My 21 year old college kids are going to London for a week in May. They want to be touristy, I want them to stay somewhere safe. Not a hostel, not a low end hotel. Thoughts on locations/hotels to stay in near the main tourist activities that are safe areas?
You don’t say how much the budget is, so I’ve aimed relatively low (for London) around £100-£150 in my recommendations.
The first thing to stress is that London is a really safe city particularly in the centre. Tourist attractions are widely spread so there’s not one area close to them all. I’d suggest Bloomsbury as an area - it’s the site of much of the University of London so it’s got a nice buzz and it’s very well-connected by bus, tube or just walking to much of central London.
It also has a good range of small well-priced hotels - look at Celtic/St Margaret’s, Harlingford, Arosfa or Studios2Let.
Or you could look at the very well-regarded chain Premier Inn, which has options all over London - County Hall or Waterloo are in great locations on the South Bank, or there are any number of others including Holborn, Southwark, Tower Hill & St Pancras. There’s also a couple of Citizen M hotels, which are modern and young: there’s a well-located one at Tower Hill.
Every area in London is safe. Some areas are prettier than others.
The more central, the more expensive. How much per night?
Use booking.com to get some ideas.
Nothing wrong with the YHA for 21 year olds. Premier Inns are often mentioned on these forums but they're not as cheap as they once were (in central London).
Some of these might suit https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/mar/02/best-new-budget-hotels-london
I stayed near Victoria Station. I am a 30 year old lady but look about 20 and I never felt unsafe. In fact I felt safer there than I do in a places in America, including near where I work at. I stayed at the Best Western Victoria Palace about 7 minutes from the station. I walked to Westminster a couple times and wandered near the London Eye. I am going to be in London from May 5-8 and staying at Citizen M hotel near the Tower of London and that area has seemed fairly safe when I have been there.
The best advice is to have them stay close to an underground station. And then at least prior to getting on the Tube knowing what stop they are planning on getting off on and an idea of how many stops.
If I said $200 USD per night, does that help? (They split the cost of this trip.)
The Ridgemount Hotel in Bloomsbury would be perfect for them. Lots of school groups pass through there so they'll likely have a chance to meet other students. Its inexpensive, very highly rated on Tripadvisor, and right between the British Museum and Soho. I've stayed there twice and liked it, save for my one critique which is that there were too many student groups, which sounds like it might actually be a plus for you!
Yes, the Ridgemount would suit. I stayed there just one time but it was fine. Good breakfast, nice people run the place. By the way, RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts is located just down the street, and sometimes offers free seats for rehearsals. Could be fun.
Hostels in London are mainly populated by your kids age group. The ones I know of (YHA) are located in good locations, St Pancras, Earls Court. Hostels have people of all nationalities and ages, solo travelers, groups, and families. I've seen that at the St Pancras YHA hostel.
London House Hotel is in Bayswater and there are two tube stations right around the corner. You can walk from the hotel to Kensingston Palace. I did it. It is a nice, safe hotel and the area is fine. I stayed there last year on my own as a single female and am staying there again. It is also a very reasonable hotel. Breakfast is extra but good and there are places to eat neaby.
We always stay at Lancaster Hall Hotel. It is just north of Hyde Park, close to 2 tube stops, inexpensive (about 95 pounds for 2). All rooms have 2 twin beds. It is clean, safe and they have a very good breakfast. We always see quite a few young people staying there.
I would recommend The London Elizabeth, 4 Lancaster Terrace. It’s a two minute walk to Lancaster Gate tube station, across the street from Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, and a nice pub The Swan around the corner. As others have said, London is a very safe city.
The Falcon Hotel on Norfolk Square is a five minute walk to Paddington Station, we stayed there in September.
My 21 year old college kids are going to London for a week in May.
They want to be touristy, I want them to stay somewhere safe. Not a
hostel, not a low end hotel. Thoughts on locations/hotels to stay in
near the main tourist activities that are safe areas?
Curious, do you have twins? Unusual to hear "my 21 year old college kids". :-)
Most important question -- Who is paying their way?
You said upthread that they are "splitting" the cost. Does that mean you are not paying for their lodging?
If you are not, you're out of luck determining where they stay. Can they afford the London Elizabeth which near the Lancaster Gate tube is in a terrific neighborhood.
As the adage goes, she who pays the piper calls the tune.
I have stayed in the YHA Central London hostel and can highly recommend it. I stayed with 3 kids under 14 and no one ever felt unsafe. They also have private rooms ensuite and dorms. There is a kitchen in the basement to help with reducing meal costs. It is less than a 10 minute walk to Oxford Circus and easy access to various tube stations depending on what line you need. The noise level is fine. Some of the other hostels may be more party oriented (thinking of the Oxford Circus hostel), but the Central is fine. One of the advantages of hostels is the social aspect - they can find people their own age to tour with or just talk to in the common area.
OP, I will suggest the following general areas: Bayswater/Lancaster Gate/Queensway (walking distance to Paddington), South Kensington, Marylebone, Hammersmith, Victoria, Pimlico. All are good and "safe" based on my experience. I've stayed on my own as a female or have walked through these areas plenty of times.
I know some here have mentioned Bloomsbury or places south of the river in other threads on London hotels. I don't have any personal experience staying in areas other than what I mention above, so I can't speak to it.
With all this said, I do think that if your children are 21 that means they are adult age, and with these neighborhoods and a budget in mind, they can hit Google mapping (street view is a great way to check a hotel's surroundings) and hotel websites and figure out some good potentials from there. Heck, they can even post here on the forum if they have follow-up questions. Good travels to them!
Today's exchange rate puts $100 at about £72.
Therefore, they need to be looking for lodging around £150 or less for both of them to stay close to budget. In fact, it's never too early to start thinking in £.
I highly recommend that they use Booking.com to get an idea of where to stay and how much it might cost. You can change the currency at the top right of the opening page. The initial results can be filtered in a variety of ways which they will discover as they explore their options.
They may want to stay close to most of what they want to see and do, or not. With London's excellent public transport system, they can go just about anywhere by bus or Tube.
We noticed this place on a recent trip to London-Meininger on Cromwell road at Queen's Gate. I think some rooms are considered hostel but many have private bathrooms. We went in to have a look and thought how great this would have been when we were young travelers. The location is excellent with two tube stations nearby-Gloucester Rd and South Kensington. There is a statue in front of Lord Baden-Powell founder of Boy Scouts.
The London School of Economics rents out rooms when their students are not in session. Last Christmas we stayed at Northumberland House, just a block from Trafalgar Square and all that it has in easy walking distance. I don't know their class schedule or when their rooms might come available, perhaps in May. Check out www.lsevacations.co.uk for dates. They are typical dorm rooms but very safe, very comfortable, and very handy to Parliament, Buck Palace, Thames, Covent Garden and the National Gallery. Night life in the adjacent theater section of London is exciting and might be attractive to your college kids. The Comfort Inn at Hyde Park is where my sons stayed last Christmas. It's close to the tube, Hyde Park, comfortable, safe, and not very expensive. They have a website. Good Luck.