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Any opinion on this area outside of London?

We are 7 people going to London (which might be crazy) including dad who will be 90 years old, but in very good shape. Apartments are expensive plus we have one couple, one single, dad is a single and then three grandchildren all in their 20's two boys and one girl. So, sleeping arrangement are difficult with this group. I found a B & B that will do two triples and one single that will work fine for us and it is a good price. Only problem is that it is near Clapham Junction. I know that is out of town a bit, in zone 2. Is it a safe neighborhood? Any other concerns for that area? In know it will be a commute into London which might be a drag.

Thanks for any help.

Posted by
1786 posts

I thought I read that there is a limit to the daily Oyster card cost, like you max out and then ride for free after that. I was somehow thinking it was equivalent to about $10 a day. Anyone know if that is true?

Posted by
25716 posts

The prices in zone one and in zones one and two are identical. An all day cap is in place for only Bus Traffic which is £4.50, all day on the underground using an oyster card is the same in zone one, zones one and two, and zone two and is capped at £6.40 for oyster pay as you go for an adult per day.

All the fares are at https://www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares

Posted by
626 posts

I don't know Clapham Junction intimately, but the surrounding areas like Putney, Battersea, Richmond, Wimbledon, etc. are quite nice areas, but not really touristy areas. I'd be keeping my wits about me during the day, when you are generally fine mostly anywhere, but restrict my night activities to busy areas.

Clapham Junction is quite a long way outside of the most popular area's of London, and not somewhere I'd recommend on that basis. You might miss out on a lot of wandering around West Central London at night, when it is safe, exciting and wonderful, with lots to see and do. Instead, you'll be travelling out of town on packed trains before it gets too late. Not fun... maybe. Also, fit as your Dad is, he might appreciate popping back to a local hotel for a quick one hour nap between activities, as you all might. There is so much to see and do in London, it can be exhausting... always in a good way :o) When I've visited places abroad, and not stayed centrally, I've regretted it, feeling I wasn't able to make the most of my visit.

I might be over playing the 'don't go outside at night' aspect of London, it's really very rare that there are any issues in the good parts, but it never hurts to be cautious and we all want our tourist friends to be safe and have a great time.

Posted by
4527 posts

Clapham Junction is in Battersea - when it was built they wanted to associate with Clapham some distance away, at that time more salubrious. However, Queen Victoria died a long time ago, and Battersea overall is like many areas in Zone 2 a much more gentrified place than it was 40 years ago. You have direct trains to Waterloo and Victoria, as well as the Overgound orbital routes, and changes into the Victoria Line at Vauxhall.

Posted by
378 posts

Emma,

I'm going to be staying at The Malt House in Fulham this Sept/Oct -- any opinion on this neighborhood?

-- Mike

Posted by
8889 posts

No way would I classify Clapham as "outside of London". I would call it an inner suburb.

Posted by
626 posts

Emma is right to be honest. On reflection I am overplaying the potentially unsafe nature of London. I've never had a problem, and I don't know anyone who has had any problems, especially in posh neighbourhoods like Richmond, Wimbledon, Putney, etc. (yes "quite nice" was possibly an understatement). Equipped with common sense and a smile, and an umbrella of course, you'll be just fine and have a great time!

Posted by
2619 posts

Susan and Monte, Check out the London School of Economics.
They have two locations for two bedroom apartments. Passfield (a dorm) and George IV Apartments.
These are both comfortable, affordable, and well located. We usually rent one of their two bedroom apartments with a living room/kitchenette as the middle room separating the bedrooms. There is usually a sofa bed in the living room which sleeps two people; perfect for two grandchildren. If you put two people in each bedroom, two on the sofa bed, you need to ask them for one roll-away bed for one of the grandchildren.

The apartments have a kitchenette and coffee maker, laundry room in the basement, and some locations have a very good inexpensive cafeteria on the first floor. Very good for suppers for a family that don't break the bank. Locations are convenient to the tourist sights and museums.

Passfield has a two bedroom flat:
http://www.lsevacations.co.uk/Accommodation/Passfield-Hall/Passfield-Hall.aspx#sthash.lDvrscG1.dpbs
Located in the heart of Bloomsbury, ideal for British Museum, British Library and St Pancras International. (Breakfast is not included for bookings in the two bedroom flat.)

The George IV Apartments also offer flats:
http://www.lsevacations.co.uk/Accommodation/TheGeorge/The-George.aspx#sthash.Zwp3eF7v.dpbs

I have stayed at both of these locations. You will have to call the phone number for each location to check for availability/vacancies on your desired dates. Be aware that the website DOES NOT show true information about availability. If you try to check that online, it always says they are full. Not true. You must phone to check. Also, they offer student dorm rooms to tourists when students are on break. But that is not what you're after. Make it clear that you are booking the flat (apartment) if you call their phone number and book. I was very satisfied with both of these locations. All comfy beds, living room, kitchenette. Price was right. It's nice to be at one of the London School Of Economics locations and walk to restaurants, some tourist sights, and have the tube or bus right on your doorstep.

Posted by
1994 posts

I'll leave it to others to comment on that suburb. However, I would like to comment on what I learned when traveling with 80-something's who were in "very good shape." The normal rigors of transit were incredibly fatiguing – and that was compounded by their unwillingness to tell us and therefore slow us all down. The trips were wonderful experiences, with treasured memories, but I found it necessary to travel very differently from my normal style.

I would suggest very central lodging, which provides the option of returning to the room for rest during the day. It also can make it easier for the group to split up during the day, pursuing different activities based on energy level, and meet for dinner in the evening. Elevators are really important at the end of a tiring day, and it's important to make sure there isn't a flight of stairs to get to the elevator, or to get from the elevator to the room. We also tried to save walking for the actual tourist attraction – which meant opting for taxis instead of buses or metro. Quality guides who offered "highlights" tours were really good ways to visit museums. And finally, prearranging wheelchair or shuttle transport in airports was an important – though resisted – element of surviving that part of the trip in reasonably good humor.

Posted by
1786 posts

Thank you all for the great information!

Our preference would really be to stay in central London. It is just so hard to find something for that many people and .....I hate to say it, but we are trying to do this on a budget. Trying to keep the group at $500 per night, or close to it. Then we have the problem of beds, dad needs his own, we are a couple, my sister a single and adult grandchildren (two boys and cousin girl) don't want to sleep in the same bed. So, two triples and one single would be ideal. I looked into the hotel chains and they were still way too high. We have not bought our airfare, we are just looking to see if it is even feasible.

I'm so hopeful we can find something.

Dad is in great shape, walks everyday, but stairs maybe a difficult thing to do all day in and out of the tube.

I will look up those suggestions Rebecca!

Posted by
4527 posts

The Malt House is in the heart of Waltham Green. As well as the District Line you have the very useful bus routes 14 and 11; the latter possibly passes the most sites of any bus in London. 28 might also be handy to Kensington and Notting Hill.

The area is another under progressive change from working class well up the social scale. Go down North End Road and it is still fairly mixed.

Posted by
1786 posts

Well, we were thinking of staying for 6 nights after 4 nights in the Cotswolds. I really prefer to stay closer in London proper, and I am finding apartments, but I have no idea of the neighborhoods convenience and safety. I'm going crazy!

That is what I thought, about $10 pp to commute.

So I found an apartment, again with only one review, on Drummond Street near to Euston. Is this a good or bad area?

Posted by
1786 posts

Actually, now I found another review on that one and it wasn't good.

We are really looking for a 4 bedroom 2 bath, maybe impossible for in a decent area for $500 night.....

Posted by
3318 posts

This is a very out-of-the-box idea but, since you are a budget as we often are, have you thought about home exchanging? We had a month-long home exchange in London 2 summers ago. Great old Victorian terraced house with 5 beds, 2 baths and a cute backyard. There are many people in London who want to visit the States and want to home exchange. It beats your $500 per night budget because it's free!
We use homeexchange.com and have completed 9 exchanges all over the world. We're doing two more this summer in Prague and Amsterdam.
Just a thought!

Posted by
2619 posts

Drummond Street near Euston station is neither bad nor good; somewhere in between. It is not a pretty residential neighborhood. It is an area known for inexpensive Indian restaurants. There is a good pub in that neighborhood, the Crown and Anchor, at 137 Drummond Street.

Are you looking on the VRBO site? Can you filter by neighborhood? Try looking in the neighborhoods of Bloomsbury (near the British Museum), and South Kensington (near the V&A Museum). Also try Holland Park. It's a posh neighborhood surrounding a park. If you keep on looking, you WILL find something in your price range in a good neighborhood.

Posted by
1786 posts

Thank you everyone! I really appreciate the feedback. It feels overwhelming, not even the trip planning, just wrestling with the whole idea of 7 people and a 90 year old (not our usual travel experience!) and our budget. My sis and I go back and forth whether we should go for it or not. We were 90% going for it this afternoon, then wrestling again tonight. I guess we both over think things!

Posted by
626 posts

Susan, I've just looked on the Premier Inn website ( http://www.premierinn.com ), and for 4 double rooms, for 6 nights, staying in Covent Garden in June, total cost is around £2,760, which is within your target of £500 a day accommodation. Premier Inn is a no frills, simple room only affair, but I've stayed with them many times, and the rooms are always clean and warm. They have loads of great locations in London, so you could even do 3 nights in one area, and 3 in a different area. Prices vary by day and location so it's worth a look about. Westminster County Hall Premier Inn is right next to the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, and there is one near Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the South Bank, an awesome area. Travel Inn are also similar and I think they do triple rooms, so you would save a lot by having 3 rooms not 4. Just a thought.

Posted by
378 posts

Emma,

"Hooray Henry" -- that is hilarious!! Here I thought I'd heard of every British perjorative there is, and along comes a completely new one. I also like the 'Sloane Rangers' and the White Horse Pub in Fulham being called 'The Sloaney Pony'.

What a fantastic time I'm going to have in London!

Thanks for all your help! :)

Posted by
135 posts

Hello

as well as the Premier Inns chain mentioned earlier, in the same vein look at Travelodge (www.travelodge.co.uk) and Holiday Inn Express (www.hiexpress.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/gb/en/global/reservations/) - they all have hotels both in central London (a bit pricier but still budget), and what I'd describe as 'Inner London suburbs' i.e. accessible for the centre on public transport, but somewhat cheaper (relatively speaking). However even with a really healthy senior citizen, I'd still aim as close to the centre as you can afford.

Have a great visit.

Posted by
1786 posts

The Travelodge looks like a decent place. We may decide to do that if we can't find a reasonable apartment in a good location. reasonsable ($500 for 7 people- ) Thanks for that tip!

Posted by
25716 posts

mincepie's suggestion is a very nice place but would have difficulty for this group. I note that it is over 3 floors, with stairs connecting each. A lift is required..

Also - I'm sure it is a typo - but they do claim that at Sloane Square Underground (by the way, part escalators part stairs) which is closest for their guests, "Sloane Square Tube Station has both the Central and District lines which offer excellent transportation throughout the city."

Of course, the Central Line is a long way away, Sloane Square is served by two lines on the same tracks, the Circle Line and the District Line.

And more than a bucket load of buses, of course.

Posted by
1786 posts

Well, dad prefers an apartment, even at a higher cost. So, I'm off looking again. The bed configuration is a problem. And the location feels tricky to me.

I'll post when I find something and maybe you all can tell me if it sounds good or bad.

Thanks!

Posted by
5627 posts

Have you reviewed any of the Airbnb properties? There's a nice 4 bedroom Mews apartment in Belgravia that costs a bit more than your $500 a night that would be worth the extra money. Lovely residential neighborhood.

You can see what the entire cost including cleaning price would be for your budgeting process. Might be worth checking out what's available via Airbnb as you can put in your price, neighborhood, number of beds, bathrooms, etc.

My rule of thumb when renting an Airbnb property is that the owner's photo is shown (not their dog or iconic London landmark) and there are at least 10 reviews. Also, the host needs to respond to my preliminary inquiry within 24 hours and be willing to tell me the closest tube stop, ATM and market to their property.

I've rented 4 different Airbnb places in London over the years. A couple of apartments as well as a single room in a house. All good experiences. Great hosts. Renting a two bedroom Nottinghill/Holland Park flat later this year.

Wish you luck.

Posted by
1804 posts

I agree with Rebecca on the London School of Economics, although I would actually suggest staying in their Northumberland House location. It's not apartments - it's rooms - but all rooms have ensuite bathrooms so there won't be 7 people trying to use just 1 or 2 bathrooms as you'd likely find in an apartment layout. The rate also includes daily maid service and the rooms come in the configurations you are looking for. Additionally, there are plenty of shared lounge areas if you want to watch TV or sit down as a group to plan out the next day's events, access to kitchen facilities if you want to cook a very basic meal, coin-op laundry facilities, an elevator and WiFi. The building has secure card access plus there is someone stationed in the lobby 24/7 if you need to ask a question or get some directions.

The location is really central - the building is just 2 blocks to Trafalgar Square. You have the buses right outside your front door or you can grab a taxi. The tube is close by, but I would not recommend that for a 90 year old. You are within walking distance to the theater district, several museums and lots of restaurants and shopping. There is a pub (The Sherlock Holmes) directly across the street from Northumberland House.

Again, you will need to call or send an email inquiry about room availability (as Rebecca stated, the LSE website almost always shows all rooms are booked when actually they are not). With a senior tagging along, I do think it is worth paying a bit more to stay somewhere that is centrally located so he can take a break and go back to rest in the middle of the day if the pace of the trip is wearing on him.

Posted by
1786 posts

The Northumberland House is booked. The Sloane Garden Mews apartment the review said there was a homeless shelter nearby and they were harassed. The George IV Apartments booked. Premier hotels don't allow a adult triple room.

I think I have looked at every apartment with reviews and have found a problem with them. I truly am not that picky! Just clean, safe, easy access to the sites. There does seem to be a lot of apartments with VRBO that have no reviews. With Homeaway many of them look affordable then you put in 7 people and the price skyrockets. My dad really wants an apartment so we can be together, but I also worry about too many stairs and easy access to the sites.

I think I'm just going crazy looking for hours at the same places over and over! There really doesn't appear to be that much available during our times Aug 5-11 for 7 people. I have looked at VRBO, Airbnb, Homeway, Tripadvisor (apartment rentals) and even flipkey. I'm feeling very discouraged. I would think there would be a lot more choices, but I guess our 7 people is the problem. Now I'm afraid I won't find anything and we have our airfare. That seems crazy to me that it is that hard!

I was talking with a apartment manager that seems very responsive but her place is in Soho at St. Annes Court, just off the Dean street. I hear that is a not so great neighborhood. True?

I do really, really appreciate all the help! Sorry I'm going nuts!

Posted by
626 posts

Travelodge do have triple room availability in central London on your dates. It's basic accommodation but I've found always clean.

Posted by
1786 posts

Thank you Mike. I also looked at them and was ready to book rooms until my dad said he would prefer an apartment at a higher cost. It is just really hard to think of spending $700-$800 a night! Even then, having trouble getting one with good reviews. I sent out some requests and I'll see how responsive the managers are. Then I may just jump at the Travelodge, but they are already booked up at some locations for triple rooms. I'm feeling like I should make a decision quick.

Thank you!

Posted by
10344 posts

Susan,
You predicted this challenge in the very first sentence of your original post:
"We are 7 people going to London (which might be crazy)"
Not crazy, but challenging.
7 people, and with their different "requirements"--well, it's a tough one, especially in London.

Posted by
626 posts

Susan, I seem to remember Travelodge do penalty free room cancellation at any time up to 24hrs before the day of arrival. You could book the rooms, so at least you have something, and then cancel if you find something better. An apartment would be better, but high season in London for a reasonable price... difficult. You're not likely to be spending a great deal of time in the hotel to be honest, too much to see and do in London, so if you think of it as a place to keep your bags, have a shower and close your eyes for 7 hours, rather than a traditional hotel experience, things to do there, bars, restaurants etc. Travelodge could work well for you, even though it's pretty basic stuff. You'll be having so much fun you won't want to sit in a hotel, and when you do get back to your room, you'll be too tired to care :o) in a good way of course.

St. Anne's Court looks fine by the way, nice location. Not directly in the 'noisy and lively' area of Soho, there are loads of great places to eat right on your doorstep, but in reality, that's more or less the case anywhere in West Central London. Walking distance from 100's of other great things. Only down side I see it it's not very close to a Tube or Bus route but likely to be plenty of Black Cabs about. I think Black Cabs take 5?, those who are tired can get a cab back to the apartment, those who are not can walk. Walking is king in London, or even a 'Boris Bike' early morning at weekends!

Posted by
10344 posts

Don't we have a great group of London and UK residents helping we North Americans out here?!

Posted by
10344 posts

Mike speaks of walking being the king in London.
And when you're walking and feeling those first pangs of dangerous dehydration, well, a good pub will magically appear, just in time to help you maintain that all important hydration while doing the London walking!
Cheers, remembering London Pride (or whatever your favorite is)!