Rollin', rollin', rollin' on a suitcase.
June 2, 2008 2:33 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for two very specific things regarding my one-night layover in London this Wednesday/Thursday and my insanely heavy rolling suitcase.

1) A hostel with a lift/elevator (or all on one level!). I will have a huge rolling suitcase full of a year's worth of stuff and would prefer to not throw out my back hauling it up stairs.

Budget: £20-25 (less is fine); Zone 1 preferable, near Paddington Station or a Piccadilly Line station (with a lift/escalators!) perfect.

2) The path of least resistance (fewer/no stairs, more lifts/escalators!) to this hostel from Gatwick on Wednesday evening, and from this hostel to Heathrow T5 on a Thursday morning (my flight departs at 12:50, so I won't have to deal with an early morning scrum, hopefully). I'm happy to take buses/coaches, the Tube, overground trains, whatever, as long as I'm not paying, say, £10 more than I would or some alternate transport.
posted by mdonley to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total)
Best answer: When you put a route into Journey Planner, it will tell you if your route involves stairs. You'll be able to tell from a new tube map if the station you pick is wheelchair (and hence heavy-luggage) accessible.

Gatwick Airport station has a lift. Get a train to Victoria (don't bother with the Gatwick Express), and from the platform it's no steps or slopes from the train to the street.

Many of London's hostels are in the Earl's Court area, and as you can see, that station has sufficient lifts. Victoria tube station, unfortunately, doesn't.
posted by randomination at 3:54 AM on June 2, 2008

Best answer: (oh and Earl's Court -> T5 on the tube is also stairs free)
posted by randomination at 3:56 AM on June 2, 2008

A cautionary note: my sister-in-law, with her heavy bag, was refused use of a lift at a tube station because she wasn't "disabled", although that was 5 or 6 years ago, and probably had more to do with the particular jobsworth she came across than official policy.

Perhaps someone could comment on whether lifts indicated on the tube map are general access or not.
posted by manyon at 4:12 AM on June 2, 2008

What I do in that situation is leave my bags at a left luggage station in the airport and only take what I need for the night. Makes life a lot less stressful.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:48 AM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sorry, I should've given you this link for left luggage at train stations since you're switching airports.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:50 AM on June 2, 2008

Best answer: If it were me I'd stick to YHA (Youth Hostels Association) hostels, but I'm perhaps over-cautious. There's one at Earl's Court, which is on the Piccadilly line (and I think has lifts). Link here.

Allow an hour to get the Piccadilly line to Heathrow. It costs around £3. The Heathrow Express goes from Paddington, nice and quick but around 5 times the price.

If there are any difficulties about lifts, you might want to ask if there are any stairs or if it is escalator-only down to the platforms - stairs are hellish, but escalators manageable (just) with a big suitcase.
posted by altolinguistic at 5:07 AM on June 2, 2008

Response by poster: Miss Lynnster, that is an excellent idea. Sorted!
posted by mdonley at 5:08 AM on June 2, 2008

The Heathrow Express goes from Paddington, nice and quick but around 5 times the price.

It's only "nice and quick" if you're already near Paddington. Going back into central London from Earl's Court, and then waiting for the next Heathrow Express could even take longer than the Piccadilly Line straight to T5.

I'm not sure where you think you are leaving your luggage, although they have an Earl's Court office which may be convenient if you stay there. Last time I checked it was £6 per bag.
posted by grouse at 6:14 AM on June 2, 2008

No need for the hostility, grouse - I was including it more as an option for mdonley to rule out than anything else (based on his price specifications).
posted by altolinguistic at 7:02 AM on June 2, 2008

There was no hostility intended.
posted by grouse at 7:09 AM on June 2, 2008

Beware, the Victoria/Picadilly crossover involves a long walk and stairs, from experience I can say its best avoided. Victoria to District/Circle is easier and what is not obvious form a tube map is that when stops along the Picadilly line are shared with the District line the two are often just a few steps across a platform from one another.
posted by tallus at 8:13 AM on June 2, 2008

The cross-platform transfers between District and Piccadilly are at Barons Court, Hammersmith, and Acton Town.

You might want to consider taking a bus for transport in central London—there are accessible buses on all routes.
posted by grouse at 8:26 AM on June 2, 2008

The C1 goes from Victoria station to Earls Court.
posted by randomination at 8:59 AM on June 2, 2008

(that's a bus, by the way)

You could also stay in the Easy Hotel in Earls Court, which is £25+ night. But you have to like the colour orange. I don't know if you'd be able to get your massive suitcase in there though, but if you can't at least there's the left luggage at EC.
posted by randomination at 9:06 AM on June 2, 2008

Like others I've gone the left Luggage route when in this situation (at Kings Cross, rather than the airport) and it worked pretty well.

(I was quite pleased with the solution at the time - left luggage was something I vaguely remembered hearing of in French Lessons)
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on June 2, 2008

Just keep in mind when you leave your luggage that they charge you PER bag. I had two daypacks that zipped together and since I didn't have them attached together before I walked up, the jerk at left luggage in De Gaulle charged me for 2 bags even though once I had my things organized I really only checked one big connected bag. Since he'd seen me zip & unzip, he said, "They are supposed to be two. You are charged for two" however he would never have said that if he hadn't ever seen them apart. So now I know to have my bags all condensed, sorted out and ready to check in before ever walking within view of the left luggage counter.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:04 PM on June 2, 2008

Best answer: Follow-up for anyone in this situation in the future:

- Southern train from Gatwick to West Brompton (thus avoiding both a transfer at Victoria Station and stairs, according to the TfL Journey Planner!)

- Walk to the YHA hostel in Earl's Court (which has a lift and luggage storage and is less than £20!)

- Walk to (lift-and-escalator-enabled) Earl's Court Tube the next morning for a Piccadilly Line train to Heathrow T5

Thanks everyone!
posted by mdonley at 12:55 AM on June 3, 2008

Well done. Keep in mind that the service that stops at West Brompton only runs once an hour.
posted by grouse at 1:47 AM on June 3, 2008

Yay! Glad we helped.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:52 AM on June 3, 2008

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