Need some some help finding a short-term apartment (or hotel) in London.
March 25, 2015 5:45 AM   Subscribe

My wife and thirteen year old son are making a last-minute trip to London in roughly three weeks and I need some help understanding the area and suggestions for where to find lodging.

Relevant details, I don't know the city at all, but here is what I can say:
  • My wife will be working part of the time. She's working in the Mayfair area (the tube stop she uses is Oxford Circus). So it would be nice for her to either be within walking distance or 10-15 minute subway ride.
  • We're leaning toward an AirBnB apartment at the moment. Don't really want to book two rooms at a hotel, but if there were a hotel suite that could accommodate all three of us, would be open to that.
  • Budget is $300/night max, is that dreaming?.
  • Whereever we stay it would be nice to not be in the middle of nowhere or at least conveniently located next to the tube for access to tourist sites.
posted by jeremias to Travel & Transportation around London, England (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I rented an apartment from Central London Apartments for three nights in 2010 and I was happy with the quality of the apartment and with the service. It cost £603 in total (including VAT and service charges). I was in Camden Town, but they have locations all over London, so you may be able to find something cheaper than that.
posted by neushoorn at 6:10 AM on March 25, 2015

Mayfair is insanely expensive, you won't get a cheap AirBnB place there. Soho will also be very expensive, plus noisy. You might find somewhere in Fitzrovia/Holborn (north and east of Oxford Street), and those areas are quieter.

If you're happy to get on the tube, I would look around Highbury and Islington (north on Victoria line), Camden town (on Northern line but really pretty close) and Maida Vale/Little Venice (north on Bakerloo line). Those areas are pretty nice areas to stay, and the commute will be pretty short. Pimlico would also be ok but it's a bit dull.
posted by tinkletown at 6:22 AM on March 25, 2015

As well as the suggestions above, I would suggest you could go as far out on the Victoria line as Finsbury Park and still be within a 15min tube ride to Oxford Circus. I live in Finny P; some areas are very shabby but some streets are lovely. You'll definitely find something cheaper than Mayfair, maybe even a townhouse - but might be a ten minute walk from the station.

Otherwise I would look west - Holland Park, Queensway, Shepherds Bush are nice, reasonably-priced areas to live and all on the Central line.

As with every city, the further out of Zone One you travel the more you get for your money - but also the more diverse (ie run down) the neighbourhoods. Street View is an invaluable tool to assess what you're getting before you rent.
posted by citands at 7:04 AM on March 25, 2015

I am not a Londoner but I recently stayed in a very inexpensive AirBnB place there which I mostly liked and is just on the outside of what you're looking at. It's a two-bedroom place, full kitchen, about a 5-10 minute walk from the Jubilee line which is 15 minutes to the Bond Street station so depending where she needs to be relative to Oxford Circus it might be a win. It is sort of "middle of nowhere" meaning that there's no touristy stuff there, but there was a nice park, shops and restaurants and you can get on the tube or the aboveground from there. Lots of bus service. Otherwise, I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable most of the places I looked at were once you got away from the really central areas. You should be able to find a nice small two bedroom easily within your price range. If you're looking out towards the west part of the city, pay attention to reviews about airplane noise if you care about that sort of thing. We ruled out a few nice looking places in Chelsea because they were in the Heathrow landing path.
posted by jessamyn at 7:47 AM on March 25, 2015

Have a street view around South Kensington. It's 3 stops on the Piccadilly line to Green Park (the south end of Mayfair), and a lovely and very wealthy part of London. Plus you've got the Science, Natural History and V&A museums, Harrods, The Albert Hall, Hyde Park and all manner of stuff to do with the son within 5 minutes walk. If he likes cars, then every other one is a Lamborghini.

A quick glance of AirBnB definitely brings some places up within your budget.
posted by derbs at 12:51 PM on March 25, 2015

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