- Reviews: 2318
Rental or Share Accommodation: Need to find a share room or flat to rent??
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......
- Reviews: 1425
St Christopher's Inn, Shepherd's Bush: A Bunk in the Bush
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.
- Reviews: 2588
Swan Private Guesthouse: Swan Private Guesthouse, Chiswick, wonderful
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:
- Reviews: 3530
Little Twynax: A B&B in the 'Suburbs'
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.
- Reviews: 95
Thistle Lancaster Gate London: A Surprise at Thistle Lancaster Gate
Overall, the hotel is pleasant. The surprise in store for an unsuspecting guest is that there is NO PARKING! That was understandable in London because of limited amounts of parking space available. We were instructed to park nearly a block away, at a different hotel, which wouldn't have been so horrible, if it didn't cost an extra 20 (nearly 40 US dollars) for only 24 hours! We only stayed the one night in London.
The staff were courteous, and the rooms were comfortable, but some of the wallpaper was coming apart at the seams, and the hot and cold taps in the bathroom sink were put on wrong, as the blue was hot and the red was cold. Our view was horrible, as it was only of the rooftop, and a cup someone decided to throw out the window. (Some of the rooms did have a lovely view of the garden.) It was air-conditioned, clean, and did not have an unpleasant odor, which was most important to me.
After writing an e-mail to the hotel management, I was pleased to find out that they had corrected the afore mentioned, and offered us another room at half price the next time, which I thought was admirable. Personally, I do not think it is worth the regular rate although it is listed as a 4 star hotel.
The garden was lovely. There was a group of Scottish men dressed in their kilts, and playing bagpipe music for entertainment that evening, which was nice, but we missed most of it. We took our drinks outside to relax in the garden, and unwind after a long day of walking around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (Which were nearly across the street from the hotel), and of course miles and miles of London.
THE BEST part of the experience at the hotel was the next morning, at the unlimited buffet Full English breakfast. There were the traditional eggs,(fried & scrambled) sausage, bacon rashers, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread, toast, jam, cereal, fruit, pastries, and of course, Heinz baked beans.
(Well, I think they were Heinz, as they seem to be the rave in England. Personally, I didn't care for them as they were only pork and beans where I come from, until made into 'baked beans' by adding other ingredients.)
There was fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, tea, and even black pudding! (It's not what you think. If you are English, then of course you know already.) I am not sure of all the ingredients that go into black pudding, but I can remember only that it is made with pig's blood! (YUCH!) No thank you.
They allow non-guests to purchase this extravaganza of English food delights for a reasonable amount of money. (around 4GBP) I will visit again just for breakfast if in the area. It was very popular with the locals, and worth every pence!
- Reviews: 2588
(inside London or outside :-): 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).
- Reviews: 5904
The Hyde: And, in the same street!
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
- Reviews: 1425
Baden Powell House: Be prepared....
....to have a bunch of boy scouts in the dorm next door. Baden Powell House is a hostel run by the scout movement and anyone involved in the scout movement gets a discount! (I dont know if this is just the UK or worldwide). Anyway... we are not involved in the scouts so we didn't. It is a nice place to stay though... directly opposite the Natural History Museum.
The hostel was opened in 1961 - 20 years after BP's death, as a living memorial to the founder of the Scouting movement, built by funds raised by the scouts themselves. In the foyer is a small exhibition about his life and the Scout movement.
- Reviews: 1425
St Christophers & Belushi Bar: Camden High Street Hostel
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.
- Reviews: 931
Best Western Phoenix Hotel London: A very nice place to stay
In early January I stayed here again, this time in a single as I was on my own. I had booked far in advance, taking advantage of a super special - I paid about £ 48 for my single ,ensuite , including English breakfast.
The room was small, but perfectly adequate, it had everything I needed. The Westland would have had larger rooms, but the price was unbeatable. This really is a very good place to stay in London.
In 2007 we stayed there for the second time. Just a few steps from Bayswater tube station, this is a very nice hotel.Their doubles are adequately large (which for London means you can move without bumping into each other), nice bathroom and a good, continental breakfast. Their singles are smaller of course, but still large enough. They cost, however, almost as much as a double.(For about 6 Euro you can take a friend along).
The hotel has a locked luggage room, where they let you store your bags after check-out. Many hotels let you do this, but often they tell you to put your bags somewhere near the reception. They may be there when you come back or they may not. In the Phoenix hotel you need someone to open the door for you or to give you the key, a much safer way for storage.
The hotel is just a few meters away from Whiteleys Shopping Mall, very convenient for last minute souvenirs.
- Reviews: 1425
Baden Powell House: It's a scout thing
for 30 quid we got an 8 bunk dorm to ourselves...I guess we were just lucky. it was clean and the security was excellent. There was a shower and loo in the dorm, and towels were also provided.
You have to eat breakfast with boy scouts. At least you don't have to cook it yourself over a camp fire whilst singing "Ging Gang Goolie". This is central London after all... there are regulations about these things!
- Reviews: 1776
Youth Hostel Association: Become a member of the YHA and pay less
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!
- Reviews: 614
Globetrotter Inn: Globetrotter Inn
For a long time now London has lacked a really great hostel. At last, this problem has been rectified. The Globetrotter is wonderful. From the sprawling, beautiful building and gardens to the amenities, it certainly can't get any better than this in London. And oh-so-clean. I asked the receptionist and she said that the bathrooms are cleaned five times a day. I can believe this-they sparkled. I stayed in a two person room, ensuite. The bathroom itself was larger than my entire room has been in most hostels.
Where do I start? The money cinema? The TV rooms? The concerige desk that booked my day tour to Canterbury and Leeds? The great Internet Cafe? The spacious kitchen? The individual curtains and reading lamps around the bunks? The GYM? The bar? The pleasant, soothing atmosphere? The grocery store? THIS is the way a hostel is supposed to be. Also, if you cut through the park to King Street there are loads of ethnic restaurants that are great values for your money. You can have your pick of Chinese, Persian, Polish, Japanese, continental, and Thai.
- Reviews: 75
Thistle Lancaster Gate: Great Location
When I arrived at the Thistle Lancaster, the staff were very personable and friendly. I discovered they did not accept my type of credit card, but they allowed me to have "hotel credit" and worry about paying at the end of my stay.
The staff were fabulous! They assisted me as much as they could, and were happy to do so. They even made it a point to learn my name. The concierge was wonderful and friendly.
The room I stayed in was aged, and could've used an update, but it was still comfortable and nice in presentation.
Room service was exceptional. They were always very fast, and the food was delicious (the french fries were the BEST)
They were very on top of things at this hotel and made sure I enjoyed my stay.
I do recommend this hotel, and I found that if you are nice to the staff, they are more than willing to accomodate you and serve you as best they can.
This hotel is located on Bayswater Rd. right across the street from Hyde Park. If you manage to get a room with a park view, on a clear night you can see the London sky-line. The closest tube station is Queensway, the walk to and from there wasn't as painful and boring as the walk to the Lancaster Gate tube station. Also, at the queensway station, there are shops, so you can get groceries and souvenirs when returning to the hotel.
This hotel is located on the central line tube, which will take you to most of the major sights without ever having to change your train.
Also, the hotel is really close to the famous Notting Hill neighborhood, which is quite nice.
- Reviews: 2923
St Katherine's Dock: Cheapest place to stay in London....in Luxury
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.
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