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There’s no lack of superlatives to describe London, one of the liveliest and most expensive capitals of Europe. Its extensive choice of activities (museums, shopping, vast parks, historical monuments…) and insatiable appetite for fun are magnets for foreign and British visitors alike. As far as hotels are concerned, the offer is large (with around 1300 establishments), the prices are generally high, and the type of accommodation is extremely varied, so we felt that a little guidance would helpful.

Choosing the right neighbourhood

London’s neighbourhoods are as diverse in nature as they are in number. Here are a few tips on how to navigate the urban sprawl. Most of London’s luxury/designer accommodation – boutique hotels and palatial five-stars – can be found in prime central locations (Soho, Covent Garden and Westminster) and to the west, in the chic areas south of Hyde Park (Kensington, Mayfair, Knightsbridge). Look towards the east, around Shoreditch and Whitechapel, for cool and quirky hotels. These historic working-class districts are now home to the city’s arty, creative set. Take a peek at our Secret London selection of addresses that conceal great British interiors, from refined Georgian to offbeat post-modern design.

Our guide to hotels in the City is just the ticket for business travellers that want to stay in the heart of corporate London, while those travellers who barely touch ground before they take off again can refuel in one of the hotels around Heathrow airport.

Mid-range, “affordable” hotels are clustered around the main railway stations: Saint Pancras, Euston and the nearby intellectual district of Bloomsbury in the east; Paddington to the west; and the central Marlylebone neighbourhood, not far from Oxford Street.

Moving away from London’s business and tourist epicentre, we’ve compiled a list of hotels located in the redeveloped arts districts of Southbank and Bankside. These up-and-coming areas south of the river, offer the opportunity to stroll along the Thames and visit the Tate Modern or one of the other various galleries in the vicinity.

Our pick of ten hotels for families proposes accommodation adapted to the specific requirements of parents travelling with children. The area of Hampstead, a North-London neighbourhood with a bohemian village feel that borders an immense 300-hectare park, is a particularly attractive option.

London on a budget?

It’s fortunate that many of the museums are free because London is otherwise a costly city. Buying an Oyster travel card is another way to limit the damage – without one, even a short trip on the bus or tube can sting.

Finding low-cost accommodation can be a challenge, with average room prices floating around £140 per night. In order to find a hotel room for less than £80, you’ll have to compromise on certain features such as the decoration or a private bathroom. After sifting through page upon page of prices and reviews, we have singled out several hotels in central London providing standard accommodation that holds up to the expectations of travellers on a budget. Do bear in mind that London’s hotels often publish their prices before VAT, which is currently set at 20%.

We also suggest several alternatives to a classic hotel room: youth hostels, often associated with a lively atmosphere, costing from £15 a night; serviced apartments with self-catering options, which can prove an economical choice for groups looking to share accommodation; and rooms in university halls, left vacant by students during the holidays – many universities, including LSE and King’s College, offer very affordable rates.

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Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdpettitt/276168490/ by Martin Pettitt

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Hotel located 1.8km from the centre

Average score: 8.7/10 (1,262 reviews)

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Hotel located 4.7km from the centre

Average score: 8.9/10 (1,862 reviews)

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Hotel located 5.9km from the centre

Average score: 7.4/10 (870 reviews)

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Hotel located 1km from the centre

Average score: 8.7/10 (18,901 reviews)

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Hotel located 1.4km from the centre

Average score: 8.6/10 (2,068 reviews)

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Hotel located 2.3km from the centre

Average score: 7.8/10 (2,634 reviews)

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Hotel located 1.5km from the centre

Average score: 7.8/10 (1,451 reviews)

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Hotel located 2.1km from the centre

Average score: 8.6/10 (1,236 reviews)

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Hotel located 6.7km from the centre

Average score: 8.7/10 (331 reviews)

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Hotel located 5.4km from the centre

Average score: 8.4/10 (2,833 reviews)

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Hotel located 850m from the centre

Average score: 8.7/10 (4,374 reviews)

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Hotel located 2.2km from the centre

Average score: 8.8/10 (296 reviews)

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Hotel located 2.2km from the centre

Average score: 7.7/10 (803 reviews)

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Hotel located 1.9km from the centre

Average score: 7.7/10 (5,220 reviews)

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Hotel located 1.6km from the centre

Average score: 9.7/10 (389 reviews)

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Hotel located 800m from the centre

Average score: 9.6/10 (598 reviews)

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Hotel located 200m from the centre

Average score: 8.9/10 (1,826 reviews)

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Hotel located 2.2km from the centre

Average score: 7/10 (918 reviews)

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Hotel located 900m from the centre

Average score: 8.6/10 (1,025 reviews)

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Hotel located 1.8km from the centre

Average score: 7.8/10 (1,218 reviews)

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