Temporary Lodging in London
September 7, 2004 11:32 AM   Subscribe

My 23 year-old brother is moving to London for a couple of years (European citizen, so no work permit issues). He will have very little money when he gets there, so he is looking for affordable lodging. When I did the same thing 10 years ago, I stayed at a hostel for a couple of months until I had a steady income, had enough money for a deposit, and found roommates for a flat. Would you concur that this is the best option, and if so, do you have any hostels to recommend? Mine was in Holland Park and I liked it, but I can't remember the name or anything about it. I'd also appreciate hearing any alternate suggestions for inexpensive housing in London. Thank you very much for your help!
posted by widdershins to Travel & Transportation around London, England (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
when i was hotel-hunting for my trip there, i came across this: Generator (it may be too much of a party place tho). Otherwise, don't all the Australians that come for a year stay in Earl's Court? He might want to search for places there, or look at Australian sites...
posted by amberglow at 11:42 AM on September 7, 2004

When I was in London last year, I stayed at the Ashlee House on Grays Inn Road for a few days. The number for the Holland Walk hostel is (020) 7937 0748 if you wanted to get some info about it, though (I think it is part of the Youth Hostels Association).
posted by RGD at 5:51 PM on September 7, 2004

I'm not sure that such a good idea. Last time I stayed in a London hostel, it was £15 (or so) per night. So, £15x30 is £450 / month. Plus the cost of eating is higher in such a place. You could get a studio flat (one room with bathroom to yourself) for about £500 (plus bills) in places like Archway, Cricklewood, Tooting, anywhere on the fringe of Zone 2/Zone 3. Getting the money for a deposit is, I guess, the hard part.

Best option, cash wise, is to move into someone else's flat. You can get a room in a flat somewhere in Zone 2 for between £300 - £400 per month, plus bills. Maybe even less. Check out Loot magazine (www.loot.com), or maybe even the London Craigs List (not sure how good that is).

Good luck to your brother, it's tough when you first get to London - even when you have a job lined up!
posted by ascullion at 11:45 PM on September 7, 2004

There are a lot of bars in London that offer free lodging to their staff; there are shared flats in the storeys about the bar itself, and (usually) the young folk who pull pints during the week live there for free, or at very little expense.

My sister did it for a few months this year (after quitting the lap dancing circuit...), and had a great time. I visited her a couple of times, and although the place wasn't as clean as it could be (which was the fault of the five or six people living there, really [my sister included]), it worked out at something like £2 a week in rent, which is about £50 a week less than I'm paying, and I'm in a student house in Wakefield, ffs.

Anyway, I've noticed a lot of jobs like this surfacing on Craisglist London and Gumtree. See also, the shared accomodation sections of those.

My sister worked in the Townhouse in Ealing, btw.
posted by armoured-ant at 3:34 AM on September 8, 2004

As far as hostels go, ditto the recommendation of Ashlee House, though i'm not sure if they offer weekly rates. Other options:

At the top end of the price spectrum, The St. Christopher's Inns are a chain of hostels/bars. I've stayed in the Village and Shepard's Bush locations. Clean, if a bit noisy at times due to the bars below.

Astor Hostels - I've stayed at the Hyde Park location. Slightly grottier than the St. Chris's, but they do offer weekly rates (or they did last time I stayed there. Not listed on their website, though.). definately the cheapest option, if you don't mind sleeping in a dorm of 18. Do not, repeat, do not confuse the Astor Hyde Park with the completely icky Hyde Park Inn hostel a few houses down the road.

Your brother might also try this new hostel booking portal if he wants to book online; users pay only a small booking fee and no commission. Avoid reserving through Hostelworld and its affiliates as prices tend to rise due to the commission they charge the hostels.
posted by romakimmy at 5:05 AM on September 8, 2004

Tbh, as Ascullion said, spending 15 quid a night means you're reaching average London rent levels anyway.

So, I'll second armoured-ant's suggestion of gumtree for shared accommodation, and also moveflat may be worth a look, although it tends to be average london proces (ie. not especially cheap).

Once he's in London, good places to look for rented accommodation are the aforementioned Loot and also the Guardian's fortnightly flatshare ads in the Guardian Guide (free with the Saturday edition).
posted by Skaramoosh at 5:52 AM on September 8, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks a lot!
posted by widdershins at 10:20 AM on September 8, 2004

People I know who need to be in London a few months a year stay in flat shares - some student travel websites let you search for hostels or flat-shares. The price is usually about the same as a hostel dorm, but you get your own room and it is much more comfortable.

I would not reccomend staying in a London hostel while trying to work. While they would be a lot of fun for a traveller who wants to meet people, hostels are usually full of young people on vacation and trying to have a good time - not very compatable with getting to bed early and getting enough sleep to be able to get up for work. (I tried a hostel while on a 4 day course - I had nice people in my room, but I missed a lot of sleep.)
posted by jb at 1:24 AM on September 19, 2004

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