There are loads of people (like me!!) that move to London for a while to experience living and working overseas.
There are so many places to look for share and rentat accommodation that it is a little overwhelming.
Some of the best places I found are:
* www.thegumtree.com - especially good for finding share accommodation.
* www.net-lettings.co.uk - really good as it gives you a price guide for all the areas of London, and gives you links to Estate Agents in the area's that you choose.
* www.loot.com - classified style (also a newspaper) that is great for finding flats to rent - many of the adverts are private rentals, meaning you can save on agents fees etc.
* www.findaproperty.com - great for searching for rentals properties.
There are areas in London that attract travellers from particular countries - for example, Shepherds Bush and Earls Court are popular for Aussies and Kiwis; Southfields is popular for South Africans
This is great if you want to move to an area filled with the people you just left back home......
My wife has a brother living in England, about 1 hour outside London in Farnham, Surrey. With limited space due to his growing family, we decided to stay in a B&B in Farnham, so we could have a couple of days with Steve, since commitments prevented him from joining the family in Cornwall for Christmas. We had stayed at a very nice B&B there during our February, 2004 trip but I wanted to try something different this time, and settled on the interesting (and relatively expensive) Little Twynax B&B. I was thinking that finding B&Bs operating over the Christmas season might be a little tricky, so I was glad to hear that they were prepared to put us up when I contacted them from Canada. As it turned out, we were the only customers the owners had over the holidays because they were looking for a little break themselves. We ended up spending 2 nights here at the start of our journey and a final one nine nights later, so we would be in position to get to Heathrow early in the morning to fly out. For our day-trip into London, Steve and his daughter picked us up here and we all then took the ~1 hour train ride into the city.
This 300-year old cottage is absolutely beautiful, both outside and within. It is set in a one acre lot with nicely landscaped gardens, woodlands and a horse paddock. Access to the site is through a large swinging gate in their parking area beside the horse paddock and front lawns. We were given the double room at the left end of the house (photo) with our bedroom and adjoining bath upstairs and our dining room and living room (with a Christmas tree) downstairs. We enjoyed great breakfasts here in the rustic atmosphere of the low-beamed ceilings!
The extra photos show me beside our bedroom entrance door, which only came up to just above my shoulder (I only bumped my head once!) and also the downstairs breakfast area with it's typical low ceiling beams and old farm implements on the walls. For a double room, we paid 55 pounds sterling (US$100) per night including breakfast.
For £20 a night you can get a bunk in a 4 bed dorm in this friendly, and well run chain hostel in Shepherd's Bush. There are other St Christopher's in the UK in Brighton, Edinburgh, Camden, and Greenwich and also in Europe in Amsterdam, Brugge, etc. They are quite well known as safe havens for backpackers on a budget. Check the link for more locations.
Downstairs in St C's is the busy and lively Belushi Bar. (All the hostels have a bar attached). When you arrive you have to check in at the bar and you will be given a magnetic key card and enter the hostel via the internal door. Getting the attention of the receptionist might be difficult in the busy bar as she/he is also the barman. After midnight you take the side entrance. The hostel is a bit of a rabbit warren and locating your room can be a challenge - but there's always someone around to ask if you get lost!
There are no lockers so don' t leave anything valuable in your room. Most people are fairly aware of hostel etiquette and it doesn't take too much thought to realise that it's pretty inconsiderate to come into your room at 4am and switch on the lights and start taking a shower - which is what our roomy did - and then say "Oh dear! Did I wake you???" "Well YES actually!!"
The room was warm - in fact it was too stuffy at 4.30am!! (our roomy put the heater on for when she came out of the shower - but when we got up at 8am it was freezing and didn't seem to be working at all!) Our dorm was *ensuite* but remember to bring your own towels as they are not provided.
Breakfast is available downstairs in the bar from 8am - 9.30am and consists of cereal, toast (only white bread), jams, tea and coffee. I'm not sure how long it takes to set up this simple menu but we arrived at 8.30 and they had only just put the hot water urn on so we had to wait for our hot drinks.
Lots of Austalian and Americans and Irish staying here. It's right near Shepherd's Bush Empire so you don't need to worry about catching the last train/tube home after you've been to a gig. There's a really good atmosphere at this hostel and it feels very safe and secure.
I already described how I found this lovely guesthouse in a separate tip about “where to stay during a longer trip to London”, so here is the description of the guesthouse itself.
Already before I arrived I was very much impressed of the way, owner Sheila treats her guests. As I was quite late with my final booking, she couldn’t provide me with a bed for the whole time. So I had booked at the Edward Lear near Marble Arch for the missing days in between. But 3 days later I received an email from Sheila where she told me that she had a cancellation and would be able to provide me a bed for my whole trip (except the first 2 days). I found this very nice and very caring – a true customer oriented attitude! She even gave me a fantastic tip of how to travel from Marble Arch to Chiswick (bus No 94 instead of tube, which did save me a lot of walking between changing tube trains).
Sheila and her family own two adjacent Victorian houses (photo 1) in Thornton Avenue, one of which is for her guests and the other one for her and the family. She has 7 rooms (most of them double or twin beds), one of them is ensuite, the others have shared bath (photo 3) and toilet, each one set on the ground and first floor (toilet and bathroom are separate). All were exceptionally clean, no matter when I took a shower. My room was facing the garden, which made it very quiet. But there is no noise to the street, except in the morning and evening, when the neighbours come home in their cars (but no comparison ever with London city). My room (photo 4 and 5), as all the other rooms, had a sink, coffee making facility, TV, big wardrobe and a little desk. She will clean every day, although I asked her not to clean my room daily, as it is really not necessary. Sorry, I forgot to take photos when I moved in, so my photos of the room are from my last day, when I already took of the bed linen.
Breakfast is served on the ground floor in (I assume) their dining room (photo 2), a very lovely furnished room. She serves an excellent breakfast, whatever your choice is. I usually had cornflakes and toast only, but once I had a full English breakfast with eggs of choice, baked beans, ham and tomato. Choices of juice include pineapple, orange, cranberry and tomato.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, as it was quiet and nice and the house is located in a very safe area (not that Chiswick is unsafe, but I was never ever worried to walk through the deserted streets when I came back home late).
The actual prices are 27,50 £ per person. This is also what I paid for my stay in the double room (so not even a higher price for single use). From the other VT tip about Swan Private Guesthouse I take that the little room with balcony (in my main photo) is also for rent. I’ll try to book this one next time, if it is available.
Contact Sheila via email or by phone. She did respond to my emails within one day and told me she is checking mails daily.
Swan Private Guesthouse on google maps
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
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).
Hyde Hotel is only 2 minutes from Paddington station and Hyde Park and close to Lancaster Road and Bayswater Road. Set back in a private tree lined terrace, The Hyde Hotel is accessible via all major routes in and out the heart of London. It offers spacious executive rooms, family rooms and standard rooms to meet your requirements. The rooms are en suite with the choice of warm colours and furniture. Each room is equipped with a direct dial telephone, and TV. Car parking is available and there is 10.00 GBP charge per night. Other features of The Hyde are its Restaurant and Bar. The 'Eclipse Bar/Restaurant' is sophisticated, spacious, and elegant; charming,it is an ideal meeting point for friends and family.
The shower area is small but, if you can live with that, it's very acceptable accommodation
We shared a 6 berth dorm above the Belushi Bar on a noisy Satuday night in Camden High Street with a couple of anonymous strangers. We arrived around 1am and they had already claimed their bunks and we were woken sometime in the early hours by them switching on the light and ferreting around in their suitcases for God knows what.
A bit of "Dorm Etiquette":
When you arrive in your dorm late at night or in the early hours of the morning - EXPECT OTHER PEOPLE TO BE SLEEPING - just because they weren't there when you left doesn't mean they won't be there when you get back at 4am. Your gasps of "Ohhh there's people sleeping here!!" will probably wake them up. Get your pyjamas out before you go out for the night so you can find them in the dark when you get back!
Ok back to the "facilities". The dorms are mixed or single sex (you choose), have ensuite showers and loos and a sink. You can't turn off the rads so the room is hot as hell and with several people sharing it doesn't make for a pleasant sleeping environment - but at ?18 a night with breakfast you can't complain.
Talking of breakfast - it's white bread, Tesco Economy Crapflakes (don't even go there - have the muesli instead) and the ubiquitous little plastic squares of jam or marmalade. But thumbs up to the Belushi Bar - They also had PEANUT BUTTER and HONEY!!! Coooo Swish!!!! There's also Tea and Coffee that you make yourself at the bar - then wander round aimlessly with a soggy tea-bag balancing on the spoon while you look for somewhere to deposit it.... You will find a huge black bin in the middle of the bar/breakfast room for this purpose. A little bowl would do the job, but it's a hostel... a few niceties wouldn't be cool or trendy I suppose.
Security within the hostel is very good - so good that your keycard probably won't work for 90% of the time and you will have to go back downstairs and have it reset or recharged or something. Anyway this is very annoying and will most likely disturb those still sleeping - but revenge is sweet ;-)
It's cheap. It's just a few yards from Mornington Crescent on the Northern Line so easy to get to.
One major drawback (now theres a surprise)...you have to bring your own boat.
If you are a sailor however, then you can stay right in the heart of London at St Katherines Dock next to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
Berthing charges at Twenty-one pounds (up to 10M boats) may be relatively expensive compared to other moorings...but an absolute bargain for staying in the centre of London.
Joining the Youth Hostel Association gives you a saving of £3 a night less for accommodation throughout the United Kingdom - and the range of great locations is a plus too.
Membership here also gives you access to the International Hostel Association linking you to youth hostels all over Europe and around the world - and not necessarily for 'youths' as in the name - its for young at heart travellers who want to travel and stay at these places. Likewise theres some great places around Europe - including strategic central locations and castles, water mills, high rise buildiings and even ships! in locations beside beautiful water or on cliff tops or out in beautiful woodlands surrounded by bluebells.
At the same time know that membership helps provide funding for groups that the YHA support such as disadvantaged young people joining fellow classmates or friends on residential trips with the YHA (see www.yha-breaks4kids.org.uk)
Membership of The YHA of the UK entitles you to their annual guidebook on all hostels within the UK, and an anuual Hostelling International Guide to worldwide hostels is available for purchase at a 25% discount to members.
Have found this very handy to have in conjunction with accommodation recommendations provided within my Lonely Planet and Rough Guide guidebooks when on my driving tours - especially if travelling in an expensive location and budget accommodation is scarce. I get to see what nearby locations i can choose and drive to instead and also any special hostels to take advantage of such as a castle or ....
Accommodation can range from single to double or family rooms with ensuite bathroom facilities to 4 to 12 person dormitory rooms sharing communal facilities. Usually cooking facilities are provided. Quality can be in 3 star motel type accommodation to basic but generally the services are clean and in most cases 24 hour reception is provided. Ive stayed in some great and much enjoyed places!
In my childhood and early teens the name Carnaby Street evoked a myth more than it indicated a real place, and now, as a mature adult, I happened to spend three nights at a hotel that is situated exactly at the nothern end of that mythical street.
This hotel is situated in the very heart of the shopping and theatre district, at walking distance from the majority of historical sights.
The rooms are very comfortable, with high-speed internet connection and flat-screen TV, but strangely missing the tea-making facilities that are usual in English hotels. It differs from the English tradition also in its bathrooms: it is so far the first hotel in UK where I have found a bidet.
This hotel started its career as a courthouse (hence the name) so instead of listing the names of celebrities who were here as guests it lists the ones who went under trial under its roof, from Oscar Wilde to Mick Jagger (fined for possession of drugs).
The hotel restaurant (the name is Silk) was originally one of the courts, and the original oak panelled walls have been preserved. It looks rather gloomy, exactly as one would expect a Victorian tribunal to be, but the food is delicious.
The Stamford Street apartments are owned by King's College London - when I was shown round, I was impressed by the location, facilites and price. The helpful staff are a bonus.
King's also own 3 other student halls which are available for vacation lets:
-Great Dover Street: right by London Bridge, just south of the Thames, but very near the City of London;
-King's College Hall, at Denmark Hill in South London (particularly good value with only a 15 minute journey into the centre of town)
- Hampstead residence, the only one north of the river, in a lovely green suburb which has wonderful open spaces and an interesting history.
These student residences are let to visitors over the vacation at a very good rate. The Stamford St apartments are the only ones I've been in to, and they are built round a courtyard - they seemed very quiet for this extremely central location. The rooms are small but adequate, with a tiny ensuite bathroom and with access to shared cooking and TV areas. (You may also have access to the student gym.) All rooms at Stamford St & King's Halls are singles; there are some 'twins' at Great Dover St and at the lovely Hampstead residence.
Price and location! Ensuite accommodation at Stamford St and Great Dover St is from £32 - £35 per night (the lower rates are for stays of under 7 days); Shared bathroom accommodation at King's College Hall and Hampstead is from £20 per night single, £27 per night twin. Prices include VAT. Some halls offer a discount for students on production of ID. Prices are correct as of summer 2005.
Booking is all done centrally on the number below - you can also email via the website. Staff are really efficient when you ring - they go out of their way to help.
Stamford Street is particularly recommended as it is only a few minutes walk from the South Bank, London Eye, Waterloo (Eurostar) .
Remember these are student halls - the furnture has a very slightly institutional feel and you will see the odd 'blu tac' mark on the walls where someone has taken down a poster at the end of term. If you want to relive your student days, now is your chance!
Actually I've found this site and I think it may be of some use to other VT members. Anyway I've put the web link on here so you can check it out. :-)
If anyone uses this site I would be very grateful of any feed back.
I've been having a "Senior Moment" about the name and location of the small, inexpensive hotel Jill and I stayed in while I visited London. Since Jill's still young, I thought she would remember, but, alas, she, too, has forgotten.
Jill lived in London at the time, but she had 3 roommates; thus, we decided to use a hotel for our own privacy.
Jill knew about this one hotel (I think that it started with a "M") in the Notting Hill Gate Area. We shared a room that had a sink and shower in the room, but we had to share the toilet with another couple of rooms. We had a great bed with a firm mattress, medium-sized room, TV, radio, and phone.
Continental Breakfast came with the room. We ate in a small basement room...it was always toast with orange marmalade and coffee. We were pleased because the price of the room was so inexpensive.
It was close to the Tube station; it was clean; the management was friendly and efficient.
Now, if only Jill or I could remember the name, we would share it with those of you looking for a good, inexpensive, well-located hotel in London!
If you need to stay in London for a bit longer, then why not consider sharing a house/flat? You can rent a room in a private home or join an existing flatshare by visiting www.spareroom.co.uk. This is a website which actually covers the whole of the country, not just London and allows the cash strapped to make the most of the property they live in by maximising occupancy. Bold adverts and picture upload facility available. Very easy to use site and free to search. You need to pay to make contact.
Some travellers enjoy the more intimate interaction of staying in a Bed and Breakfast establishment. While that may sometimes mean sharing a bathroom or 'obeying the rules of the house' according to the owner's wishes, it also gives the visitor an opportunity to live something like a native and in a residential neighborhood.
A valuable site for finding B&B's in London - or throughout Britain for that matter - is the listing below.
The selection in incomparable. But one listing that caught my eye simply because it seems so charming is the Ossian Guest House in North London.
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