London Lodging
August 3, 2011 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Where should I stay on my (reasonably priced) honeymoon in London?

It's a pretty straightforward question - we will be in London in October and need somewhere to stay for ca. 5 nights.

I'd like to get thoughts about

1 - what areas should we consider staying in? We'd like to be as centrally located as possible and prefer walking when possible.

2 - names of specific hotels that you can recommend that are pleasant but less than about 150 pounds per night?

I know this question has been asked before, but to the best of my searching, the last time was in 2008, so I would imagine things might have changed a bit?

As a further note, I know about the VRBO, airbnb, etc, but for this trip we would prefer to stay at an actual hotel.
posted by annie o to Travel & Transportation around London, England (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You really didn't post enough information here. What are you planning on doing/seeing in london while you are there. What type of people are you- do you like to get outside and do stuff, or are you "stay at home" type of people. Do you like good restaurants, or are you going to be in the pubs every night.
posted by TheBones at 6:57 PM on August 3, 2011

Response by poster: Frankly we don't exactly know what we're doing. We like to go do things, we like museums and monuments in moderation, we like parks, we like hip urban places to just explore - interesting shops, restaurants, the kind of thing. We would like to be around good, inexpensive-but-nice-atmosphere restaurants and pubs. We really don't like pretentious or overly tourist-y things. We'd most like to experience London as someone who lives there in a really convenient to everything flat exploring their own city, if that makes any sense.

Importantly, we don't need a big or fancy room - just a reasonably comfortable bed, no six-legged roommates, and a bathroom.
posted by annie o at 7:05 PM on August 3, 2011

I did well (while visiting) at the Hampstead Brittania in Primrose Hill. It's cheaper than what you ask for, nice, close to the Tube but still in a quiet area, and next to Regents Park. Nice for walks, but not a noisy mess like staying in the center.

You can walk to Hampstead, Camden Town, etc. with a minimum of inconvenience.
posted by zvs at 7:56 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

The hotel rooms I've seen in Central London are all tiny and expensive. My first instinct would be to bid for a room on Priceline's name-your-own-price section. It looks like people have been getting some steals in the London forum on Bidding For Travel. If you want to be in the center, Westminster, Mayfair - Soho, and Bloomsbury - Marble Arch areas are probably best. I'd probably avoid Hammersmith, Docklands, The City - London Bridge, Kew Gardens - Twickenham - Richmond, or Wembley.

I stayed at the Regent's Park Holiday Inn in 2008 or so, and it was clean and cheap (looks like it runs about GBP 83/night right now). That is the only personal recommendation I can make.
posted by grouse at 8:05 PM on August 3, 2011

"(reasonably priced)" and anything wedding/honeymoon oriented are mutually exclusive terms. Any ballpark figures would help people give better recommendations.
posted by carlh at 8:24 PM on August 3, 2011

Any ballpark figures would help people give better recommendations.

She said less than GBP 150/night.
posted by grouse at 8:29 PM on August 3, 2011

I've lived in Elephant & Castle and Islington, both central and well connected. I wouldn't suggest you go all the way to Elephant, but somewhere around Borough Market would be a nice, vibrant neighbourhood, on the South Bank and with bus or tube access* to everywhere else. Can't think of any specific hotels though - there is like a Quality Inn or Holiday Inn or something on Tower Bridge Road but that's a bit of dead zone and also a hike away from Borough (although not far from Bank station, across the bridge).
Islington is a very nice area (around Angel Station specifically; it's a big borough and has its dodgy or more likely just boring bits) and has great access to north London from Hoxton, Mile End and beyond(E) to Camden & Regent's Park(W), via bus or tube or, ideally along Regent's Canal which has a very nice path. Maybe you can find a place to rent bikes- London is very bikeable. Again though, I can't name a specific hotel but there must be *something* around Angel Station. When I think of hotels in London, they seem to be clustered south of Hyde Park, where a lot of the major tourist attractions are but that area is a bit on the staid and dull side, certainly after dark.
Third idea, which just occurred to me - Bloomsbury or Tottenham Court Road - very dense and central (Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Soho, British Museum...basically 'downtown'), probably all sorts of hotels within your price range, and a confluence of all manner of tube and bus lines.
Anyway, some ideas based on my knowledge of the city. I think you'll be happy just about anywhere in Zone 1, there's sure to be a lot within your budget, and it's a very easy place to get around. I've found it to be more like a big collection of towns than a 'city' as a North American might know it - surprisingly quiet and mellow.

*you should probably get Oyster Cards for travel - for a week they'll pay for themselves. Don't ignore the buses. The routes are comprehensive, they're cheap, service is frequent, you get a great view and a sense of where you are in the city, and while it might be a bit slower the fact that you don't have to trudge all the way down to the platform and up again can compensate. Also there are night buses which will be key if you really are going to get out and have fun at night
posted by Flashman at 8:47 PM on August 3, 2011

Oyster Cards pay for themselves on the second Tube journey. Also, make sure you have a good map of London (I used to prefer the Bensons MapGuide maps)—you will get a completely different and much better experience than if you rely on the geographically inaccurate and sparse Tube map like too many tourists.
posted by grouse at 8:53 PM on August 3, 2011

Best answer: I think Bloomsbury/Oxford Street/Tottenham Court Road, or maybe Holborn, might work for you. They're not as packed with touristy stuff as some other areas in central London, but you can easily walk from there to a lot of the sights in the City and you'd have good transport access to places further west. They're also close to the big parks (Hyde and Regent's) and both, particularly Bloomsbury, have their fair share of nice squares and green areas. I spent a lot of time in both areas when I was in London for six months, and you definitely saw fewer tourists and more people going about their days.

A little googling turned up this chains of hotels in Bloomsbury, all of which are comfortably in your price range. I walked past a few of them all the time, and they seemed nice if not at all fancy from the pavement :).
posted by MadamM at 10:05 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Hoxton Hotel is great. I stayed there last year and it was a total bargain [well under 100 pounds]. It's stylish, with custom bedding, awesome bathrooms, funky bar etc so it makes the honeymoon aspect come alive, and it's close to hip parts of London - markets, design stores, quirky shops etc. Yet still easily walkable/tube-able to the tourist sites and bars.

The other hotel I would recommend if you can get online and secure a bargain [to get in under budget] is The Zetter. It's got a groove and is in a great area - Clerkenwell. The hotel is situated on one of the old Roman wells and they bottle their own pure water, plus loads of other sustainable initiatives. And all around the area is studios, discovery shops, eateries, graffiti art etc. You can find some great up n coming boutique hotels in hip East London and elsewhere that will meet your budget. And I think it is one of the best areas to walk around in London. [Go to the John Soanes Museum, my favourite.]

Check out sites like My Boutique Hotel a few times and grab a deal. The Design Hotels site is good too - I've been in a few hotels and they are fantastic value and give a boutique sense of luxury.
posted by honey-barbara at 10:06 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I did a museum & famous-stuff style trip to London a couple of years ago. I found that we spent most of our time in either Westminster or the old City - the only time we went south of the river was when we went to Greenwich (and we took the boat there - best way to visit a maritime museum).

We were staying in a hostel in Soho, just off Oxford street - this was great, because it was within walking distance to the British Museum, Trafalger Square, etc, and well connected for the tube lines. Another really great central location would be near King's Cross-St Pancras train stations -- great tube connections, right beside the British Library (check out the free exhibits), a 20 min walk to Bloomsbury and the British library, short tube journeys (no switches?) to the Westminster Abbey, St Pauls, the Tower of London. There are many nice modest and some scuzzy hotels in this area; if you're going between July and October, student accommodation is available (not fancy but clean).

I don't have specific hotel recomendations, as I'm a hostel fan myself (having a kitchen is a big plus - esp in the UK where eating out is twice as expensive as North America). Next time I go to London, I'm planning to stay either in student accommodation or the St. Pancras YHA Hostel, which has recently been renovated and has free wireless.

But my general recommendation is to stay a short distance to the west and/or north of the old City of London - most museums and sights are either in the City (Tower of London, St Pauls, Museum of London - which is great) or Westminster (Parliament, the Abbey, British Museum, National Art Gallery, Buckingham Palace) or further west in Kensington (Victoria and Albert Museum - awesome place, Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park). The pretty stuff in London is generally west - because that's where the rich lived (upriver and upwind of the City).

Also, I would second, third, fourth and nth the suggestion that you get Oyster cards. They are awesome. You can go pay-as-you-go and if you spend more than a day-pass would have been they convert automatically to that pass and stop charging for further rides. But if you're seriously sight-seeing, it's worth it to pay for the very reasonable weekly or 5-day pass -- London is about twice as large as it looks on a map, and you don't want to get museum foot before you even get to the museum (as I have). Having a pass means you'll feel free to hop on and off buses and the tube.

Oh, and they still have some old-fashioned London double-decker buses (the Routemasters - the ones that load at the back) going between St Paul's and Trafalger Square, just so that tourists like me can fufil our Paddington Bear fantasies. In addition to patting the Pattington Bear statue at Paddington Station, of course.
posted by jb at 11:12 PM on August 3, 2011

Wherever you go, check it out on Trip Advisor first. It should help you avoid any real fleapits.

Honey-barbara's ideas area great. You might also consider staying in Chelsea or Notting Hill.
posted by NoiselessPenguin at 11:14 PM on August 3, 2011

The City itself is a great place to stay. This is the true heart of London.

and while there, one of the absolutely best things to do is one of the London Walks walking-tours. I did the Secret London tour, and learned so much that I hadn't already through 6+ years of studying British history.
posted by jb at 11:21 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stay here:La Gaffe. It's basic but charming in a 1950's sort of way, and the staff are extremely friendly and will probably treat you like royalty if they know you're honeymooning. The restaurant attached to the hotel isn't all that great (though I love the kitsch art deco-by-way-of-the-1960's decor) but one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in the world is right down the street - Jin Kichi.

Hampstead is beautiful and safe and you can take romantic walks in Hampstead Heath, but you're 5-10 minutes away from Central London by tube.

Three things you must do:
-eat your way around Borough Market (fresh oysters, duck rillettes baguette with french mustard and rocket, whatever free food the demonstration chef is cooking up, and of course endless cheese samples).
-Go to the British Library - they always have cool exhibits on (right now I think it's about Science Fiction) and the amazing tower of books in the centre is gorgeous.
-If it's not too cold outside, catch a Shakespeare play at the recreated Globe Theatre. If you have a choice, go for one of the shorter comedies rather than the endless tragedies - it's super, super fun but it's not the most comfortable seating in the world.
posted by cilantro at 1:55 AM on August 4, 2011

Eeek, forgot to mention this fabulousness: 40 Winks. I am going to try to get a room here as it is just divine. Prices are insane: 95 for one room, 140 for larger room in a Queen Anne townhouse that David Carter [legendary interior designer] decorated. It's used in design n fashion mags all over the world. I'm kinda hesitant to put it here as I want to keep this secret to myself; I must get in when I'm in London in September!
posted by honey-barbara at 3:29 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

The accommodation block where I work does not have full hotel status so it works out very reasonable. I think within your budget.

Nuffield Accommodation at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (0207 869 6700) is as central as you could want, but they don't have room service, the bar only opens 5-11, and the wi-fi can be weak but there's a computer in the bar you can use and the wi-fi there is excellent.

I think it would make for a very different experience and I'd be delighted to show you around the incredible Museum!
posted by Wilder at 5:37 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The other hotel I would recommend if you can get online and secure a bargain [to get in under budget] is The Zetter. It's got a groove and is in a great area - Clerkenwell.

Seconding the Zetter. If you call them they may be able to make a deal. It's a great hotel in a great area.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:57 PM on August 4, 2011

Seconding the Hoxton Hotel. I've not stayed there myself, but three separate friends have and all loved it.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:21 PM on August 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all - via the suggestions here (particularly about neighborhoods) and some older threads I dug up I've booked a place in London, hopefully it will turn out to be good!
posted by annie o at 11:03 AM on August 7, 2011

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