While almost every tourist attraction and popular area in London is north of the Thames, there’s a whole other half of the city to explore. Yes, I’m talking about South London: home to Borough Market (arguably London’s best market), the London Eye (a must-do!), and one of the city’s two hometown football teams (Go Chelsea!). So there are things worth crossing the river for, but what about accommodation? In this post, I’ll cover where to stay in South London – to show you why that too is a great option.
When it comes to choosing where to stay in London, there are a lot of choices. Most people stay in Central London, but some are willing to strike out to other parts of the city, to see and stay somewhere else. South London is a great option if you’re looking to experience pockets of “local” London life – think residential areas mixed in with some of the tourist hotspots – or want to strike off the beaten path and potentially score a budget-friendlier hotel. Some of the best areas to stay in London are in the south!
One of my favorite London musical artists, Tom Misch, has a song called “South of the River” that perfectly encapsulates my feelings about South London. When I lived there and in my subsequent trips, I’ve never really considered housing or hotels there; now South London has become a place I’d love to explore more, and plan to stay on an upcoming trip.
If you’re planning a trip of your own and curious about staying ‘South of the River,’ here are the best neighborhoods to stay in South London plus a few to skip.
This post was originally published in September 2021 and was updated most recently in May 2023.
The 8 Best Neighborhoods in South London
As you’ll see in a minute, South London offers tons of excellent neighborhoods you can call home while visiting! Each neighborhood has a unique personality, much like travelers who visit London. So, make sure you pick one that suits you!
Would you believe me if I told you that Bermondsey, one of the top options for where to stay in South London, was once a rundown neighborhood with a tumultuous history?
Thankfully, Bermondsey’s dark days are long gone. Today, the neighborhood is known for its cool warehouse conversions, amazing artisan street food, and inviting gastropubs. Its streets are flooded with hipsters shopping in the trendiest shops, eating in the most exotic restaurants, and living in stylish apartments.
While there aren’t many hotels in Bermondsey, you can still find a few rental options scattered around the neighborhood. Being in Zone 1, Bermondsey has great public transport options, and it is also possible to access many parts of the city on foot. For example, you can walk to London Bridge Station in less than 30 minutes from most parts of Bermondsey.
Hotel Suggestions to narrow it down:
- Budget Friendly (<$200/night): The Premier Inn London Southwark (Borough Market) – Premier Inn is a well-known budget-friendly chain in the UK, and this particular one is conveniently located near the famous Borough Market and not far from the Bermondsey area. While it’s basic, it provides clean, comfortable rooms and is known for its good service. Book directly.
- Midrange ($200-$400/night): The Hilton London Tower Bridge – This is a stylish, modern hotel located just a short walk away from the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. It provides all the amenities you’d expect from the Hilton brand and boasts impressive views of the London skyline. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Luxury ($400+/night): The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard – This is a true luxury hotel located in The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building. Each room offers breathtaking views over the city, and the hotel provides top-notch amenities including a stunning infinity pool and gourmet restaurants. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Buzzing Brixton is located just four miles from central London; just an eleven-minute jaunt on the Victoria line will take you from Victoria to Brixton.
The birthplace of famous Brits like David Bowie and John Major, Brixton is a multicultural melting pot famous for its nightlife, music, and cultural scene. Foodies will love staying in Brixton, as it is one of the neighborhoods in South London that boasts a unique gastronomic scene. In this foodie’s paradise, you’ll find restaurants from every imaginable corner of the world and at every price.
If you choose to stay in Brixton on your next trip to London, the good news is that this neighborhood has a generous portfolio of hotels and rentals for tourists, including lots in the budget range. Brixton also is incredibly well-connected. In fact, the Victoria line begins at Brixton’s underground station.
Budget-Friendly Hotel Suggestions:
- Hootananny Hostel – Despite its name, the Hootananny offers private rooms as well as dormitory options. Known for its lively atmosphere and in-house bar with live music, this place could be a good option if you’re looking for something with a fun and youthful vibe. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Premier Inn London Brixton – Premier Inn is a reliable, budget-friendly UK hotel chain. The Brixton location is conveniently located near Brixton tube station, giving you easy access to the rest of the city. Book directly.
Greenwich used to be a favorite getaway of British royals, and today, it is one of the most coveted places for where to stay in South London.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many hotels or rental options in Greenwich. Nevertheless, if you’re one of the lucky travelers who found a nice place in Greenwich, you’ll never run out of things to do.
Right on your doorstep, you’ll find museums, antique markets, river views, boats, and more. As for highlights, I suggest visiting Greenwich Meantime and the Royal Palaces. At night, there’s an abundance of trendy hangouts where you can grab a bite or a drink.
(If you don’t stay in Greenwich, you can definitely take a day trip there instead!)
Hotel Suggestions for any Budget:
- Budget Friendly (<$100/night): Ibis London Greenwich – This is a clean, comfortable, and well-located hotel in the heart of Greenwich, close to Greenwich Market and the Cutty Sark. The Ibis chain is known for its value for money and this hotel is no exception. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Midrange ($100-$200/night): Novotel London Greenwich – This hotel is located near the Greenwich train and DLR station, making it a convenient base for exploring London. The hotel has modern rooms and amenities including a fitness center and restaurant. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Luxury ($200+/night): InterContinental London – The O2: This luxury hotel is located on the Greenwich Peninsula, close to the O2 Arena. The hotel boasts panoramic views of the London skyline, a world-class spa, and several restaurants and bars. Rooms are spacious and luxurious. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Lambeth is one of the recommended places to stay in South London, being part of London’s relatively youthful boroughs. You’ll notice the pace of this neighborhood is pretty dynamic, and most of the people who call Lambeth home are young, thriving professionals.
Lambeth has a vibrant mix of vintage markets and a cosmopolitan social scene when it comes to entertainment. Again, foodies will have a lot of choices when it comes to the gastronomic scene. Lambeth is home to an extensive mix of eateries– for the cream of the crop, visit Garden Café at the Garden Museum, Maximo Italian Bistrot, and lively Beany Green – Southbank.
Lambeth is in Zone 1, which means you’ll find an impressive array of transport options to get by the city. You can even be in the heart of Westminster within 20 minutes on foot.
Hotel Suggestions for every budget:
- Budget Friendly (<$200/night): The Wellington Hotel – Located near Waterloo station and close to the South Bank of the River Thames, The Wellington offers budget accommodation with a cozy English pub downstairs. This makes for a great value with easy access to public transportation. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Midrange ($200-$400/night): Park Plaza London Riverbank – This hotel provides a contemporary setting with modern rooms and impressive amenities. Overlooking the River Thames, it’s in an excellent location close to the heart of London. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Luxury ($400+/night): Sea Containers London – Previously known as Mondrian London, this luxurious hotel is situated on the banks of the River Thames. It’s home to a riverside restaurant and rooftop bar, and the stylish rooms have stunning views of the city and river. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Peckham is your best choice if you’re looking for a place with lots of charisma.
Peckham is one of the coolest, if not the coolest, neighborhoods in London. The heart of Peckham is Rye Lane, a colorful lane full of stalls selling fruit, veggies, salt-fish and raw meat, clothes, handbags, and trainers. But the hype about Peckham isn’t due to Rye Lane only. Local hipsters and art enthusiasts love Peckham for its varied art scene, independent businesses and galleries, fashionable bars and restaurants, stunning architecture, and its strong sense of community spirit.
While Peckham has excellent transport links to central London via the main Peckham Rye Overground station, this neighborhood doesn’t have many accommodation options; luckily, most that you will find are budget-friendly.
Budget-friendly Hotel Suggestions:
- Best Western London Peckham Hotel – This is an affordable, clean, and comfortable option in Peckham. It’s set in a classic building but offers modern amenities. Book directly.
- The Victoria Inn – This is a traditional British pub with boutique hotel rooms upstairs. The rooms are elegantly decorated, and the pub provides an authentic London atmosphere. Book directly.
- Peckham Rooms Hotel – This hotel offers affordable and modern accommodations. It’s conveniently located with easy access to local transport for traveling around London. The hotel provides all basic amenities and is known for its friendly staff. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Rotherhithe is a historic riverside district, perfect for travelers who’d like to escape the fuzz of city life. Victorian homes converted to flats, apartment complexes, wildlife reserves, marinas, and green spaces on the banks of the Thames make up most of Rotherhithe’s landscape.
While Rotherhithe is calm, there’s a lot to do at night, especially if you’re a foodie– there are a few dozen restaurants here. If bars are more your speed, you’ll have many pubs to choose from, plus cocktail and wine bars.
Thanks to the Overground trains and the Jubilee Line, you can easily get from Rotherhithe to other parts of London. As for accommodation, be quick to book if you find a place to stay as there are not many rental or hotel options here. (For extra tips on riding the tube AND Overground, check out my guide.)
There’s only one hotel in Rotherhithe – the DoubleTree by Hilton Docklands Riverside – but it’s a good one if you’re loyal to the Hilton brand – or are budget conscious since it’s also quite affordable. Located directly in Rotherhithe, this hotel provides comfortable rooms, a pool, a gym, and a ferry service across the River Thames to Canary Wharf. Book on Booking.com.
After a complete transformation, Southwark went from being a crumbling industrial district to one of the most expensive neighborhoods of London.
Southwark is home to some of London’s best attractions, so you’ll be pretty busy if you stay there. The Tate Modern, one of the world’s most excellent museums; the Globe, an Elizabethan playhouse for Shakespeare, wrote his plays; and The Shard, a towering building, are all here. Besides these must-do attractions, Southwark is also close to the London Eye, Borough Market, and the London Bridge.
There’s plenty of accommodation for travelers in Southwark; most of it falls in the mid-range, so you aren’t likely to find budget-friendly spots here Thanks to Southwark’s closeness to landmarks and the National Rail and Overground links, getting around is a breeze. You can also find underground stations in locations along the northern edge of the Borough.
Mid-range Hotel Suggestions
- ibis Styles London Southwark Rose – This is a budget-friendly hotel that offers clean, comfortable rooms with a stylish design. It’s located near the London Bridge and Borough Market, making it a convenient base for exploring London. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Hilton London Bankside – This Hilton hotel is in a great location near Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre. It offers comfortable rooms, a pool, a fitness center, and even a vegan-friendly restaurant. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Novotel London Bridge – This modern hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Southwark, close to several attractions like the Tate Modern and Borough Market. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving international cuisine. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Waterloo is the last neighborhood I recommend for where to stay in south London.
Waterloo’s low profile is what makes it such a nice place to stay when you visit London. Home to some lovely little cafes and restaurants in Kennington Road and plenty of pubs and shops in The Cut and Lower Marsh, Waterloo is a perfect combination of urban and suburban. You can also find two world-class theaters outside the West End: the Old Vic and the National Theatre.
For travelers specifically, Waterloo is an excellent location because it is convenient for buses. If you prefer to walk to Central London, you can get to Waterloo station in about 10 minutes, the London Eye in about 15, and Trafalgar Square in just 25 minutes.
Need help starting your research project? Here’s a list of the best cheap and budget-friendly hotels in Waterloo.
More Hotel Suggestions:
- Budget Friendly (<$200/night): Premier Inn London Waterloo – This hotel is part of a well-regarded UK hotel chain known for offering comfortable rooms at budget-friendly prices. The location is convenient for exploring central London, with the London Eye and Waterloo Station just a short walk away. Book directly.
- Midrange ($200-$400/night): Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London – This hotel is located right across from the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and is within walking distance of the London Eye. It offers modern, comfortable rooms and several on-site dining options. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Luxury ($400+/night): The London Marriott Hotel County Hall – Located in the historic County Hall building, this luxury hotel offers fantastic views of the River Thames, the London Eye, and the London skyline. The hotel boasts spacious rooms with luxury bedding, an indoor pool, and a fitness center. Book on Booking.com.
5 Neighborhoods Not to Stay in South London
It might be hard to believe, but yes, there are neighborhoods in South London, or London in general, that you should avoid when looking for accommodation options. That’s not to say that these places are unsafe or not worth visiting – but that (as you’ll see) they just aren’t great when it comes to staying there.
- Balham – There are two main reasons to put Balham in the not-to-stay section: transport crowds and distance. Balham is entirely outside of London, and, on top of that, the neighborhood’s station, whose networks include the National Rail and the Underground, becomes a sea of people in commuter rush hours. This busy commuter station can have crowds waiting until 10 am and after 4 pm. As you can see, this is a deadly combination for travelers who are trying to make the most of their days in London.
- Kennington – Kennington is a peaceful enclave in South London, and it’s precisely that peacefulness that makes it unsuitable for tourists. Most of Kennington is full of brick houses and pretty squares containing some perfect examples of Georgian architecture. Besides the architecture, there’s not much to do or see here. There aren’t many hotels or rentals to stay in either. If you want to include a less touristy site in your itinerary, you can visit Kennington Park in this area.
- Lewisham – Lewisham is a very, very big borough of London. However, Lewisham doesn’t have a significant number of rentals and hotels or things to do. Being far away from Central London, Lewisham is also a pretty inconvenient location for tourists as you’ll spend a lot of time going to and from Lewisham.
- Stockwell – Wedged in-between Brixton and Clapham in South-West London, locals consider Stockwell as the northernmost part of Brixton. While Stockwell has good transport links, you won’t find many hotels or rentals. Moreover, Stockwell is mainly residential without many things to do or see around.
- Walworth – Walworth is a pretty new neighborhood in London and is in the middle of gentrification. The tourist scene isn’t well-developed yet despite the influx of new development. Naturally, there aren’t many hotels or rentals for tourists here, and transportation options don’t abound either.
Have any questions about these different neighborhoods in South London and where to stay in this part of London? Let me know in the comments!