London is one of my absolute favourite places (after all I have made it my second home) and the perfect spot for a weekend getaway or staycation!
Each area of London has something different to offer. Whether you’re looking to unwind in a leafy neighbourhood, get in touch with your creative side or experience the vibrant culture, there’s something for everyone on a London staycation.
As the city is so large and diverse, I’ve put together a guide to help you choose where to stay and things to do on your staycation.
Best Places to Stay on a London Staycation
Richmond is a residential area in southwest London by the River Thames. Although it’s only half an hour on the train from central London, you’ll feel like you’re worlds away from the rush of the city.
Richmond has fantastic shops, excellent dining and pretty architecture, and has long been a favourite escape for royalty, including King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.
The area isn’t lacking in things to do either, with historical houses, museums, galleries, theatres and open spaces.
Places to Stay and Eat in Richmond
The Petersham Hotel
The Petersham Hotel is the perfect choice for a luxurious staycation.
Located in a Victorian country house overlooking the River Thames, the hotel boasts a range of stylishly decorated rooms to choose from.
Enjoy modern British cooking in a relaxed atmosphere at the hotel restaurant.
Its floor to ceiling windows offer the best views of the Thames and surrounding countryside.
Coach & Horses Pub and Hotel
Situated opposite Kew Gardens, the Coach & Horses Pub and Hotel is housed in a modernised Georgian coaching inn.
The botanical inspired rooms have all the amenities including Sky+ and a minibar, and are so comfortable you won’t want to leave.
Enjoy seasonal British classics either in the Atrium or outside on the patio.
To dine out, head to the vibrant and flamboyantly decorated Rock & Rose. This restaurant and cocktail bar serves an international menu alongside a wide selection of exotic cocktails.
Things to do in Richmond
A visit to Kew Gardens is a must when in Richmond. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the world’s largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections.
You can easily spend a whole day here walking amongst the different plant and flower collections.
Richmond Park is another great place to spend the day in nature. It’s the largest Royal Park in London with woodland, ancient trees and wild deer.
It’s home to the beautiful Isabella Plantation, as well as golf courses, fishing at the ponds and a handful of cafes.
Don’t miss out on the cultural attractions that Richmond has to offer. The Richmond Theatre opened in 1899 and has since hosted a wide range of entertainment.
Hampton Court Palace is another special place where you can make your way around the royal palace and admire the art collection.
2. Notting Hill
Notting Hill is one of the city’s most iconic neighbourhoods, and one of the best places for a staycation.
It’s most famous for being home to Portobello Market and the world’s second biggest carnival, which happens every August.
The trendy area has plenty of things to do, fantastic bars and restaurants, and is the perfect place to experience the best of London’s vibrant culture.
Places to Stay and Eat in Notting Hill
The Portobello Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel known for its eclectic spirit and eccentric charm.
The hotel is in fact two converted neoclassical mansions, with a selection of individually decorated rooms.
Located down a quiet street, the hotel guarantees ultimate relaxation with comfy bedding, coffee and tea making facilities and a minibar.
Have a tipple at the honesty bar before you head out into town.
Another fantastic place is Portobello House. This cosy boutique hotel has beautifully decorated bedrooms, each with luxuriously comfortable bedding for a good night’s sleep.
You’ll find everything you need, from a flat screen TV to a Nespresso coffee machine. If you fancy staying in for dinner, the hotel also has a Felliniesque cocktail bar and gourmet bistro.
For a fancy dinner, make your way to Core by Clare Smyth, an elegant and informal fine dining restaurant which uses sustainable British produce.
Things to do in Notting Hill
Heading to Portobello Road Market is a must do when in Notting Hill. Stretching over two miles, it’s the world’s largest antiques market, and has over 1,000 traders.
Open six days a week, the market also has stalls selling jewellery, clothes, ceramics, music, bric a brac and a range of international street food.
A unique attraction in Notting Hill is the Museum of Brands. It’s a collection of historical branded goods dating back to the 1800s, and has products ranging from fashion and cosmetics, to food and advertising.
End the day with a flick at the Electric Cinema. Get comfy in plush armchairs and a glass of wine at one of the oldest working cinemas in the country.
If your ideal getaway for some relaxation is in a peaceful village, then Hampstead comes pretty close.
This urban village in north London is situated right next to Hampstead Heath, one of the city’s largest and greenest open spaces.
It’s a peaceful area of London with quaint little streets and a literary history – the best place to experience life at a slower pace.
Places to Stay and Eat in Hampstead
Haverstock Hotel is a boutique hotel located between Belsize Park and Camden Town.
The rooms are decorated in elegant, neutral tones and have all the facilities you need, including a TV and tea and coffee making facilities.
The hotel is set in quiet surroundings and ideally placed for exploring on foot.
Sakkson House Rooms & Suites
If you’re planning on staying indoors, Sakkson House Rooms & Suites is a great place to put your feet up.
The rooms exude comfort, with upscale furnishings, boutique style decor and king sized beds with Hypnos mattresses.
With a minibar and complimentary Netflix and Amazon Prime, that’s your night in sorted.
If you do decide to head out, 28 Church Row serves Spanish and Italian inspired dishes with small plates designed for sharing.
Tucked away in the basement of a Georgian building, the wooden beams and furniture create a warm, cosy atmosphere.
Things to do in Hampstead
A visit to Hampstead Heath is a necessary part of your stay. If it weren’t for the panoramic views of the London skyline, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the countryside.
Its wide expanses of grassland, woodland and range of natural habitats makes it a haven for wildlife. There are rambling walks, outdoor swimming ponds, an open air lido and a beautiful listed pergola and garden.
Hampstead High Street is the heart of the village. It’s a lovely place to shop, with an array of boutiques, restaurants, cafes and delis. Discover interesting finds in shops that line the little side alleys.
You don’t have to be an art connoisseur to appreciate the work at Kenwood House. This former stately home is now a museum and one of London’s hidden gems. Make your way through the house and admire the artwork before wandering around the gardens.
If you’re looking for a sumptuously luxurious staycation, Kensington is as posh as it gets.
The area is home to elegant townhouses, world-class shopping and upscale dining. It’s also a cultural hotspot, with a range of museums and the famous Royal Albert Hall. Perhaps rather surprisingly, the area has its fair share of green spaces to unwind in.
Places to Stay and Eat in Kensington
Make believe you’re in Italy with a stay at the Baglioni Hotel. This Italian-style hotel is the perfect luxury break.
The exquisitely decorated suites are generously spacious, and most of them overlook the lush greenery of Hyde Park.
In the restaurant, wine and dine on traditional Italian dishes with a contemporary twist. Get your sweat on at the hotel gym, or enjoy pure relaxation at the Baglioni Spa.
The Ampersand Hotel is another fabulous place to stay. The rooms and suites are individually designed, with a minibar and satellite TV.
The hotel restaurant, Apero, serves fresh Mediterranean food alongside aperitifs at the bar. Don’t miss the award-winning Science Afternoon Tea in the Drawing Rooms. There’s also a well-equipped gym.
For a chic but relaxed meal out, Alexandrie Restaurant serves food inspired by Egyptian home cooking. French, Italian and Greek flavours are incorporated in the traditional Egyptian recipes.
Things to do in Kensington
A staycation is all about treating yourself, so why not splurge a little at Harrods. One of London’s most iconic shopping destinations, Harrods is spread over seven floors.
If you’re more of a foodie, discover the flavours of the food hall, where you can find everything from exotic fruits to freshly baked cakes.
Museums always make for a great day out. Luckily, Kensington is home to three of the best museums in the city: the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum.
Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since the 17th century, and today it’s the official London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Explore the palace and discover the range of exciting exhibitions on display.
Kensington Gardens was once the private grounds of Kensington Palace. There’s a lot to see here, including the peaceful Italian Gardens and the Albert Memorial.
Make sure to pop into the Serpentine Galleries where you’ll find contemporary art exhibitions. Opposite the gardens is the Royal Albert Hall, a concert hall and one of the country’s most treasured buildings.
Clerkenwell is a unique part of London. It feels new, but also has a way of making you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
It’s quite a pretty area, full of historic buildings and several museums and attractions. It’s also attracted a large concentration of restaurants, bars and pubs, so it’s one of the best areas to stay in if you’re a foodie.
Places to Stay and Eat in Clerkenwell
The Rookery is a quirky boutique hotel set in an 18th century building. The hotel oozes period charm from every corner, with original period features, paintings and antiques, and 17th century carved oak and Victorian four-poster beds.
But you’re not far from modern comforts either, and each room has a TV, wifi, a minibar and room service. Visit the honesty bar and enjoy drinks in the conservatory or cosy garden.
Set in a Georgian townhouse, the Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell is located in a quiet, cobbled square.
The individually designed rooms are decked out in luxury fabrics, refined decor and antique furnishings. Go for a drink at the cocktail lounge before heading out for dinner.
There are too many fantastic restaurants in Clerkenwell that it would be impossible just to recommend one.
Moro has been serving Mediterranean food for over 20 years, with plenty of North African and Spanish dishes.
Breddos Tacos is a taqueria serving Mexican small plates like tacos and tostadas, with the addition of unique twists like kung pao pork and octopus al pastor.
Wash it all down with mezcal or margaritas (or both – you’re on staycation).
For some fine European food, The Coach is the go-to. Established in 1790, the restaurant serves classic and signature dishes with a French influence. The Sunday roast is particularly popular – the perfect way to end the weekend.
Things to do in Clerkenwell
Clerkenwell is an excellent place to shop. There are tons of independent boutiques, coffee shops and cocktail bars along Exmouth Market.
They spill out onto the pedestrianised street, creating a very European feel to it. The street also has an outdoor market of the same name. The market primarily focuses on international street food, so visit around lunchtime and see what you can find.
For literary fans, the Charles Dickens Museum is an interesting place to go. Set in the author’s former home, the museum has over 100,000 items to explore including manuscripts, rare editions, personal items and paintings.
If you’re not ready to go home just yet, why not catch a show at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. This performing arts venue is dedicated to international dance, and has performances from contemporary, to flamenco, to ballet.
Whether you have a creative streak in you or prefer to appreciate art from a distance, Shoreditch is the place to be.
It’s the creative hub of London’s East End, and is full of street art, hip hangouts, trendy restaurants and interesting markets and shops.
It’s a great place if you’re looking to experience the cool, quirky side of London during your staycation.
Places to Stay and Eat in Shoreditch
Montcalm Royal London House is a 5 star luxury hotel with a modern vibe. You’ll find everything you need in the stylishly decorated rooms, including a smart TV with international channels, a minibar and Nespresso machine.
The hotel also has an indulgent Ayurvedic spa with a range of treatments as well as a gym. Enjoy a meal on the rooftop brasserie and admire the spectacular views across London.
The Curtain takes an industrial-chic approach to its decor. The rooms and suites have exposed brickwork, hardwood floors, marble bathrooms, and large windows for loads of natural light.
Head to the rooftop brasserie for fresh seasonal food, or take a dip in the rooftop pool. For some pampering, check out the different treatment rooms at the spa.
How often can you say you’ve had Peruvian food? Try something different and head to Andina Shoreditch, a restaurant specialising in traditional food from the Peruvian Andes. Open all day, the restaurant serves up healthy but delicious dishes in a lively, friendly atmosphere.
Things to do in Shoreditch
The number one thing to do in Shoreditch is to admire street art. Walk from Shoreditch to Brick Lane to take in some of the most impressive works, and look out for pieces by famous street artists like Banksy.
Make sure to visit Redchurch Street and Shoreditch Triangle as well.
Pressed for time? Take a guided walking tour of the best spots with Shoreditch Street Art Tours.
Shoreditch is one of the best areas for shopping and is home to several markets. Columbia Road Flower Market is one of the most popular weekend markets, selling everything from houseplants to bouquets.
Other markets in the area include Old Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane Market.
Shoreditch is a fab place for a night out, with tons of trendy bars and clubs. From rooftop bars like Queen of Hoxton, to ping pong and drinks at Bounce Old Street, there are plenty of places to experience the city after the sun goes down.
Marylebone is a chic and fashionable area of London, and is particularly known for its world-class shopping. This affluent district is full of beautiful Georgian buildings and is a great place to stay if you’re after some serious luxury.
Places to Stay and Eat in Marylebone
Dating back to 1835, The Langham is one of the most prestigious hotels in London, and has hosted celebrities, royalty and foreign dignitaries.
The stylish rooms combine Victorian charm with modern amenities including a mini bar, Nespresso machines and 24 hour room service.
The Langham has a spa and health club complete with a swimming pool, sauna, steam rooms, gym and treatment rooms. Grab drinks at the Artesian bar before dinner at the stylish restaurant, Roux at the Landau.
Another iconic Marylebone hotel is The Landmark London, established in 1899.
Relax in the peaceful luxury of the spacious rooms and suites, decked out in fine fabrics and elegant furniture. Indulge in health and beauty treatments at the spa which boasts a steam room, sauna, reflexology and massages.
There are two restaurants to choose from – fine dining at the Winter Garden, and modern European dishes at Great Central Bar & Restaurant.
Ishtar is an upscale Turkish restaurant serving modern and traditional dishes.
You’ll find freshly prepared seasonal food, mezzes, grilled meats and seafood, and a wide variety of vegetarian dishes. No meal at Ishtar is complete without a Turkish coffee and traditional dessert.
Things to do in Marylebone
Marylebone has its fair share of attractions, including museums and art galleries. For true detectives, the Sherlock Holmes Museum is a fun place to spend a few hours.
Step into the world of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson at 221B Baker Street. If you’re interested in visiting an art gallery, the Wallace Collections has a beautiful assemblage of French paintings, furniture, porcelain and body armour.
Escape the crowds and go for a walk in the peaceful Regent’s Park. If you happen to be there between May and September, you’ll find open air theatre performances.
There is also a boating lake where you can hire boats and pedalos. Climb up Primrose Hill for one of the best views of London.
Avoid the crowds of Oxford Street and head down Marylebone High Street where you’ll find a great selection of independent boutiques, shops and restaurants.
Another affluent area of London for a fancy staycation is Chelsea. It’s more than just football, flowers and reality TV – it’s also home to amazing restaurants, galleries and excellent shopping.
Places to Stay and Eat in Chelsea
The Draycott Hotel is a five star luxury hotel set in a romantic Victorian townhouse. The individually decorated bedrooms provide a welcoming place to relax, with cosy fireplaces and Victorian antiques.
Relax in a contemporary, chic setting at Sloane Place Hotel. The bedrooms have comfortable Hypnos beds, Nespresso machines and TVs. Head to the Sloane Club and try a range of health and beauty treatments.
For a unique meal, Rabbit is a restaurant serving farm to table dining. Using sustainable ingredients from the family farm in Sussex, Rabbit creates modern British dishes using wild and seasonal produce.
Things to do in Chelsea
Chelsea has a reputation for excellent shopping, and the shops are a reflection of how prosperous the neighbourhood is.
Splurge on designer brands on Sloane Street, or pop into independent boutiques down King’s Road.
Chelsea is also a great place to find antiques, and there are plenty of shops and auction houses down Lots Road.
There is no shortage of tranquil green spaces either. Chelsea Physic Garden is one of London’s best-kept secrets. Established in 1973 as an apothecaries’ garden, it’s home to over 5,000 types of plants. Relax amongst the greenhouses and rock gardens.
For an upmarket tipple, Chelsea has plenty of top-class bars and lounges, such as Barts or Beaufort House Chelsea. If you don’t fancy a rowdy night out, why not catch a show at the Royal Court Theatre, known for its innovative, thought-provoking performances.