Some considerations as of where to stay
When I planned my 2 weeks London (summer 2008), I knew I should find something reasonable as I would go bancrupt otherwise. The options in Bayswater and “outside” of the city centre were still too much for me, as they started at 50 £ for a single room and were mostly described as a room where moving oneself would result in acrobatic acts. I thought about the The Clink Hostel, which is said to be a former prison, now converted into rooms, but I was told it is maybe not a good location now (but might in the future, as they are currently refurbishing the whole area around St. Pancras Station). But luckily I found a tip on our London accommodation list about a private guesthouse in Chiswick with very reasonable prices. I looked up Chiswick and realised that it is within zone 2 of London’s transport system and has Turnham Green tube station (District Line) within only 5 minutes walk from the guesthouse. I quickly calculated and decided that it will definitely be the best option to stay here during my 2 weeks in London:
price per night including breakfast: 27,50 £ + 3,50 £ per day for transport (= 24,50 £ for a week transport pass), which makes it 31 £ for bed, breakfast and unlimited transport into and within the city. Note that you would have to buy transport tickets anyhow, no matter where you stay in London.
It turned out to be an excellent decision. Not only the guesthouse was a lovely place to stay (see separate tip), but I felt a big relief to get out of the city in the evenings. Chiswick is just much quieter than the hustle and bustle of London. Even if Turnham Green station is on the District Line, after 22:30, Picadilly Line trains stop here as well (which makes it a perfect direct journey after a night out in the Westend). And otherwise, 3 stops east of Turnham Green is Hammersmith station, where I otherwise grabbed the Picadilly Line (District & Picadilly Line stop at the same platform, so there is no long walk necessary – good when you have luggage to carry).
Turnham Green to Leicester Square is around 25 minutes drive. Chiswick itself is a nice and lively suburb with everything one might need. Within 5 minutes reach of the guesthouse is a branch of Sainsbury’s (food store) and also an excellent crèpe restaurant Crepe Parisienne, where I spent many early evenings to have a Café Latte or a delicious tea or ate one of their very delicious crèpes (around 3-5 £, depending on the variety). In Chiswick’s High Street there is a Waterstone’s bookstore with a good selection of all kinds of books and books about London (I bought two of Andrew Duncan’s London Walk books there, but this will also result in a separate tip). There are two pubs in Chiswick High Street (however, given my satisfaction with the crèpe place I was never there) and another one, albeit a famous one, a 15 minutes walk down to the river: Griffin Brewery.
I also enjoyed the riverside of Chiswick during a walk to Hammersmith. Some of very old pubs are here, among them The Dove with a fantastic view on the river.
Whenever I will come to London again and stay for more than 2 nights, I will definitely come back to Chiswick.
Update, November 2009:
I have exchanged the link for the restaurant (Crepe Parisienne).