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London apartments/flats...any great experiences?

I am beginning to look into a London/Cotswalds visit next year, and I am wondering if anyone could recommend a good place in a nice, convenient area? Since it will be our first visit, we will do many of the "tourist" hotspots. We are thinking of an apartment 8n stead of hotel. We walk miles every day, so will do that in London as much as possible. Thank you for any suggestions and experiences you may have with specific rental properties.

Posted by
1777 posts

hey hey susan
what are the dates, how many people, budget in pounds, how many nights in london, how many in cotswalds, any restrictions as in mobility, carrying bags up stairs/steps to higher floors or need a lift/elevator, flying in and out of london (heathrow). i would do cotswolds first then back to london so you'll be in city with departure.
aloha

Posted by
164 posts

It will be my husband and I for this trip, and if we could keep it to $200 US dollars, that would be great. Looking for safe, walkable area with mid price restaurants. Willing to tube to places as well. For Cotswalds (spelling), hoping for apartment , or bed and breakfast. We are trying to decide where to go...London and countryside, or Spain/Portugal. Totally open to anything, but those two choices are on our bucket list. We have been on three trips to Italy, China, Germany/Austria, and Hawaii in the past six years, and did Amsterdam/Belgium/Paris this past May. We want to do someplace on our list, and we love history, museums, biking, lots of walking, etc. Thanks for any advice. Budget is negotiable, and 200 per night is a suggested per night cost.

Posted by
164 posts

Also, can fly from other airports, as Heathrow is not good use of our AA points...taxes and fees are about the price of a ticket!

Posted by
371 posts

Susan there have been several recent forum threads about London lodging. You might do a forum search and check those out. I’m looking for recommendations also and got several good ideas from those posts. Also someone posted this week about a wonderful experience at a cottage in Chipping Camden, Cotswolds. I marked it as a strong possibility.

Posted by
21050 posts

Time of year? That can suggest a possible need for air conditioning, which somewhat constrains your choice of lodgings.

London has so many tourist highlights, and they are scattered all over. Without a list of at least some of the places you'd definitely want to go, it is not so easy to identify areas that might be particularly convenient for you. For example, I recently stayed at the Premier Inn County Hall. It's right at the London Eye and--for good walkers--within walking distance of the National Theatre, Globe Theatre, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Imperial War Museum and Westminster. But it's on the South Bank, and some folks really prefer the other side of the river, which puts them potentially closer to the British Museum, British Library, Victoria and Albert Museum and West End theatre district. It really depends to a considerable degree on your plans.

Posted by
2469 posts

Take a look at the Captain Bligh House. Great owners, great location across from the IWM, great reviews on TA. We are about to stay in one of the apartments there for the 6th time.

Posted by
4660 posts

Also, can fly from other airports, as Heathrow is not good use of our AA points...taxes and fees are about the price of a ticket!

The APD tax is paid by all passengers flying out of the UK irrespective of the airport. You will pay the tax whether you fly from Heathrow, Manchester or Edinburgh for example. If you want to avoid paying the tax then either fly into the UK and fly out from somewhere else but as the fee is £150 per person you may be spending more simply by trying to avoid it.

Posted by
638 posts

I agree with the advice above, including reading the forum discussions about London lodgings.

As @acraven has mentioned I also think your search will go better if you list the things you most want to do in London, including the "must see/do" things. Once you have your top-priority, must-see venues roughed out, map them (Google maps is my go-to). They will probably be mostly, if not all, inside "Zone 1" of the Transport for London (TfL) system - see the diagrammatic Tube map for an idea of what I mean. That's where you should look for lodging. Within that area, which I think of generally as "Central London," there are no "bad neighborhoods." That ought to give you maximum walkability to the sites that most London visitors want to see.

Even if you're world class walkers, you may find that not everything you want to see will be within reasonable walking distance of your rental flat, which is where TfL's buses and trains (Underground, Overground, Docklands Light Railway [DLR]) are your friends.

Also, US$200 at today's exchange rate (I use xe.com's converter), is £160. That's a very modest budget for London. I'm not sure what time of year you're planning to visit, but you may need to bump that up to £200 or so if you want a flat. Be wary of booking a rental flat too far out from the center. You'll burn time and money commuting into central London every day.

I haven't stayed there, but I've read good reports from people who like the Citadines Apart'Hotels in London. If you don't need a whole flat but would like to have a little kitchenette, look at the Nadler hotel properties in London. I stayed at the Nadler Kensington several years ago and really liked it. You won't have a whole flat to spread out in, but you can do some self-catering if that's your preference. They're new and modern, not old-fashioned "luxury" but quite well-designed and well-equipped. (I don't know if your preference for a flat has to do with having more elbow room or having a kitchen, or both.)

Posted by
3681 posts

I stayed at the Citadines Holborn in 2016. I had a studio with a small kitchen. There's a laundry on the ground floor. Across the street and nearby were all the kinds of shops and restaurants you'd find in a typical neighborhood. I was there for a week in mid-June. I don't think I paid anything close to £200 per night.

It was very convenient by bus, tube and foot. From there, I was able to get to everywhere I wanted to go on that trip using my Oyster card.

Look up the district to see what it's close to. The biggies are the British Museum and Covent Garden.

Posted by
13068 posts

I will endorse Larry's recommendation of Captain Bligh House. We have not stayed there (yet) but have corresponded with the owner and was very impressed. The location is very central for walkers (as we are too). Attractions we would consider within walking distance from there would range from the Hyde Park area museums ( Victoria and Albert, Natural History, and Science Museum) to the west to the British Museum to the north, to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London to the east. And inside that arc, closer to the house, are Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, Trafalgar Square and adjacent museums, Covent Garden, Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, and St. Paul's. And there is a good Tube station nearby for sore feet or longer trips.

The price of an apartment with kitchen, bedroom, ensuite bath, etc. is £125 for two, well within the stated budget.

For the Cotswolds, I suggest you take a look at the HF Holidays country house (Harrington) at Bourton-on-the -Water. Not a bed and breakfast, but all-enclusive accommodation (full board) with guided walking. The food is very good and the camaraderie of the fellow guests is very enjoyable.

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/guided-walking-bourton-3?format=pdf

For guided walking, they offer 3-night, 4-night, and 7-night options. ( You can go and stay without the guided walking if you prefer). They also offer themed holidays, including walking in Shakespeare's path, or focused on interests such as gardens, yoga, bridge, etc. You can see some of those options here:

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/country-houses/locations/bourton-on-the-water-cotswolds

Posted by
2305 posts

We used London Connection last September for our stay. Had a nice apartment in Covent Garden. https://londonconnection.com/
I found them very responsive to preliminary questions and also very helpful once we arrived. They do have apartments in other areas of London as well but we chose Covent Garden for its choice of restaurants within a short walk after a full day of wandering the city. The 'hotspots' in London are spread out, but the Tube is so convenient to use that wherever you choose to stay should be no problem to get to where you want to be everyday.

Posted by
21050 posts

The area around the Imperial War Museum is relatively untouristy, but I wouldn't choose to stay there, especially if I were a new visitor to London. It's quite far south of central London, and the nearest Underground station, Lambeth North, is served only by the Bakerloo Line, so a lot of destinations would require transfers. I prefer to be near a station served by multiple lines. The Waterloo Station is at least 1/2 mile away (and often requires a lot of walking once you get inside); Westminster Station is 0.8 miles away.

I'm a big-time walker and sometimes walk long distances back to my hotel after the museums are closed (including a couple of aimless walks between the V&A and Waterloo), but I wouldn't consider the Captain Bligh House to be walking distance to Tower Bridge (1.8 miles), the British Museum (1.9 miles), the Tower of London (2.0 miles) or the V&A (3.3 miles), because there's no way I'd walk to those places in the morning, giving up so much sightseeing time. Perhaps others are early risers and willing to head out at 9 or 9:15 AM to walk to a museum that opens at 10; I simply am not.

Posted by
13068 posts

We are all different. My husband and I regard walking as one of our greatest pleasures in London. We generally limit attractions to one or two per day, and generally walk unless it is really far (several miles). Then we supplement with the bus.

From the location of the Captain Bligh House, I would use the Golden Jubilee pedestrian bridge to access Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, etc. The Westminster Bridge for Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and the lovely walk through that park and Green Park to Hyde Park for the museums south of the park. And the pedestrian path along the Thames (south bank side) the Tate Modern, St. Paul’s (crossing the Millennium Bridge) and Tower Bridge. Then the No. 15 bus from that area back to Trafalgar for the return across the Jubilee bridge.

Our last apartment was at Shad Thames past Tower Bridge, and we walked to all those places and more from there. For the most distant, like the V&A, we returned partway by bus.

I will admit that we spend a lot of time in London so have the luxury to walk rather than using faster transport.

Posted by
21050 posts

I much prefer walking; it's often not that much slower than the Tube by the time you figure the walking on both ends of the trip and a possible transfer along the way. However, the proposed itineraries I see posted on this forum rarely seem to allow for 2-mile walks to sightseeing attractions. That's 40 minutes even if you're very lucky with the pedestrian-crossing lights, which are not timed as generously as they typically are on this side of the Atlantic.

For those who haven't been to London yet (and I've noticed this pattern in other countries as well), pedestrians don't cross with the traffic flowing in the same direction; they have their own spot in the light cycle, and the crossing time seems extremely short. You often need to be standing right on the corner when the Walk light comes on to get across safely. Otherwise, you'll be waiting through the entire cycle. This approach seems safer than the US way, which depends on cars to yield the right of way to pedestrians, as well as better for the vehicular traffic. However, it makes pedestrians' progress rather slow in built-up, busy, areas--or everywhere for pedestrians who are just generally not inclined to jaywalk.

Posted by
13068 posts

Good points, acraven. Stoplights are one reason we route our walks along the Thames pedestrian path, across pedestrian-only bridges, and through parks as much as possible. It makes for very pleasant, traffic-free walking, with no stoplights.

Posted by
164 posts

Thank you so much for all the tips and suggestions. Much appreciated!