How Do I Visit London Without Paying Through the Nose?
March 24, 2016 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning a three to six month stay in London, but hotel and guest house prices are heartbreaking in this city. Is there anywhere adjacent to London where I can lodge and still enjoy my visit?

This is specific to lodging, as I already have an idea of things to do once I get there.
posted by Cybria to Travel & Transportation around London, England (16 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked on gumtree for short-term rentals/sublets? Or maybe
posted by stillmoving at 7:36 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

The rail and underground (and even bus) links into the city are pretty great, and extend far into the surrounding towns/areas, if that helps. Zone 3-4+ on this map is pretty affordable, more so the further out you go.
posted by Drexen at 7:48 AM on March 24, 2016

In your position I'd look at AirBnB rather than hotels/hostels - if you don't mind a room in a shared house/flat you could get something for as little as £750/month, it looks like.
posted by altolinguistic at 7:56 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you really want to be in central London, you may want to look into university accommodation during your stay: you can make an enquiry about longer-term options on the University of London website here. If that option is too expensive, a short-term flat-share or rental may be your best bet. Unfortunately hotel accommodation in even zones 3-5 is pretty expensive if you are staying for months, and the commute from an area that isn't served by London Underground may also be super-expensive (train journeys are ridiculously expensive).
posted by Aravis76 at 8:01 AM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

sadly existing in london is ruinous generally, but for that length of time a short let is going to be a much better choice than 6 months of hotel.

It sort of depends on your plans, but London has got thousands of commuters coming in from all over.

Maybe look at Brighton, which is delightful (so I'm told) and close enough to let you commute daily if you need to.
P'raps try Welwyn Garden City, which is north of London but still about an hour to get there.

Here is a map of all places within 1.5 hours of London on a direct train

Here is another map which you could play with but needs a bit more input info.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:05 AM on March 24, 2016

What's your budget?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:41 AM on March 24, 2016

The Penn Club's rooms are relatively spartan but comfortable, and the club has a nice set of common areas. Their daily rates are among the best in central London, and they offer weekly and 4-weekly rates as well. I would contact them to ask about the rates for a longer-term stay. It is a short walk from the British Museum and not very far from Kings Cross and the British Library.
posted by brianogilvie at 8:47 AM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

A friend spent about 3-4 months in London. Initially in an airbnb and later in a short term rental. He stumbled across a demo-unit in a new building that was unrented and it worked well for both him and the landlord.
posted by Phredward at 9:24 AM on March 24, 2016

We stayed in Rainham, Kent last April, housesitting for a family friend. We often took the train to Victoria or King's Cross and it took less than an hour. So maybe somewhere in Kent isn't an bad option?
posted by Kitteh at 9:30 AM on March 24, 2016

If you're okay around pets, housesitting seems like a pretty good option. You can stay places for free in exchange for looking after a person's pets! It may involve periodic relocation and/or paid stints between gigs, but it seems like a pretty neat option. Good luck!
posted by helloimjennsco at 10:35 AM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

One summer I actually found it cheaper to stay in Oxford student housing and commute in to London off-peak by train than to rent in London. You may want to look along major rail lines into London.
posted by praemunire at 1:53 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you don't find especially cheap accomodation like student housing, check the train prices before you pick somewhere outside of London. It might work out cheaper but also might not. Even off peak tickets are about £20 return to close places like Oxford and Brighton. That's a lot to me as an Australian. We lived in Reading, it was a 30min trip to London Paddington but so expensive we hardly did it. We ended up buying a very cheap car, it was a few hundred pounds, then sold it for about the same when we left. We bought & sold easily through the local newspaper. We were there 9 months.
posted by stellathon at 5:27 PM on March 24, 2016

Have you checked
posted by terrapin at 4:13 PM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you looked at hostels? They trend young but there were always older folks about (40-60 was not terribly uncommon when I was on the circuit in early 2000s). It was good as a solo traveller because there were people to connect with. It takes a certain mindset and picking the right one for what you're after is vital.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 4:43 AM on March 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

And they're all 50 pounds a night. Jesus. Maybe rent a camper van and park on the sly? I'm sure parking is worse than lodging...
posted by the christopher hundreds at 4:52 AM on March 26, 2016

Airbnb in Camberwell should still be pretty affordable, as it's central-ish but only on the buses rather than the tube.
posted by mollymillions at 11:19 PM on March 26, 2016

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