Hotel or Hostel recommendations for London and Bath (both in England)
May 6, 2007 4:50 AM   Subscribe

Recommendation for a cheap self-catering hotels/hostels/b&bs/short-let apartments in London, UK and Bath?

I have been looking for cheap but still kind of nice places for myself, my husband and my mother to stay in when she comes to visit us in July. We plan to spend about 4-7 nights in London and about 3 nights in Bath. (The rest of the trip will be in Cambridge, where we live).

Our price range is £45-75 a night for 3 people - so about £15 to £25/ person/ night. (Obviously, cheaper is fine, but I didn't think too likely.)

I have been looking at both hostels (private rooms) and cheap hotels and short-stay apartments. We really like the self-catering aspect of most hostels, but we also prefer smaller places and family run establishments which tend to be quieter and nicer. We would definitely prefer a quiet and clean hotel to a large one, and we don't care about tv or games or laundry - the only amenity we are looking for is access to a kitchen or at the very least coffee and tea making. My mother's taste definitely runs more to lacy doilies and old fashioned buildings than to glass and modernism.

We're not afraid of taking the tube into the centre of town in London (since we will be tubing everywhere anyways), though in Bath we would like to be central.

I have a short-list developed for London (I have to start on Bath), but I would really like to hear about places where other people have stayed and can give personal recommendations about. And if there is anywhere you have stayed that was truely awful, I wouldn't mind hearing about that either.
posted by jb to Travel & Transportation around London, England (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: A quick correction: we are looking for places for 3 people to stay in London, but 4 people in Bath (a friend is coming as well). Obviously, our budget will be up to about £100/night then.
posted by jb at 5:01 AM on May 6, 2007

I went through the London short-term flat search a year or so ago. I don't remember any flats in your price range. But I do remember mention of renting rooms on college campuses. Here are a few:

London School of Economics

Queen Mary University review. Unsure of website to access rates. I'm sure it's out there somewhere

Good enough
posted by LoriFLA at 6:02 AM on May 6, 2007

Sorry, above should read Goodenough.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:12 AM on May 6, 2007

A couple years ago I stayed at the Guildhall School's Sundial Court (in London, near the Barbican) for a week in the summer. It was nearly ideal for me--clean, very quiet, self-catering.

Drawbacks: 1. The kitchen in the flat I was in was not very well equipped with pots, crockery, cutlery, utensils etc. But otherwise the kitchen was fine--appliances in good working order and all. 2. Whoever was working in the accommodations office at the time did not answer email, so I had to make arrangements via transatlantic phone calls, but this wouldn't be as big an inconvenience/expense for you.
posted by Orinda at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2007

Oops, sorry, I belatedly realized that the single room rate at Sundial Court is a bit over your budget (£31 per person per night). Never mind then.
posted by Orinda at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2007

Queen Mary website for "holiday accommodation". I tried a couple of sets of dates in July and they didn't seem to have rooms, but it's worth a try. The neighborhood isn't that exciting, but I found it safe, and Tube/bus access is great.
posted by lukemeister at 7:35 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

University of Westminster offers accommodation in London as well and it's about as centrally located as you could hope for. I couldn't find any rates posted for this summer, but it would well worth inquiring. I'm also not certain you'd have access to a kitchen.

If you haven't checked already, BookHostels has a pretty good selection of not only hostels, but smaller hotels as well. And if you do decide to go the hostel route, it'll let you book private rooms (but make sure to verify the total price before you book, sometimes it can get a little confusing).
posted by timelord at 3:52 AM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just checked the Uni Westminster page, they do offer self-catering options.
posted by timelord at 3:54 AM on May 7, 2007

Bath: Your prices are very tight for Bath: Try this:
They have a four bed mixed room. It is downtown, next to a pub and pretty nice but in no way cute. It is backpacker. The alternative is the YHA hostel; but that is up a steep hill about a mile out of town (but with great views from the hill opposite). If you choose YHA dont walk up, use the orange bendy bus to get there and walk down into town thru the fields. I would say 2 days is fine for Bath. Day 1 AM Take the free guided walk from infront of the Pump Rooms, and splash out on a trip to the Roman Baths (£12 but worth it). Day 2 Go to what you liked in day 1 then Stonehenge in the afternoon with (about £12). Cheap food would be buy stuff in M&S or Waitrose and make a picnic and walk to Alexandra Park. Go to Theater Royal around 11.30 for 12 and see if they have discounted tickets @£10. A lot of shows are pre-West end practice runs. Sit in the cheap seats and then move to expensive just before curtain up.
posted by priorpark17 at 5:56 AM on May 7, 2007

Response by poster: I've actually booked into the YHA hostel (they were getting booked up) and they are an excellent price (about £80/room for a quad with ensuite bathroom, and that includes the non-member surcharge). But thanks for the advice on the bus. We're spending so many days in Bath because we're museum people (there's a Museum of Costume my mum wants to see, as well as the pump rooms, Roman Baths, etc), and because we've already planned to do the full day Stonehenge and Avebury tour with Mad Max tours - and with the travelling, the first and last day are only 1/2 a day.
posted by jb at 6:56 AM on May 7, 2007

Never Used them: But have a look at this if you are museum people:
posted by priorpark17 at 2:31 AM on May 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That Heritage pass looks very interesting - thank you. I had used a similar pass in Paris (the Paris Museum pass - 60 euro for 6 days, and you miss all the ticket buying lineups - it was brilliant), but the "London pass" seemed over priced for what we wanted to do, considering that the best museums are all free. Unfortunately, the heritage pass doesn't seem to include the Tower of London (which is the most specific request for something to see that I've gotten out of my mother - she's so busy, she's not thinking about it). But I will definitely check it out.

We're still looking for London, but it's now just my mother and I, which is a bit easier than three. But I've remembered that self-catering is essential, because my mother is on a special diet, and won't be able to eat out.

I would definitely NOT recommend the London Hostel Association. They run some 8 or so hostels, but refuse to book any rooms until a week before you arrive! That, and they were pretty unprofessional/rude with me on the telephone when I asked about booking for July.
posted by jb at 3:25 AM on May 8, 2007

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