We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

A couple questions about where to stay...

Saint Louis...
10 posts
Save Topic
A couple questions about where to stay...


This is my first post in the London forum. I've been reading a lot of this forum lately and the information I've found has been really great. Everyone seems to be so knowlegable and happy to help.

I'm going to start off by saying this will be my first trip to London (my first trip to Europe as well) and I'm still trying to figure out all the different neighborhoods and transportation options around the city. The ones traveling on this trip would be me (23 years old) and my aunt (in her 50s). We're looking to travel in either April/May or September/October of 2011. I haven't really found one part of town that we really want to stay in and it seems that the stuff we want to see is spread around quite a bit so there wouldn't really be a 'central' area for us. I just want to make sure we stay in a safe part of town that we would be comfortable walking around in at night. I heard Rick Steves mention in a podcast that Brixton isn't the safest at night and wasn't really sure if that was reliable. My aunt is very into museums and I'm sure we're going to try and visit the big ones and I'm interested in seeing things like The Tower of London. I'm trying to find somewhere for us to stay that isn't a 'chain' hotel and my aunt would prefer somewhere like a B&B although I understand with the budget a chain might have to be our option.

We are looking to spend about 100 GBP a night. The length of the stay isn't fully set yet so we might end up considering an apartment (I'm hoping for at least 7 days in London). Does anyone know if Alastair Sawday's Special Places to Stay is reliable? I've found a couple on there I like. Also has anyone used The Bed And Breakfast Club? These are the places I've found so far that seem to fit our budget and what I think is their closest tube station incase that helps to find a good location. Sorry in advance that there are quite a few!

-Kennington B&B (Kennington Station)

-Holland Park House (Holland Park Station)

-Gate Hotel (Notting Hill Gate Station)

-Arosfa Hotel (Euston/Russel Square Station)

-108 Streathbourne Rd (Balham Station)

-69TheGrove (Vauxhall Station)

-Lime Tree Hotel (Sloane/Victoria Station - a little above the budget)

-Captain Bligh House (Lambeth North Station)

-Barclay House (Fulham Broadway station)

-No 49 @ Kensington (Kensington Station)

-The Ville's B&B (Parsons Green Station)

-Telford Park B&B (Balham Station)

-26 Hillgate Place (Notting Hill Gate Station)

-Temple Lodge Club (Hammersmith station)

-90 Old Church St (not sure about underground - located in Chelsea SW3 6EP)

-At Home Inn Chelsea (Earls Court station)

-31 Rowan Rd (Hammersmith Station)

I'm just trying to find out if anyone has any experience at any of those places or knows anything about them. We don't want to have a long commute into the main part of London, but are also comfortable staying somewhat far out (about 15-20 minutes possibly).

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer! I'm looking forward to some responses.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
57,072 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

I wonder when the estimable Mr Steves was last in Brixton?

£100 a night is a reasonable budget for a room for two; you could book a room in a Premier Inn (yes, they're chain properties but very nice hotels they are for all that) or a bed and breakfast type option that has a bit more local colour or feel to it.

Short stay flats usually book from seven days although properties such as base2stay, Aston's Apartments and Citadines offer rates per night. Sawday's selections are usually reliable as well.

The list of properties you provide has a fair number that are away from the city centre, with the Arosfa Hotel in Gower Street the most central (and a favourite of mine; note that there is no lift in the building).

Balham, Vauxhall, Kennington and Lambeth North aren't my patch of London so I'll leave consideration of those to others. Number 49 Kensington is located off Kensington High Street, not really near the station but with very good bus connections instead. Old Church Street is nearer World's End than Sloane Square, but again there are plenty of buses travelling along the King's Road.

Have a look at www.athomeinlondon.co.uk which may have B&B options that are a bit more central and may appeal.

Level Contributor
17,580 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

I've stayed in the Crescent Hotel in Cartwright Gardens several times and been happy with it. I have posted 2 reviews on it. It is near Russell Square, Kings Cross/St Pancras, and Euston tube stations (5-10 min walk). Their website www.crescenthoteloflondon.com quotes £105/night, but I think they gave us a discount for staying 7 nights or longer. I've stayed there alone and with my daughter (10-12 y/o) and walked around at night and never felt unsafe. It includes breakfast. It does not have an elevator either, but if you have problems with stairs, I have found them to be very responsive to requests by email.

Of the ones you mentioned, I believe I've seen good reviews of the Lime Tree Hotel and definitely the Arofsa on here, but haven't stayed with them. I don't know anything about Brixton, but I've never felt unsafe visiting any of the places I've been in London.

If you have problems with stairs, there are a lot of them in the tube.

Level Contributor
537 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

I'll comment on the Notting Hill ones: Holland Park House is too far away and Hillgate Place is nice if you like staying in someone's private home (they have been rentig out for a long time and are reliable). Gate Hotel has small rooms and slightly dated but cheerful; it's situated across the road from Hillgate Place, right on Portobello Road with its restaurants and pubs, and cinemas near by, and of course there's the Market on Friday and Saturday. I find the area very *young and lively. You'd have to take a short tube ride back and forth, not bad at all. Look at 202 Apartments in Notting Hill (in your budget, you have to prepay).

Russell Square is good because you can walk to a lot of sites. Personally I would pick Notting Hill or Russell Square and definitely not Kennington, Earls Court or Fulham Broadway. Can't recommend an apartment in Russell Square, but after years of hopping around London hotels I am convinced apartments are a better way to go.

Tracy, California
Level Contributor
245 posts
568 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

I do not think you can go wrong staying on Gower St., near the British Museum. The bus service runs right there, things are close for a walk and because there are so many university students I feel it is safe. A quick search of "B and B's Gower St., London" should give you many from which to choose. Get an Oyster Card and away you go. Use this site, but do not over think your trip. The surprises are the best parts. By the way, after you have been to London there is a still a question (on the part of the English) if you will have been to Europe.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
2,930 posts
80 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

>> I just want to make sure we stay in a safe part of town that we would be comfortable walking around in at night. <<

You're quite right in thinking there's no such thing as "central London." But you don't want to be too far out of the center. Most of the places you mentioned are outside the center. By the center, I mean places that are easily accessible by walking or by public transport.

You mentioned the Arosfa. Be sure to get a room that does not face noisy Gower Street.

We're staying at the Crescent in late September - early October.

I can't think of a place that's unsafe to walk at night.

-- Steve

Level Contributor
3,773 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

AS TP implies, Rick Steves isn't the greatest for accuracy in London for accommodation and his recommendations have always echo'd superficial research and experience.

Many of the B&B's you list are south of the river in areas that 15 years or so ago might have come with a safety warning for visitors . Today much of the area is gentrified and markedly different all together.

Your 100 GBP budget is in the 3 star hotel, quality B&B area so for your budget I would look for options more central.

Also researching prices now might not be indicative. At this moment London's hotels are heaving with rates that have increased in many hotels by about 20% since April.

In the UK we're going to go through very large public spending cuts in the next few months with lots of redundancies, increases in VAT tax in January and pressures on travel budgets (London at the end of the day is a business market for hotels). I'd leave it until November/December before looking at prices.

If you're looking for a quality B&B where you get personal attention within your budget I'd retain the Arosfa in your list, the neighbouring Euro Hotel plus the Darlington Hyde Park in Paddington and Luna & Simone in Victoria.

Slightly below that you should get a mid range hotel, the Premier Inn chain probably being the best benchmark. No doubt the chains especially will be doing promotions over the winter like last in these economically challenging times. Last winter if you monitored them for promotions you would have picked up the Premier inn Kensington for 49 GBP, even Hilton were doing rooms in April/May for around 100 GBP.

The Holiday Inn Express Swiss Cottage is a good check as well, they routinely have advance purchase rates at 85 GBP including breakfast.

The VAT tax levied on all hotels (and virtually everything else you buy) goes up 2.5% in January 2011 from 17.5% to 20%.

Saint Louis...
10 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

TP – I’m not sure when the podcast is from, but I think the reason Rick Steves mentioned Brixton is because he said it was the only place in all his travels that he had ever been mugged. It could have been a couple years ago and I’m sure things have changed. I’ve looked at the Premier Inn and I’m pretty sure my aunt would rather spend extra money if she absolutely had to then stay in a chain. We both want to experience as much as we can just with daily life and that’s why I would prefer a bed and breakfast. Stairs are not an issue for either of us so I will keep Arosfa on the list. As long as the commute into ‘central’ London isn’t more than 20-25 minutes and the accommodation is close to a tube station I would be okay staying a bit farther out. Do you know if any of those locations are located outside zone 1 or 2? Thanks for your insight – I always enjoy reading your responses to questions. I’ve picked up on quite a lot just from reading these forums (I think!). 

Handfordr – thanks for your input also, especially about the VAT increase and possible changes in prices. Right now I’m just trying to get a decent list for my aunt to look through and see what our options are. We won’t seriously look at booking until later this year or early next year (depending on when we decide to go).

I do have a general (probably stupid) question – if we each purchase a 7-day travel card, does that give us unlimited tube rides in zones 1 and 2 without having to re-fill or anything? And is there any sort of cap on how many rides we can take each day? Thanks so much for the help everyone!

Bucks, UK
Level Contributor
4,565 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

Gower street is in central London and is in zone 1. London doesn't really have one "centre" - it has spread over many centuries from its original heart of the City of London (from Aldgate in the East to Aldwych in the West) to encompass Westminster, Southwark, Kensington and parts of Camden; all of these places would be in most people's definitions of "central London" even though the distance from one end to the other is 5-6 miles; you will therefore find many, many attractions dotted all over this area; the good news is that a combination of Tube, buses and taxis (taxis are not essential but can sometimes save time and aching feet) make it v.easy to get around.

Here is an explanation of what a travelcard is -


Redlands, California
Level Contributor
5,779 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

The Lime Tree is worth considering even if it is at the top of your budget. I like the area very much although it is not "absolutely" central. Its a fairly quiet street and perfectly safe at all hours. I have stayed several times at the "B&B Belgravia" just down the street which is also worth a look. It is also a bit over your budget but I agree that you should plan on staying in a nicer, more central area. In the context of your entire trip an extra 5 or 10 pounds a night isn't going to make much difference and you'll enjoy having places of interest and nice restaurants within walking distance. For example, in June I could have dinner near my hotel, then stroll down to Parliament Square to take pictures of the buildings all lit up--priceless!

Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
42,579 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: A couple questions about where to stay...

"if we each purchase a 7-day travel card, does that give us unlimited tube rides in zones 1 and 2 without having to re-fill or anything?"

Indeed it does. You will only need to add some Pay As You Go if you plan to travel outside those two central zones.

For more about neighbourhoods you could, if you haven't already, look at these useful travel articles - tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186338-c50605/London…


Still have questions?
Post your own question so other travellers can help.
Ask a question