Where to Stay in London: A Local’s Tips
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Wondering what the best area to stay in London is? I’m here to help! I lived in London for 18 years and I know where to stay in London, whether you’re here on a backpacking trip, are travelling with kids or are wondering where to stay in London on a budget!
This guide takes you all around the city and to some of its suburbs, so you can get a feel for the UK’s capital and decide for yourself which is the best area to stay in London for you. I’ve included entries from north, south, east and west so you can really assess which one will be best for your situation!
I’ve also included how to get to Trafalgar Square in each entry; it is widely thought that this is the centre of the city, so it will help you see how close your favourite area is to the centre of London.
Which area to stay in London: Quick Run Down
If you don’t fancy reading the whole post, you can click here to reach the place that is perfect for your stay.
- Best Place to Stay in London for Families: Kensington & Chelsea
- Best Place to Stay in London for Backpackers: Shoreditch
- Where to Stay in London for 2 nights: Victoria
- Best Place to Stay in London during the Week: London City/ Canary Wharf
- Best Place to Stay in London for a Local Vibe: Brixton & Peckham
- Best Place to Stay in London for Tourist Attractions: Westminster
- Where to stay in London for Nightlife: Soho
Where to Stay in London: The Complete List
Right in the centre of the city, Victoria is a great place to stay in London if you are short on time and want to make sure that you see the best parts of the city. Located close to Buckingham Palace, Soho, St James’ Park, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, you’ll have most of London’s key attractions on your doorstep. This makes Victoria a fantastic place to stay in London for first-timers.
If you want to reach any other attractions in the city, Victoria has a very well connected tube line. And if you are continuing your journey to elsewhere in the UK or Gatwick airport, Victoria has excellent rail and bus links.
Where to Stay in Victoria
Hostel: PubLove @ The White Ferry, Victoria is just a five minute walk from Victoria train and coach station. The hostel has an on-site burger kitchen, a 24 hour bar and free WiFi. All dorm rooms enjoy individual bed screens and individual power sockets. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: The Comfort Inn Buckingham Palace Road is located just five minutes from Victoria Rail and Underground Station. It has clean, well facilitiated rooms with air conditioning, heating, free WiFi, flat screen TVs and more. It’s relatively low-cost for such a central location. Click here to see it and book today.
Luxury: The lavish St James’ Court, A Taj Hotel is a luxurious place to stay in, with luxury, clean rooms and bathrooms including flat screen TVs and comfy beds. There is an on-site gym, beauty centre, bar and three restaurants. Click here for rates and to book.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Victoria
Trafalgar Square is 1.3 miles (just over 2 kilometres) from Victoria. Walk or take the district line to Embankment.
The best place to stay for business travellers or during the week in London, the area of London City encompasses the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as a lot of offices! Most hotels are business style and it is an expensive part of the city. The nightlife is great during the week, with many pubs and bars opening their doors after 5pm when people have finished work. Saturday and Sunday, this area is a ghost town. You might be able to get cheaper deals on weekend accommodation, but you’ll have to take a tube for any kind of atmosphere!
Where to Stay in London City
Hostel: Wombats City Hostel London is just a short walk from Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. The hostel enjoys a bar, a courtyard and a hangout area. Each dorm has wooden beds, perfect for a great night’s sleep, a private shower and toilet facilities. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Excel Apartments St Paul’s is a great place to stay for groups in London. Each apartment features free WiFi, a kitchenette and modern decor. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: The Rookery is a fantastic luxury place to stay in London City. It’s a great place to stay for any history fans, with period decor and truly unique rooms. However, every room has flat screen televisions and fashionable bathrooms. Enjoy free WiFi, soundproofed rooms and a tea and coffee maker to start your day in luxury. Click here for rates and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from London City
Trafalgar Square is a 50 minute, 2.6 mile (4.1 kilometre) pleasant walk along the river from London City. From Tower Bridge, you can take a district line tube to Embankment and walk from there.
One of the most iconic places in London, Westminster is steeped in history. It’s probably the best place to stay in London for first time visitors, due to the amount of attractions around. Nearby is Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. It’s a great spot to stay if you want to be in the thick of things, but there isn’t much nightlife in this area at all. Bearing that in mind, it’s probably better for families than backpackers. Like all of central London, accommodation in Westminster is quite expensive.
Where to Stay in Westminster
Hostel: London Waterloo Hostel is a well-facilitated accommodation, with dorms of various sizes. They offer free breakfast, free wifi, free tea and coffee and free earplugs! The kitchen is well stocked and the dorm rooms offer UK sockets and USB sockets. Click here to learn more.
Mid-Range: Check out The Z Hotel Victoria for compact, contemporary accommodation. Each room has comfy beds, flat screen TV with satellite channels, an iPod dock and a delicious included breakfast. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: The Belgrave Hotel has contemporary rooms in Grade II listed townhouses. The hotel enjoys free WiFi and an attached bar. Breakfast is included, and each room features a flat screen TV and other amenities. Click here for more details and to book.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Westminster
Trafalgar Square is 14 minutes walk, 0.7 miles (1.3 kilometres) from Westminster. Bus 11 connects the two.
Ideally placed in the middle of the city, but still a lovely area for some exploration, Covent Garden is close to the West End so is great for those seeing a theatre production, has lots of restaurants and bars, and is in easy reach to the major tourist attractions of the city.
It might be a contender for the best area to stay in London with family, and is excellent for solo travellers as well. And if you’re after nightlife, Soho is not too far from Covent Garden.
Where to Stay in Covent Garden
Budget: There aren’t many hostels or super budget guesthouses in Covent Garden. Seven Dials Hotel is a small B&B with well equipped rooms and a full English buffet breakfast. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: The Fielding Hotel is a beautiful place to stay in the heart of central London. The hotel features free WiFi and offers a homely atmosphere. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: The Henrietta Hotel is a boutique-style residence, well kitted out with plush rooms, bathtubs in the rooms and in en-suite bathrooms. On site is a restaurant and bar, and rates include a very good breakfast. Click here for rates and to book.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Covent Garden
Trafalgar Square is just 9 minutes, 0.5 miles or 0.8 kilometres from Covent Garden. You can take bus 87 to reach the two.
The best place to stay in London for nightlife seekers, Soho is full of bars, pubs and clubs. Drinks and entry here can come with a hefty price tag, but it’s still well worth checking out for some quintessential London nightlife. It’s also a great place for LGBTQ clubs and events. During the day, expect to find vintage stores and independent record shops in Soho – and just venture southwards to see Chinatown.
Where to Stay in Soho
Hostel: Sohostel is clean, sleek and well-facilitated. Guests can enjoy the shared TV lounge and on-site bar, which has happy hour deals and kareoke nights. Choose from 6 bed dorms or private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Z Hotels are back with another great accommodation option for Soho. Z Soho is a modern space set in 12 converted townhouses. Rooms are compact and no-frills, but they are clean and have everything you’ll need. For a great price, you won’t be complaining! Click here for rates and to book today.
Luxury: The London EDITION (not sure why the last word is in caps, but I kinda like it) is the perfect place to stay if you’re after some luxury in the capital. Enjoy a michelin starred restaurant, 2 cocktail bars, free WiFi and a fitness centre within the hotel – and each room is kitted out with a flat screen TV, an ipod docking station, bathrobes, a mini bar and fantastic views over the city. Click here for rates and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Soho
It is just a 13 minute walk from the heart of Soho to Trafalgar Square – 0.7 miles or 1.12 kilometres. You can take the Bakerloo Line from Picadilly Circus to Charing Cross and walk from there (although it’s almost guaranteed to be quicker to walk!)
Kensington & Chelsea
One of the most high-end places in London, residents who live there end up paying a pretty penny, but hotels are on par with the rest of the capital. This makes it one of the best places to stay in London with kids, as the neighbourhood is safe and relatively peaceful, and it’s in a great location for London’s best attractions.
There are plenty of things to do in Kensington, including all of London’s best museums, which makes it the best answer when you’re wondering where to stay in London with a family. While staying in the area, you and your kids (if you’re travelling with them!) can enjoy the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the V&A, and more! This neighbourhood is located close to the main sights of London, without being right in the thick of it all.
There are some great attractions in the area for those who aren’t travelling with kids; including Notting Hill and Portobello Market. And it’s only a quick tube ride to Harrods, Hyde Park and attractions like Buckingham Palace.
Where to stay in Kensington & Chelsea
Hostel: Astor Hyde Park is cosy style in the charming neighbourhood of Kensington. It features free fast WiFi and free PC access, 24 hour reception, an all you can eat breakfast for 1 and well equipped kitchens. You can also enjoy discounts at restaurants and coffee shops. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Oliver Plaza Hotel is a luxurious stay, with new furniture and lavish features. Guests can enjoy a bar and free breakfast, as well as a flat-screen TV, free WiFi and soundproofing in the rooms. Click here for rates and to book.
Luxury: The Chelsea Harbour Hotel is a great pick for a lavish night’s stay in this neighbourhood. Rooms are spacious, some with lounging areas, and the hotel has a fitness centre, a spa and wellness centre, a bar and delicious breakfast. Click here for rates and to book.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Kensington & Chelsea
It is 3.2 miles or just over 5 kilometres from the heart of Kensington & Chelsea to Trafalgar Square. You can take the circle line from High Street Kensington to Embankment Station and walk from there.
Notting Hill & Hammersmith
Most famous for the annual Notting Hill Carnival (there is a very fun atmosphere in the area at this time, but it will be crazy busy!), this is one of the best areas to stay in London for people wanting a neighbourhood vibe not too far from the city. Apart from during carnival, it tends to be a quiet area, close to Hyde Park and Portobello Road. The suburb also enjoys wide, leafy streets and beautiful townhouses. Because of its relative ruralness, it’s one of the best places to stay in London with a family.
Where to Stay in Notting Hill
Budget: There aren’t really many hostels in the Notting Hill area, as it is a quiet place apart from during Notting Hill Carnival. 72QT is a bed and breakfast joint with an attached club bar. Breakfast is included in the rates, and each room enjoys free WiFi, a TV and a tea/ coffee maker. Bathrooms are shared. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: The Dome Notting Hill is located just 900 metres from Portobello Road Market. Each studio enjoys a flat screen TV, a private bathroom and a kitchenette. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: The Laslett is a fantastic 5* accommodation option. The 51 guest rooms are spread across five Victorian mansions, with luxury rain showers, bathtubs and boutique style decor in the bedrooms. Click here for rates and to book.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Notting Hill
It is 3.9 miles or 6.2 kilometres from Notting Hill to Trafalgar Square. You’ll need to take the Central Line from Holland Park to Oxford Circus, and then the Bakerloo Line from Oxford Circus to Charing Cross Underground Station and walk from there.
Battersea & Clapham
Not the most famous place to stay in London, but well worth it for backpackers searching for a less touristy crowd, Battersea has great hostels, fun events and a cool neighbourhood vibe. There are pubs and restaurants aplenty and although you won’t be in walking distance to London’s main attractions, it’s slightly cheaper than the city centre and is alongside the River Thames.
The area is loved by young Londoners, which means that there are loads of fun events happening. The annual SW4 festival happens every weekend on Clapham Common. When you want to get into central London, it’s only an 8 minute train ride to London Victoria Station.
Where to Stay in Battersea & Clapham
Hostel: PubLove @ The Crown has mixed dormitories, free WiFi, fresh linen and a 24 hour bar. Each bunk has security bed screens, individual sockets and guest food and drink discounts at the attached pub. Click here for rates and book today.
Mid-Range: SO Park Battersea is a gorgeous aparthotel, offering studios with their own kitchen and bathroom facilities. Each studio is air conditioned and breakfast is available for an additional charge. Click here for rates and to book.
Luxury: Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa overlooks Battersea Park and has stylish, modern rooms, with a pool and full spa facilities. Each room has a comfy bed, flat-screen TV and an iPod docking station, with a modern bathroom. The hotel also enjoys 24 hour room service. Click here for rates and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Battersea & Clapham
It is 4.1 miles, or 6.6 kilometres from Battersea & Clapham to Trafalgar Square. By public transport, you can either take bus 87 or an overground train to Waterloo and then the Bakerloo Line to Charing Cross Underground Station. Both options take just under half an hour.
A lovely suburb of London, Greenwich is like taking a breath of fresh air from the city. It is home to Greenwich Mean Time, the Cutty Sark and the O2 arena, so there’s plenty of things to do here!
The nightlife isn’t heaving but there are plenty of bars and pubs to have some drinks at – and of course, there are often events at the O2. It does take a while to get into Central London from Greenwich, so if your trip is based around the most popular tourist attractions, staying here might not be the best idea. However, if it is your second or third time in London, you’ll love staying in Greenwich to get another perspective of the city.
Where to Stay in Greenwich
Hostel: St Christopher’s Greenwich is a cheap, cheerful place to stay with an attached bar and club. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: The Angerstein Hotel is a cosy accommodation in the heart of Greenwich. Choose from single, double, triple or family rooms and enjoy free WiFi and an on-site bar. The staff are welcoming and friendly and will help you with any queries you have about Greenwich or London! Click here to learn more.
Luxury: Intercontinental London – The O2 is the perfect place for you to stay in luxury, especially if you are catching a concert or event at the O2 arena. It is just a 5 minute walk to the main arena and 10 minutes’ drive (public transport is also available) to Greenwich centre. The hotel has en-suite rooms, each which come with a flat screen TV and a bath. The hotel has three restaurants and two bars on-site. Click here to learn more and to reserve.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Greenwich
It is 6.7 miles, or 10.7 kilometres, from Greenwich to Trafalgar Square. Using public transit, you can take the Docklands Light Railway to Lewisham and then transfer to an overground to Charing Cross Station and walk from there.
Brixton & Peckham
Heading down into South East Larndarn (my ends), Brixton and Peckham offer cheaper accommodation with a more ‘neighbourhood’ feel. They’re places with lots of nightlife, so are ideal for backpackers, but not so much for families! Also, South East London isn’t yet on the tube network, so you’ll need to get a short overground train into the centre. Most of all the main attractions are in Central London, but you won’t be short of restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs in these areas. Prices are good here, but if you’re into luxury, this might not be the best places for you.
Where to Stay in Brixton & Peckham
Hostel: Located in an Edwardian public house, Hootananny has large, comfortable rooms and is located in the centre of Brixton. The hostel has an award winning bar underneath. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Best Western London Peckham has small, funkily decorated rooms and a really great personable atmosphere. Guests here love the bright decor, cleanliness and delicious breakfast. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: Peckham Rooms Hotel is clean and quiet, with well-facilitated, boutique style rooms. WiFi is available in all areas. Click here for rates and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Brixton & Peckham
Trafalgar Square is 4 miles, or 6.4 kilometres, from Brixton. You can take direct bus 159, which takes around 24 minutes, or take the Victoria line to Stockwell and transfer to the Northern Line to Charing Cross and walk from there. The underground option is slightly quicker, taking around 20 minutes. Peckham is slightly further east; from here you can take bus 12 to reach the centre or take the bus to Oval and then the Northern Line to Charing Cross. Both take around half an hour.
Lambeth & Vauxhall
A slightly quieter area on the south of the river, Lambeth & Vauxhall are slightly cheaper than more central, but enjoy a riverside location. There’s some nightlife around the area, and it’s only 15 minutes from most places in Central London – being walking distance from the Houses of Parliament.
Where to Stay in Lambeth
Hostel: The Walrus is a great spot, with an attached bar, comfy beds and reasonable rates. Check prices and book by clicking here.
Mid-Range: Belgrave Hotel offers reasonably priced rooms with en-suite facilities, each with a flat-screen TV and private bathroom. Room rates include a complimentary continental breakfast. Click here to check prices and book today.
Luxury: Park Plaza London Riverbank is located in prime position close to London’s main attractions and Waterloo station, yet still just about out of the city madness! The rooms have working facilities, views of the River Thames and London skyline and other luxury facilities. Enjoy the spa and swimming pool and the bar and restaurant while staying at the hotel. Click here for rates and to reserve.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Lambeth and Vauxhall
Lambeth is 1.4 miles from Trafalgar Square (or 2.3 kilometres). Bus 3 and the Bakerloo Line both connect the two. Both take around 17 minutes.
Located in London’s east, Shoreditch is a great place for younger travellers. You could spend a few days just soaking in Shoreditch’s vibe; with street art, some great world food and great nightlife, it’s an entity in its own. Shoreditch can be a bit noisy at night; so bear that in mind when you are deciding which area to stay in London. Accommodation is cheaper here than other places in London.
Where to Stay in Shoreditch
Hostel: The Dictionary Hostel revels in its great location, but it’s a great place to chill in. Offering free WiFi, 24 hour reception, free breakfast, a roof terrace, an on-site bar and more. Click here to learn more and book today.
Mid-Range: Brick Lane Hotel has comfortable and clean rooms, each room having a desk, a flat screen TV, tea/ coffee making facilities and a private bathroom. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: CitizenM Hotel uses technology in a fresh and innovative way, and has quirky decor welcoming ‘citizens of the world’. Aside from this, it has comfy beds and a restaurant and bar on-site. Click here for rates and to book.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Shoreditch
It is 3.1 miles, or just under 5 kilometres, from Shoreditch to Trafalgar Square. Otherwise, you can take the Northern Line from Old Street to Elephant & Castle and then transfer to the Bakerloo Line to reach Charing Cross Underground Station and walk from there. It takes just under half an hour.
A business area of London, Canary Wharf definitely has its attractions, with good nightlife and restaurants during the week, an ice skating rink in the winter and plenty of shops. It’s a little way out from the rest of London though, and is most suited to business travellers who are working in the area. The hotels of Canary Wharf reflect this.
Where to Stay in Canary Wharf
Hostel: Via Limehouse is a refurbished hostel close to Canary Wharf. It calls itself a “Poshtel” offering comfortable accommodation on a budget. There is food available 24 hours a day, free WiFi and a lounge and chill out zone. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Fraser Place is right in the middle of Canary Wharf’s business district. Each room has a city view, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom, and the whole hotel makes use of free WiFi. Click here for rates and to book.
Luxury: The Hilton London is very close to Canary Wharf’s underground station. The rooms are air conditioned and modernly decorated, with flat-screen TVs, en-suite bathrooms with a bath and a private bathroom. The hotel has a fitness centre, restaurant, bar and restaurant and breakfast is included. Click here for rates and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Canary Wharf
It is 6.1 miles, or just under 10 kilometres, from Canary Wharf to Trafalgar Square. You can take the Jubilee Line to Waterloo and then the Northern Line to Charing Cross, and then walk, to reach it. It takes around 22 minutes.
This area is located in the north of the city and is famous for Camden Market. This area is the place to go in London for vintage clothes, artsy jewellery and authentic records. The street food in Camden is the best in the city as well. Camden was where rock music in Britain began, which lends itself to a lively atmosphere and many bars, pubs and clubs. It’s a great place for younger travellers to stay – but is not so much a family friendly neighbourhood! Camden is cheaper than staying in Central London.
Where to Stay in Camden
Hostel: Palmers Lodge – Swiss Cottage is set in a maisonette. The hostel offers free wifi, free linen and a 24 hour reception. There is a cheap breakfast and it is well connected to tube links. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Smart Stay Swiss Cottage has free WiFi and offers different size studios, all with flat screen TVs and a kitchenette. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: The Bloomsbury Hotel is in walking distance of some of London’s best attractions. On-site is a fitness centre, a restaurant and bar and each room has a private bathroom, free WiFi and a flat-screen TV. Click here for rates and reservations.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Camden
Camden is 4 miles, or 6.4 kilometres, from Trafalgar Square. You can take the 24 bus or the Northern Line to Charing Cross Station. It takes just under half an hour.
Slightly north east of Soho, Clerkenwell is a short tube ride away from London’s key attractions. You’ll be spoilt for choice with restaurants in Clerkenwell – there are some amazing Michelin Star restaurants and great markets nearby.
Hostel: A nice hostel close to Clerkenwell is Clink78 hostel. Situated in the courthouse where Charles Dickens worked and The Clash were trialled, here is the chance to enjoy a real slice of London’s history. Choose from private or dorm rooms with bunk beds; most of which have personal lights. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Featuring clean rooms with free WiFi, Balmoral House Hotel is well located and has friendly staff. Click here for rates and to read more.
Luxury: Boutique style rooms over a pub give the Fox and Anchor a quintessentially ‘British’ feeling, with all en-suite rooms featuring a desk, a flat screen TV and a bath. The pub below serves delicious grub, but if you don’t want to leave your room, room service is available. Click here for rates and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Clerkenwell
Clerkenwell is 1.8 miles (or 2.8 kilometres) from Trafalgar Square. You can take bus 19 to reach it, which takes around 20 minutes.
Paddington & Marylebone
An ideal place to stay in London for those arriving via Heathrow Airport, Paddington & Marylebone accommodate two main train stations. Because there are so many hotels in this area, it is budget-friendly and value for money. There aren’t so many attractions in this area, but the Bakerloo tube line makes it very easy to reach the city centre. It’s also a great place to stay if you’re watching a football game at Wembley Stadium or a concert in Wembley Arena.
Where to Stay in Paddington & Marylebone
Hostel: Palmers Lodge – Hillspring at Willesden Green has clean dorms with friendly staff, free WiFi, free breakfast and linen. Free breakfast is offered and there is a restaurant on site with meals from 5. Click here to book.
Mid-Range: The White House Hotel is set in a Victorian town house, with a 24 hour front desk and cosy bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: Paddington Court Executive Rooms are located close to Hyde Park and has a restaurant, bar, free WiFi and a fitness centre. Rooms are soundproofed, with flat-screen TVs and en-suite luxury bathrooms. Click here for more information and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Paddington & Marylebone
It is 2.6 miles or 4.1 kilometres from Paddington & Marylebone to Trafalgar Square. The Bakerloo Line connects the neighbourhood with Charing Cross Station, from where you can walk, in just over 10 minutes.
A great place to stay for those wanting a more rural location while visiting London, Hampstead Heath is 791 acres with woodland and ponds. Although a little out of the city, Hampstead is the perfect place to stay for people who are not visiting London for the first time.
Where to Stay in Hampstead
Budget: Langorf Hotel is a traditional townhouse, with all rooms featuring free WiFi, satellite TV and tea and coffee makers. There is room service, a bar and included breakfast. Click here for rates and to book.
Mid-Range: Best Western Swiss Cottage Hotel has individually decorated rooms, kitted out with a flat screen TV, ensuite bathroom and a tea/ coffee maker. There is a bar/ lounge with a grand piano and tasteful decor. Click here for rates and book today.
Luxury: London Marriott Maida Vale Hotel has luxury bedrooms and suites, with Apple TV, walk in showers and some with baths. On-site is a Carluccio’s Restaurant, a fitness centre, a restaurant and a bar. Click here for rates and book today.
How to Get to Trafalgar Square from Hampstead
It is 4.9 miles (7.8 kilometres) from Hampstead to Trafalgar Square. Take the Northern Line to Charing Cross and walk from there – it takes just over 20 minutes.
I hope this post has given you some insight into the best area to stay in in London! Any comments and shares are very appreciated, and please follow me on Facebook for more!
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