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Help Me Choose A Hotel in London & Ideas for 20 year old

My daughter and I will be travelling for 6 days to London the last week of September. She will be 20 when we land in London. I have narrowed down my hotel choices to two hotels. One of the main requirements is we both want our own bed. It's a must for us.

Hotel #1 is Lime Tree Hotel - Traditional RS hotel (was recommended is his book). We went on a RS tour of Paris several years ago and trust his judgment in hotels as we loved our hotel in Paris. Hotel #2 is The Principal Hotel - I know pure luxury w/out being The Savoy. I'm open to any other suggestions as well.

There are pros and cons to both with price being the main one. However, I'm not sure when my daughter and I will be able to take a trip like this together again and I'm willing to splurge a bit. On the flip, how much time will we really spend in the hotel room? I know it's a personal decision but I'm looking for reviews on both hotels. They are both highly rated on TripAdvisor,, etc. Oh, I also checked the Luna Simone and it was partially booked for our visit.

On a side note...….my daughter is beyond thrilled that her first "legal" purchase of alcohol will be in London. Any suggestions on a neat pub experience for her? Her only requests for this trip are (1) order a pint in a pub; (2) see the crown jewels; (3) visit a church and (4) shopping.

Posted by
14262 posts

I often stay at the Lime Tree.


-No AC which should not be a problem the end of Sept

-very small rooms so if there is a superior room spend the money for the bigger room

-no elevator


-Staff recognizes you after a day or so which is important for me as an old gal traveling on her own

-Just 1/2 a block from the National Express Coach station so easy to get to from Heathrow or a couple blocks from Victoria Station if you are coming in to Gatwick

-Plenty of pubs in the area. The closest is probably Thomas Cubitt which is a gastropub. I haven’t eaten there as I’m vegan and their vegan menu has never appealed. Lots of young people seem to go there.

-Walking distance, more or less, to Westminster Abbey for her Cathedral.

Not familiar with your others selection.

What a terrific trip!!

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the reply Pam! I heard back from Lime Tree Hotel and they don't have the superior room available. Only a room in the basement with twin beds or I could opt for a triple room on a higher floor. Decisions, Decisions. Thanks for the tip on the nearby pub as well!

Posted by
8647 posts

We stayed at the Lime Tree last year, and would stay again. I wouldn't call it luxury, but you're paying for the location. We loved the service, breakfast, etc. However, note what was said about no elevator. I counted 65 steps up to our room (misleadingly #21, I think). Its a very narrow old building which is part of the charm, but still, that got old after awhile. The pub next door is pretty nice as well.

Posted by
11368 posts

The Crown Jewels are in the. Tower of London and you can buy tickets in advance, online.

Posted by
3050 posts

Definitely go to a historic pub. My absolute favorite is Ye Olde Mitre, it's ramshackle and ancient yet quiet(ish) and untouristed. They also have bar snacks like Scotch eggs, and they have cider on tap, which may be more to her preference than beer.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese IS touristy, but it has a lot of history (Dickens, etc). And I believe it claims to be the oldest pub in London.

Posted by
14262 posts

Unfortunately the Ebury Wine Bar next door has closed!! The space appeared to be being reno’d when I was there mid-May but I’m not sure what’s going in (and forgot to ask the girls at the desk).

Posted by
27 posts

I took my daughter, age 15 to Italy and London over Christmas break. We stayed at Premier Inn. Which was fine for us. One of the best things we did was a walking tour: Shoreditch Street Art Tours. It was easy to get to by tube, and we both really enjoyed it. Some of my best photos from vacation.

Posted by
2499 posts

I stayed at the Lime Tree Hotel last Sept. and agree with Pam. I liked my room, a single, small, but the bathroom was fairly roomy for an old building. Very clean.
I would love to stay there again but the stairs are tiny (my feet had to go sideways) and I really worried about having to evacuate for some reason in the middle of the night. I would ask them to promise me a room on a lower level but don't know if that is possible.

Pam, I didn't know the Ebury Wine Bar had closed. We had a wonderful meal there!

Posted by
51 posts

I'm traveling with my young adult son in October so I spent a LOT of time looking for a hotel with decent size rooms and two beds - preferably at least doubles as I really hate to sleep in a twin. I almost booked at the Lime Tree, but decided not to only because they don't offer a refundable booking. To be honest, I would not choose to stay there if I had to be in a basement room with twin beds, but that's just based on what I saw in pictures, not personal experience.

Your second choice looks really lovely, I don't think you can go wrong there, it has a very high rating on trip advisor, although I''m not sure how much pricier The Principal will be.

I decided on The Bailey's Hotel, a boutique hotel in So. Kensington - reserved the Luxury King Family Suite, which I felt was a good value considering how expensive hotels are in London. Fingers crossed it lives up to all the great reviews!


Posted by
113 posts

We are traveling to London next week along with 15-year old granddaughter and will be staying at the Lime Tree. Activities we have planned that might also appeal to your daughter:
- Hamilton; September tickets now on sale
- Afternoon tea at Claridges; need reservations
- Thames Rockets river cruise; see
- Tower of London
- Camden Market
- Ripper tour with London Walks
- And for the educational aspect the British Museum
Have a fun trip.

Posted by
8239 posts

We spent a long weekend in London last month after getting off a repositioning cruise. We always stay in the same neighborhood around Bayswater and north of Kensington Palace.
We could see so many young people coming into town for the weekend--rolling their carry on bags. And the tourist sights like the Tower of. London were just overwhelmed with people on Saturday and Sunday.
Upon our return to the U.S., a week after London, we rented a car and drive into LaGuardia Airport on Sunday. The contrast between London and NYC is just so vast, with London being so much cleaner and nicer.

Posted by
26 posts

You will have a great time! One of my most fondest memories of London was the trip I took with my daughter. She also wanted her first sip of alcohol while on our Mother-Daughter trip. We went on a pub walk through London Walks. It was fantastic! We visited 3 pubs and along with sharing the history of the pubs, the tour guide also taught us (my daughter) proper etiquette of ordering and made suggestions. We had the best time! Highly recommend the London Walks pub tours!

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you to everyone for the great and detailed responses!

I have booked the Lime Tree Hotel for our stay. NoBeanCounter - when I inquired directly with the hotel they indicated that they do have a refundable booking policy. You must cancel 7 days prior or be charged a small fee. If you cancel w/in 3 days of your stay it's a slightly larger fee. I did opt for their largest room with 2 beds. Because I opted to go w/a smaller, cheaper hotel that was my concession.

A-A - I loved your addition of the "educational aspect" of your trip. The British Museum is MY choice for one afternoon. Mom also has a say in the trip, right?

We took a RS trip to Paris several years ago. A glass of wine was served to each guest at dinner every night. I allowed my daughter a taste of hers each night but she hated it and handed it over to me. It's so funny how excited she is to go to London, order her own pint and pay with her own money. mrsb-c - I love the suggestion of a pub tour. I have heard great things about London Walks.

Any suggestions on things to stay away from? I have mixed emotions about The London Dungeon - has anyone been to that attraction? Is it really cheesy?

Posted by
891 posts

We took our boys to the London Dungeon, years ago and they loved it. But, they had just finished 2nd grade and 7th grade! I think it would be cheesy and a waste of time for your daughter who is grown.

I might suggest the Changing of the Keys Ceremony at the Tower of London. It's late at night and has happened for I can't quite remember, but I think hundreds of years and even throughout WWII.
You need to have prior reservations, make them now. It's very interesting they explain about how and why they do the changing. it would add a little history to you daughters visit.

Don't know if she's interested in history, but if she is, there's Churchill's War Room now a museum that's interesting.

Posted by
920 posts

I had lunch (at the Fish! walk-up stall) at Borough Market last year at the end of the London Walks Bermondsey walk. At lunchtime during the week it seemed to be a mix of both locals and tourists and had a good energy about it. I've heard comments that, like a lot of things, it's not quite as local or "authentic" in nature anymore now that more tourists visit it, but it was still fun to walk through, and you both might enjoy it.

I also enjoyed looking at the fashion exhibits and the Victoria & Albert museum:

Posted by
23470 posts

,,,Unfortunately the Ebury Wine Bar next door has closed!! ...... Ah!!!!! ...... so sad. That was one of our favorite place as we always stayed in the Victoria Station since 76. I guess nothing lasts forever. Two of our favorite hotels have disappeared so we now use the Best Western Victoria Station usually the annex. We like the area around the hotel.

Posted by
274 posts

I volunteered at the Girl Guides/Girl Scouts' world centre hostel Pax Lodge for 2 months with my daughter when she was 23 yrs old. She and the other volunteers frequented Camden for both the shopping (fashion) and for the pubs. Easiest educational place (that we recommended to guest staying with us) was the British Library's Treasure Room, a zillion REALLY amazing things all in one big room with comfy benches all around for any tired tourists. The pub across the street was called the Euston Flyer and it was really great, in 2011 and 2015 when we returned to celebrate our Bachelors degrees (hers 2 yrs after mine).
Harrod's milkshakes were also very popular among the staff.
I believe Graham Norton's TV show free tickets should be available for Sept soon, too, unless something changed. That could be really cool for a 20 yr old, depending on who the guests are going to be. There's always a young musical guest too. Very big stars sometimes. If you haven't seen his show, there's a lot on You Tube.

Heather and I did go on the London Eye, we went at night (I had an eye operation when I was a kid and have some double vision and lots of fears of heights, but wanted to say I did it, held onto the bench and went at night to minimize the ability to see straight down). I frankly felt like it was only taking me farther away from the sights, I wasn't impressed, but maybe I missed something. :)

Also, HUGE help, was that I had bought a monocular (half of a binocular, like a short telescope) for travel in 2015, and the details we would have missed, both inside and outside, would have been a long list. It also helped when I had to see the train schedule board when it was WAY at the other end of Waterloo Station, helped to not have to go run for the info. Helped to see the art and architecture all over the city. Amazing difference.

I also have a brother in law and 2 nieces over there in Essex area north of London, and the older niece loves pink gin, which is supposed to start being sold here in the USA soon, but it's SUPER popular over there, strawberry and raspberry flavors, some are sparkling too. When my daughter and I went, we drank hard apple cider, Strongbow. The ales over there are really strong, and if your daughter doesn't love them, there ARE additional, local options that taste better :) And the trivia nights at the pub were also popular with the other 20-something volunteers at Pax Lodge, and the crepe vending cart up the hill, we were in Hampstead.

Gift shops my daughter loved: Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, Buckingham Palace. British Library's gift shop was OK, but not great. NEW gift shop opened at King's Cross for Harry Potter items, looked good online.

I went to Westminster Abbey for a (free) church service, it was Sept 11th's 10th anniversary & I'm a NYer. They just ask that you stay through the whole service. So finding a church to go see will be an easy one :)

Great to hear you have ideas on where to stay that are centrally located. Always good to minimize travel time to the sights you want to see. There can also be many open nights at local universities, if she's considering grad school or anything. Could be fun to see them on the inside.

Have a great time!

Posted by
2017 posts

I would suggest a London Walks Pub walk. My mom and I went on the Along the Thames walk but any are good. You get to order a pint(Guide will tell you his favorite and you can chat with the other participant and the guide himself. It also allows you to learn about the history of the different London neighborhoods.

I was a decade older than your daughter when my mother and I went to London but we had a pretty good time together. One thing I will advise is time apart especially when sharing a hotel room-my mom and I had a blowup right by St Pauls because of this. Each having a little time alone can defuse some of the inevitable mom/daughter tensions.

As for the Crown Jewels, get to the Tower before they open and once inside, go directly to the Crown Jewels. That way, you will be able to see them before the hoards come after taking the Beefeater Tours. And look for the ravens.

Posted by
1097 posts

I was going to say exactly what Heather said about seeing the Crown Jewels. Seriously. Go first thing when they open, then walk without stopping directly to the line for the Crown Jewels. By the time you come out, the line will be long.
I recommend a show at the Globe. We saw Two Noble Kinsmen, and it might be my favorite thing we did in London. I went because my husband wanted to but I loved it. Try to get a seat where you're in the back of the section so you can lean back, though, and rent cushions! When you get beyond the ticket-taker, you can get food and drinks and order for the intermission, if you want to. We weren't sure what the offerings would be inside and the area outside the ticket-taker didn't appeal much.
Go to Westminster Abbey but buy your tickets in advance! Again, the line was LOOOONG to buy tickets and we walked right past the line and got right in. She can walk where the Royals do during the weddings we've seen on tv. :)

Posted by
1205 posts

You will have such a great time in London! I stayed at the Limetree on a RS week long tour, several years ago and back to London last year and going again this year! As for ordering a pint in a pub, may I suggest a London Walks pub crawl. It is not a pub crawl to get drunk, they take you on a walk and tell you all about the area you in and you top in 3 pubs for a pint. You don't have to order a pint, anything you want to drink. Pub crawls are done at night usually about 7:15PM. I did one last year and loved it. That may be a fine thing to do one evening. I also went to see a play Wicked one evening. I went to see Mama Mia and The Mousetrap when I went on the week long tour and this year seeing Aladdin. So that may be a thought to buy play tickets.

As for shopping, check out Harrods as they have a huge food court that is really something to see a long with being a department store and Selfridges which is also a very nice department store and down the street from Selfridges are tons of shops and very near by is a small gem of a museum, The Wallace Collection with beautiful french rooms and paintings and suits of armor.

St Paul's Catherdral and Westminster Abbey are the two churches to consider and St Martin's which is a lovely but plainer church and is right near the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery ( which I can't wait to see this year for the first time).

If she loves Jewels then may I suggest the Victoria & Albert museum which is an amazing museum with a wonderful fashion exhibit and has a huge gallery of jewels. It was breathtaking!

I have been to all that I recommended above and can't wait to go back to see some of it again this year.

Hope this helps! Have a great safe trip.