When you’re desperate for a holiday but for whatever reason you can’t get away, try doing a London Staycation. It’s just like a mini-holiday, only right here in London. Why waste your money on accommodation in a city you already live in, you ask? Let’s put it this way – just because you have a perfectly fine shower at home doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little trip to the day spa every now and then. We’ve all had moments when we’re desperate for some time off but there’s something holding us back. For example – time, money, holiday allowance, family situations or global health epidemics (ahem), just to name a few.
Luckily for us, London is a pretty damn cool city. So much so, that it’s the third most visited city in the world according to the 2019 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index. (Side note for those as curious as me, the first two are Bangkok and Paris). And I’m willing to bet that you’ve probably stopped appreciating London in your day-to-day grind and hustle. Now, my dear London friends, is when we rediscover this city of ours and learn that the grass is greener where we water it. Right here.
HOW TO DO A LONDON STAYCATION
CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT AREA
The best part about doing a London Staycation is the opportunity to get to know an entirely new side of your city. For instance, if you live north of the river then venture south. Likewise for those of you who spend their days in vibe-y East London, you can also try a night or two in fancy West London. And if you’re based on the outskirts of the capital, book a hotel somewhere super central. London is your oyster (card). *does that joke even work anymore? Finally, the biggest perk is that you don’t have to spend money on travel – no planes to catch, just a tube, bus or quick Uber/Kapten ride will do.
HOW MANY NIGHTS?
One to two nights is plenty, depending on what you want to do. Keep in mind check-in and check-out times often mean you’ll get less than 24 hours in the hotel. So if time and money allows, then 2 nights can be a little more relaxing – but it’s definitely not a necessity!
THE ONLY RULE IS…
Err, there are no rules! That’s the best part. This is your London Staycation and time to do exactly what you want. In other words – no holiday sightseeing guilt, no negotiating with your travel buddies on where to go for dinner.
Stay focused on yourself. Listen to your body and your mind, and try to work out what you’re craving most from a holiday. If you’ve been busy and stressed at work, maybe a relaxation weekend is what you need – room service, Netflix and a long bath (basically my idea of heaven!) If you’re feeling bored and uninspired by London – try being a tourist for a day and fall in love with the city again. And if you’re mending a broken heart, maybe a night on the town is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Go solo. Go with a lover. Book in with your BFF and split the cost. There are no Staycation rules other than you do you!
Here are some of the best London Staycation hotel options, no matter what kind of holiday you’re after. Check yourself in and discover a new part of the city.
BEST LONDON STAYCATION HOTELS…
IF YOU WANT TO INDULGE
This beautiful hotel is not only found right in the heart of London, it’s also got one of the best spas too! Interesting fact: This grand Victorian building, dating from 1885, was used as offices by Winston Churchill during World War II.
Rooms from £390. Book your stay here
Spice Girls fans will appreciate recreating the ‘Wannabe’ music video on the stairs of this historic building (umm only a dream come true!). While everyone else will appreciate what’s been hailed as the city’s most romantic building. Lovely spa included, of course. Found right above the international railway station, the hotel is also a stone’s throw away from Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard, and a short walk from the British Museum and London Zoo.
Rooms from £224. Book your stay here
This luxe hotel overlooks Hyde Park and comes complete with two restaurants (ahem, including a two Michelin star restaurant by Heston Blumenthal, NBD) and a beautiful spa. Enjoy a cup of tea on the outdoor terrace, watching the Horseguards riding through the park. The ultimate way to get away from the hustle and bustle of London – ironically, right in the heart of London.
Rooms from £690. Book your stay here
IF YOU’RE READY FOR A NIGHT ON THE TOWN
Those who know London will already know that Shoreditch is the trendy epicentre of the capital. What you may not know is that the trendiest place in Shoreditch (and therefore in the world) is the Ace Hotel. OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic here. But trust me when I say this place oozes cool, fun, hipster vibes. Described as ‘a place where art, design, culinary innovation and culture collide’, you’ll also be able to enjoy the rooftop bar, comfy beds and an underground music venue. Oh, and you’ll find excellent coffee and brunch downstairs too!
Rooms from £112. Book your stay here
This ridiculously trendy hotel (yes, another one!) in the City has ten (again, yes… ten!) restaurants, including a rooftop bar overlooking London that’s open to hotel guests and members only. Not to mention an incredible spa, gym, nail and hair salon (hello Cowshed) and an endless array of décor to swoon over (yes, swoon!).
Rooms from £208. Book your stay here
So The Hoxton is, without a doubt, my favourite hotel chain. Paris, Amsterdam, London, New York – tried, tested, loved them all. Even if I can’t stay at the Hoxton for whatever reason, I’ll make the effort to pop in for a coffee, cocktail, remote working session or all of the above. The cool, relaxed vibes mixed with absolute #lifegoals interiors make it such a fun place to hang out. Also, they’re dog friendly so you can bring your furry friend along with you! (My dog is spoilt beyond belief on every visit, it’s amazing)
Rooms from £147. Book your stay here
LONDON STAYCATION HOTELS TO BE A TOURIST FOR THE DAY
This is another hotel that also fell into out ‘Best Spas in London‘ list. If the rooftop pool (see photo above that looks like anywhere but London) doesn’t have you booking a room immediately, perhaps the 2 Michelin star restaurant or the themed Afternoon Tea will. Just around the corner from Hyde Park and Harrods, you can indulge in London and play tourist for a day.
Rooms from £480. Book your stay here
I’ve been in love with this chateau-style building since I first laid eyes on it. Not only is it gloriously beautiful, it also overlooks some of London’s biggest landmarks, making it the perfect base for exploring. A fun fact for you: this 5-star hotel once served as headquarters for the MI5 and MI6. So you’ll basically be staycation-ing in a James Bond film, just sayin’.
In fact (just one more fun fact for my fellow film nerds), The Royal Horseguards hotel has been in two Bond films – Octopussy and Skyfall. Plus Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and TV programmes Mr Selfridge and Downton Abbey, amongst others.
Rooms from £203. Book your stay here
LONDON STAYCATION HOTELS IF YOU’RE ON A BUDGET
If you’ve never heard of them before, the Z Hotel is a lovely chain of modern yet budget-friendly hotels found in the best central locations around town. The Soho branch is found right in the heart of London’s West End which is ideal for adding dinner and a show to your London staycation itinerary. Within a five minute walk you’ll reach Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus.
Rooms from £72. Book your stay here
When you walk into the lobby of any CitizenM Hotel, the last thing on your mind is ‘budget hotel’. Yet here we are. Described as a ’boutique, affordable luxury hotel’, CitizenM at Tower of London has some pretty incredible views on the river Thames, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Not to mention those beautifully decorated communal spaces that are all yours to use. Your Instagram will thank you later.
Rooms from £109. Book your stay here