In a city strewn with recognisable landmarks, there are few in London as familiar as Big Ben. And perhaps the ultimate way to see the iconic attraction is from the vantage point of your hotel window.
Choosing a hotel can be a daunting prospect in a city as large as London. Want to be in the heart of the city, within easy walking distance of many of its most famous sights such as the aforementioned Great Bell at the Palace of Westminster? Or base yourself in one of its many outer districts, less convenient perhaps, but less crowded too. For the former, there are plenty of options available, with something for every taste and budget. Here are 5 of the best hotels in London near Big Ben.
Sofitel London St James
Set in a neoclassical building in the upscale St. James’s neighbourhood, this luxurious 5-star hotel is a brisk 15-minute walk from Big Ben and combines contemporary style with old-world charm. In the hotel’s grand brasserie, twin spiral staircases lend a dramatic visual touch, and the sense of theatre continues in the bar and lounge area where it’s easy to imagine 1950s movie star sipping cocktails. Elsewhere in the hotel, there’s a fitness centre and a spa, a business centre, and free on-site parking. The swanky guest rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs, tea/coffee-makers, and minibars, and there are also suites with living areas. Surrounded by imposing Georgian architecture, the green space of St James’s Square Gardens is on the hotel’s doorstep and makes for a popular picnic spot on warm days. From £484 per night.
Conrad London St James
On the other side of the gardens is another sumptuous London hotel that places you just a few short steps – 10 minutes’ worth, in fact – from Big Ben. Previously government offices, entering the hotel nowadays could not be less stuffy and staid, with glossy cream and dark wood, and a dusting of shimmer, plush and padding throughout. A specially commissioned art collection marks the hotel out as pure London, with cartoons by Gerald Scarfe in the bar and a somewhat eccentric, sculptural reimagining of the House of Commons in the lobby. There’s a restaurant featuring more dark wood and lighting serving swanky staples, a bar decked out like a posh pub, and a lounge serving high teas. A fitness centre, a business centre and numerous function rooms complete the line-up of amenities. From £257 per night.
For a mid-range accommodation option with self-catering near Big Ben, Marlin Waterloo may well fit the bill. Situated close to the Thames river, you’ll get great views from its banks across to the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben itself, or for closer inspection walk 10 minutes across Westminster Bridge. At the property, clean, comfortable and unfussy apartments and studios feature flat-screen TVs and sitting areas, and most also have kitchens. Communal amenities include a gym, a bar, meeting rooms, laundry services, and 24-hour front desk. The London Eye is seconds away, as is Lambeth North Tube station, which offers easy access to the rest of the city. From £134 per night.
Positioned just over a mile south of Big Ben in the residential district of Pimlico is this budget-friendly hotel. Owned and operated by the easyJet hotel spin-off, guests can be confident of receiving the brand’s ‘cheap and cheerful’ hospitality hallmarks which may not make for a luxurious stay but won’t hit you hard in the pocket. Compact, windowless guest rooms are designed in colourful style and come with TVs and private bathrooms. A 24-hour front desk ensures there’s always someone on hand to deal with problems or answer questions. Victoria station, one of London’s biggest coach and train hubs, is a few minutes’ walk away. From £100 per night.
Walk directly south from Big Ben for about 15 minutes, over Westminster Bridge and onto the lower side of the River Thames, and you’ll come to NOX Waterloo, the newest and biggest of the hotel chain’s London properties. Located on a bustling shopping street close to Waterloo Station, the hotel offers chic, modern suites complete with flat-screen TVs, parquet flooring and kitchenettes and is popular for both short and extended stays. Nearby are all the attractions of the South Bank, including the London Eye, London Aquarium, Royal Festival Hall and National Theatre. From £99 per night.