and artistic atmosphere, street art, nightlife, and unique dining options. Shoreditch offers a distinct experience for travelers who appreciate a more alternative and eclectic side of London.

Shoreditch is famous for its street art and murals. You can take a self-guided walking tour to explore the vibrant and ever-changing art scene. The iconic Brick Lane is a focal point for street art and culture.

Shoreditch is renowned for its nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues. It’s a hotspot for those looking to experience London’s edgier entertainment scene.

The area is home to cultural venues like the Rich Mix and the Old Truman Brewery, which host art exhibitions, live performances, and cultural events.

Shoreditch is well-connected by the London Overground and various bus routes. It’s also within walking distance of Liverpool Street Station for access to other parts of London and the rest of the country.

Best places to stay in London in Shoreditch without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Liverpool Street Station, great 5-star hotel located on Curtain Road, close to Hoxton Square, Brick Lane. Easy access to the metro. It has an Outdoor swimming pool and Fabulous breakfast according to guests’s reviews. 
  • Mid-range ($$): citizenM London Shoreditch, great 4-star hotel, located on Holywell Lane, a short walk from Old Spitalfields Market, and Brick Lane Market. Also close to Shoreditch High Street Station, Old Street Station, and Liverpool Street Station with trains to Stansted Airport.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hart Shoreditch Hotel London, Curio Collection by Hilton, 4-star hotel offering free bikes, a fitness center, and a 24-hour front desk. Close to Liverpool Street Underground Station and Sky Garden. 

8. Kensington/ Belgravia/Chelsea

Kensington, Belgravia, and Chelsea are three safe, affluent and upscale neighborhoods in London. Staying in these areas offers a taste of luxury, culture, and elegance. 

Kensington is home to some of London’s most famous museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum. 

Kensington is close to Hyde Park, one of London’s largest and most beautiful royal parks. Kensington Palace, the former home of Princess Diana and current residence of other members of the royal family, is located in Kensington. You can visit the palace and its gardens.

You’ll find a mix of high-end boutiques and well-known department stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Kensington High Street offers upscale shopping.

Belgravia is known for its elegant Regency and Georgian architecture, with white stucco townhouses and beautiful garden squares. You’ll find luxury boutique shops along Elizabeth Street and Sloane Street.

Chelsea is known for its art scene, with many contemporary art galleries, including the Saatchi Gallery. The King’s Road is Chelsea’s famous shopping street. Chelsea Physic Garden is a hidden gem in the neighborhood and provides a peaceful escape.

Kensington/ Belgravia/Chelsea is well-connected by the London Underground, with stations like South Kensington, Gloucester Road, High Street Kensington, Holland Park, Notting Hill Gate, Sloane Square and Victoria stations providing easy access to other areas.

Best places to stay in Kensington/ Belgravia/Chelsea without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$):  The Exhibitionist Hotel, 5-star hotel located opposite the Natural History Museum, in the middle of South Kensington. Close by are the Science Museum, The Albert Hall,  V&A Museum, Knightsbridge, Sloane Street, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Rembrandt, great 4-star Edwardian style hotel located in Knightsbridge, central location, close to the underground and easy access to everything.
  • Budget ($): Luna And Simone Hotel, 5-star hotel located on Belgrave Rd, short walk from short walk from Victoria Underground Station, offering access to the Gatwick Express service to Gatwick Airport.

9. South Bank/ Southwark

South Bank and Southwark are vibrant and dynamic neighborhoods situated along the southern bank of the River Thames. Staying in these areas offers proximity to a wealth of cultural attractions, scenic riverside views, and a mix of modern and historical elements.

South Bank is home to the Tate Modern, the Southbank Centre, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Globe Theatre. It’s an excellent choice for art and theater enthusiasts.

Enjoy scenic walks along the SouthBank promenade with views of iconic landmarks like the Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower Bridge. The London Eye is also located here.

South Bank has its own shopping complex, Gabriel’s Wharf, featuring independent boutiques and artisanal shops. The nearby Borough Market is a food lover’s paradise.

South Bank is well-connected with several London Underground stations, including Waterloo, Southwark, and London Bridge, providing access to various Tube lines.

Best places to stay in London in South Bank without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Sea Containers London, 5-star hotel situated on the banks of the River Thames,  a short walk from the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London Dungeon and SEA LIFE London Aquarium. Easy access to Waterloo Train Station and London Blackfriars Train Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): Park Plaza County Hall London, very popular 4-star family-friendly hotel located on Addington Street, Lambeth, a short walk from major sights like the London Eye, London Aquarium, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament. Close to Westminster and Waterloo stations.
  • Budget ($): The Mad Hatter Hotel, 3-star good value for money hotel located in Southwark, within walking distance from River Thames, Tate Modern art gallery, London Waterloo Railway and Tube Station.

In conclusion, Covent Garden, Westminster, Mayfair, Soho, City of London, King’s Cross, Shoreditch, Kensington/Chelsea, and South Bank are the best places to stay in London without a car. These areas are very well connected to public transportation, so you can easily get around without the need of having a car.

If you are new to London, I recommend continue reading this article: Best areas to stay in London for first time and Best places to stay in London for families with kids.

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas that you can stay during your car-free trip to London. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality travel guides.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment