Where To Stay in (Central) London

So many choices!

It can be overwhelming to choose a spot to stay in a city as massive and diverse as London. As in any great city, there are many sides to it. Luckily, the multiple personalities of London can be experienced through its many neighborhoods. One great way to discover the city on a deeper level is to explore a single area in more depth. Choose a certain part of the city to base yourself in during your trip, and with a little wandering plus healthy curiosity…voila!

In truth I have spent most of my time in London staying with friends. Still, these are the best places I have stayed at across many of my visits, (and what I can vouch for that’s not a couch!) Coincidentally, they are all located in favorite parts of the city.

Here are my recommended places to stay, organized by neighborhood and described at different price points:


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A Guide to London’s Diverse Food Scene

You heard it here first…despite any preconceived notions about British food, London is one of the world’s best cities for food. Part of this is a revival of traditions and local flavors, and part is its embrace of authentic global cuisine.

On my most recent visit, I planned the larger part of my day around where I’d be eating. I sought out exemplary gastropubs, expanded my curry repertoire, and even sat down for my first formal English afternoon tea. What follows are my recommendations for where to eat whilst in London, tried, tasted, and true and sourced everywhere from food blogs and chefs to local Londoners.

As a general rule, you’ll want to make reservations (sometimes as little as a day in advance.) The formality of the reservations system is a bit more alive and well in the U.K. than elsewhere. It can’t hurt!

So without futher adieu…


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Ah, London. The global city with its uniquely British charm. There’s no place quite like it, and with each visit I come to know and love it all the more.

So when the call came to explore the city on a scavenger hunt-type challenge, I jumped at the chance. Flights to the UK from the US are at an all-time low (I once said I’d fly there in a heartbeat if I could fly under $600, and my friend flew out to join me from SF for only $400 roundtrip.) That combined with a (finally) favorable exchange rate for the dollar made for a visit in which London became more accessible than ever.

What follows is a collection of my favorite spots in the British capital — those I recently discovered on this unique latest visit, as well as tried-and-true favorites that I never skip. With so many options, you can choose-your-own-adventure based on your style and interests.


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On this day, anybody and everybody is Irish.

“I went to America once.”

“Oh yeah, where’d you go? It’s a big country,” I said, stating the obvious in my jet-lagged state.

“VEGAS.” The eyes of my cab driver from the airport in Dublin lit up. “We went to an Irish pub,” he continued.

I try not to raise an eyebrow as I chuckle. “You came all the way from Ireland and ended up in a pub? An Irish one, no less?”

“Yes. As soon as I realized how expensive a pint was compared to back home though, I went in search of something different.”

Something different was the bar at Planet Hollywood. A bucket of Coors Lite for $10. I suppose that is quite American.

But what’s quite Irish, I wondered?

Dublin green door


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You came to Paris to fall in love. You just didn’t know it when you did.

For what does the city of love and light have to offer a solo traveler?

Love, and light.

Paris window

You stroll contemplatively. You have days where your only agenda is to go by a certain ice cream shop or pop in to a particular bookstore. You look up at the rows of structured buildings and admire the stretch of intricate, iron balconies placed delicately upon beige facades.

You pick one arrondissement and decide: this is your home for the next two weeks. You explore the neighborhood, find the cheapest place for wine in the evenings and cafe au lait in the mornings. The pâtissier begins to recognize you as the days pass slowly into evenings. You sit in parks and public squares and watch life and the city go by.

You dine alone for three hours, sit in a cafe with a glass or two or champagne, cherish three courses, and end with a cafe gourmand. No one rushes you. No one hassles you. You write in your journal or lose yourself in thought. And you enjoy every single minute.


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