Central London is a vibrant, exciting, colourful part of the capital packed full of amazing experiences, stunning entertainment and exceptional culture and style. If you’re seeking to stay in central London during your visit to the capital, this guide to the world of shopping, eating, entertainment and hotspots of the area – brought to you by the experienced staff of the Rathbone, one of the most popular four star central London hotels – will help you to get the best from the most cosmopolitan city in the world.
A Stone’s Throw from the Action
If you stay in central London, you are in the beating heart of one of the world’s premier cities. Everything you could possibly want is on your doorstep – world-class restaurants, hundreds of pubs, the finest museums, art galleries, theatres and music as well as a city full of amazing tourist sites which are famous throughout the world. The Rathbone is the perfect base from which to explore all the city has to offer – located just a stone’s throw from the action, yet quietly tucked-away in the peaceful surroundings of Charlotte Street.
An Ideal Four Star Hotel in Central London
If you’re coming to visit London, you have the option of staying in everything from apartments, hostels and motels to top end luxury suites. Located just off the world famous Charlotte Street, is the Rathbone which offers a perfect combination of affordability and quality – bringing style, comfort and an understated elegance to your stay without breaking the bank. This commitment to service and value has seen the hotel win a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor and guests who return time and again.
As a visitor to London, you have certain expectations of a 4 star central London hotel and we don’t disappoint. As well as beautifully appointed rooms and suites, giving you plenty of space to relax and unwind, we also offer you a range of great benefits:
- Spacious, elegant accommodation
- Excellent discounts at a host of local restaurants for you and your clients
- Free wi-fi when booking direct on our website
- A free continental breakfast throughout your stay
The Rathbone’s quality facilities, services and style has seen it consistently rank among the very best 4 star hotels in central London. So if you’re looking for exceptional 4-star central London accommodation, look no further.
The City That Never Sleeps
Call it what you want – the West End, downtown or Central Business District – central London is England’s capital of shopping, international business, glitz, glamour, style and sophistication and for the most part, is the first stop for international travellers coming to the UK.
One of England’s most celebrated poets, essayists, biographers and literary heavyweights Samuel Johnson wrote in 1777; ‘You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’
There are no officially-recognised boundaries of central London but if there were, it would most likely be Goodge Street (north), Charing Cross (south), Marble Arch (west) and Holborn (east). It’s generally accepted that it takes in the main centres of entertainment including Leicester Square, Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, the main shopping streets around Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street and parts of Fitzrovia (slightly to the north) and Marylebone (slightly west). More broadly, it can also be described as the city centre to the west of the City of London.
A hotbed of tourist and commercial activity, there are plenty of accommodation options, in particular a range of four star London city centre hotels which offer a great combination of quality and affordability. Some, like the Rathbone, are perfectly positioned to keep you within a stone’s throw of the action while also boasting a tucked-away, tranquil location – meaning you can relax in peace after busy days and busier nights.
The History of Central London
While the City of London can trace it’s Roman roots back two thousand years, central London as we know it today was largely established at the beginning of the 19th century. The area became popular with the rich elite and aristocracy for two very distinct reasons. First, it was close to the royal seat of power in Westminster and political connections at that time (and today) were vitally important and second, it was upwind of the smoke drifting west out of the City.
During the 1800s, London was the largest city in the world and the heart of the British Empire. Britain at the time was the world’s only ‘superpower’ and the population of London rose from one million in 1800 to 6.7m a century later. While London grew visibly wealthy to the 500m colonials looking in, it was also a city of extreme poverty.
Stories like Dickens’ Oliver Twist weren’t too far from the truth and millions of people lived (and died) in overcrowded, unsanitary, disease-ridden slums in the City, hence the exodus to what is now central London, by those that could afford it.
In the mid-1800s, London also saw an influx of new residents – firstly Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Famine of 1845-9 (at one point it was estimated that the Irish made up 20% of the population of London) and then sizeable Jewish, Chinese and South Asian communities who all jostled for space and livelihoods.
It was around this time that two things happened that transformed the city. In 1829, Prime Minister Robert Peel’s ‘bobbies’ were introduced onto the streets of central London. This new form of organised, official policing – the precursor to the Metropolitan Police – deterred the thousands of Bill Sykes-characters and made London a safer place for people to go about their business. The second thing to transform central London was the introduction of the railway.
The London Underground and the overground system allowed central London to become connected to the new and emerging suburbs and while London remained under the control of ancient parishes and vestries, the urbanised growth required something more robust. In 1855, the Metropolitan Board of Works was formed as the first instrument of London-wide government. It provided an infrastructure to cope with such rapid growth and it addressed problems including sanitation, disease, slum clearance, new roads and bridges, parks and open spaces (including Hampstead Heath, Finsbury Park, Leicester Square and Clapham Common) as well as the establishment of the London Fire Brigade.
London continued to flourish as a major world city and remains a cosmopolitan, inclusive, exciting, vibrant city. The 1950s saw widespread immigration from the West Indies, Jamaica, Pakistan and India; the 60s saw the explosion of ‘youth culture’ centred in Carnaby Street and the King’s Road and the 70s saw political upheaval, localised troubles and our first female Prime Minister.
The red Porsche and braces ‘yuppie’ culture of the 80s morphed into the 90s of Cool Britannia, New Labour and into the 2000s we saw recession, Congestion Charge and the Tate Modern but whatever life has thrown at London, it remains a place that people want to live in, holiday in and visit.
Central London – Eat, Drink…
Are you hungry? For starters you have 62 Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from – some of which are located in many of central London’s 4-star hotels – as well as food from almost every country in the world and suitable for all wallets, tastes and dietary requirements. High-end dining rooms, restaurant chains, gastropubs, cafés, diners, pop-ups and brasseries are all over the centre of London – your only dilemma will be which one to go to!
If shopping is your thing, you are most definitely in the right place. At 1.5 miles, Oxford Street is the longest shopping street in Europe and you’ll find almost everything you could wish for. If you want to go a little more upmarket, Bond Street and South Moulton Street are packed full of designer boutiques and in Soho and Covent Garden you’ll find more quirky fayre, including vintage, second-hand stores, arts and crafts, jewellery and bookshops. Also dotted around the center of London are some great markets, state-of-the-art shopping centres and department stores. If shopping is your thing, the staff at the Rathbone can assist you with hints, tips and ideas so you can find the very best shopping experiences. As a leading central London 4 star hotel, we’re located within walking distance of London’s best shopping streets, meaning you won’t miss a thing on your visit.
Two thousand years of history takes a while to get through but when you’re in London, there are some sites you simply cannot miss! Let’s start with the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the Natural History Museum, British Museum and the Science Museum, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, London Zoo, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Madame Tussaud’s! Once you’ve got through that lot, speak to our concierge and they will give you another list to work through!
Travelling in Central London
The extensive tube network will take you all over London, as will the iconic red buses and if you feel fit, you can hire a ‘Boris Bike’ and cycle the city! And of course the mainline train stations (Kings Cross St Pancras, Charing Cross, Euston, Paddington and Victoria) will get you all over the country and into Europe.
Four Star Central London Hotels – Why Choose The Rathbone?
There are lots of 4 star London city centre hotels to choose from but if you’re looking for outstanding customer service, all the amenities and facilities discerning guests expect when they come to London, look no further than the Rathbone.
We have 72 newly-decorated, air-cooled rooms with plenty of space to work and relax in comfort, free wi-fi for direct bookings, a superb room service menu, a continental or English breakfast to start the day properly and a 24h reception desk to make sure that your stay with us is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
TripAdvisor gave us a Certificate of Excellence thanks to the consistently good feedback we receive from our guests and that puts us up there with the best central London four star hotels. Come and see for yourself!