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London Alone, extended visit - where to stay?

Hi there! Not sure where to start. Following my divorce I'd like to spend a month or so in London alone. Exploring from there, etc. but making it my base for 4-6 weeks. I'm very familiar w/ vrbo.com and use it often when traveling but I'm not sure what areas to look at staying in for an extended type visit. I realize if it was a week I might want something different, but this will be for a month or more. Where is a nice place to settle for a bit?

I do not drive so I would be relying on public trans as I do in the city I reside. I'm just looking for a change of scenery and a small bit of adventure and just some time to recover from the last few months and before I make a big move to another major US city.

I'm 30-years-old and have been to much of Europe but never anywhere in the UK. I look forward to any advice, suggestions, etc. because I truly don't know where to begin right now with everything that is going on, but I know I need to move forward on my travel plans.

Thanks.

Posted by
34 posts

Thank you Steve! That's exactly what I'm looking to do as well. I'm going to see what South Kensington has to offer... I definitely just want to get to act like a temporary local for a month just relaxing and enjoying something new.

I bet your time in Paris was amazing!

Posted by
970 posts

Looking inside the Circle Line makes good sense, but I wouldn't rule out looking beyond it. The crucial thing is to be on a bus line and within easy walking distance of a Tube station. Admittedly, using a Tube station outside central London may result in more train changes.

Posted by
14580 posts

Last month I spent a full week in London out of a 32 day trip in Europe. All I want to say is that public transportation is an institution in England as in elsewhere in Europe. Whether you take the bus or the Tube, they are organised, quick, easy to follow, comfortable, and efficient in a massive network. And cheap too, when you get the Oyster card.

Posted by
104 posts

Hi Tiffany,

We stayed in Belgravia and enjoyed it very much. So easy to walk to Mayfair or Chelsea. London is so wonderful with all the transit available. Good for you and best of luck on your new adventure. It is kind of like "Eat Love Pray". You will need to come up with your own U.K. version!!

Posted by
104 posts

ooops, "Eat Pray Love". As long as you get the eat part right :) Which...I found the past information regarding England incorrect (horrible food). We did not have one bad meal in London!

Posted by
1806 posts

I did an extended stay of a few weeks at London School of Economics at Northumberland House. They rent all rooms during the summer, but have a section of rooms they call "Top Floor" they rent to travelers year round. The cost was reasonable & didn't involve paying a large security deposit or cleaning fees like an apartment rental.

All rooms at Northumberland are private (singles or doubles) and have their own bathroom which includes a shower, toilet & sink. Rooms are cleaned daily by housekeeping. Linens & towels are provided and changed regularly. In each room besides the bed there is a desk, telephone with answering machine & a large wardrobe with dresser for clothing. The rooms were a good size - not cramped, but not as large as a 1 bedroom apt if you need a lot of space to stretch out.

Other amenities include kitchens for cooking a meal, TV, coin-op laundry, WiFi & a computer room that has computers with internet you can use free 24 hours a day (saves the hassle of lugging a laptop). The building is secure with a 24 hour attendant at the front desk and key card access to the outer and inner doors.

The best part about Northumberland was the location. It is only 1 & 1/2 blocks to Trafalgar Square. I saved a lot of money by rarely having to take the Tube as it was very easy to get to many tourist sights walking. But as you are smack in the middle of London, you are able to catch a number of buses and there are several Tube stations within a few blocks if you need to get to neighborhoods further out. There is a small Tesco grocery 1 block away and many places nearby for dining from simple cafes to pubs to fine dining. Area was safe to walk around late at night for a woman on her own. Easy walk to the theater district if you want to see a show. Lovely parks nearby to relax and some great shopping if the mood strikes. Website is www.lsevacations.co.uk or www.lsetopfloor.co.uk

Posted by
780 posts

I wouldnt base a long term stay in walking distance of one particular sight, i.e. Big Ben, Trafalgar. etc. There are so many other areas in London to explore and after the first few days of seeing the main sights, you may want a change. Areas like Kensington, Camden, Notting Hill, Earls Court, Hammersmith, Holborn, etc are all close (3, 4 tube stops) to central area but are more residential and not as noisy and more of a local feel than trying to stay in a central "london city" area.

Posted by
34 posts

All of your responses have been very fantastic, thank you so much! I've found quite a few properties on vrbo.com in some of the areas mentioned here and I'm getting so excited!

Being near a bus would also be more than fine for me, pub trans is truly second nature for me it's the only way I really get around...or by bicycle. :)

Posted by
34 posts

Ceidleh, thank you VERY much for the info on the Northumberland accommodations, I may look more into that.

Posted by
1806 posts

London School of Economics Top Floor also has rooms, studios and small apartments scattered around London in other neighborhoods if you'd rather be in another part of the city. I suggested Northumberland only because 1) I can vouch for the quality of the lodging as I stayed at that particular property for an extended visit and 2) it's in such a central area that you save money and time by not having to take public transit daily. The London transit system is very comprehensive, but just like in Chicago, extremely crowded during rush hours and, on occasion, subject to unexpected delays.

Being that central has its pros and cons - for instance, if you decide you'd like to rest in the middle of the day or drop off shopping bags instead of being loaded down like a pack mule, it's possible to do without losing a lot of time. You may not be so inclined to do that if you have lodging that is further out in one of the residential parts. But it is busy and there is a lot of activity in that area day & night - so if you want a more peaceful area, then it's probably not for you.

Posted by
345 posts

As someone who has spent over a month in London... I personally like staying in central London. I like walking to see a show, to a museum, etc. To say that you're staying within walking distance of a few things might be accurate in other cities, but not London. I did use the tube, but walked as much as possible. I got to know the streets and neighbourhoods better than I would have, and really felt at home in London. A month isn't that long in London, and I don't think anyone would have to be worried about running out of things to see.

Over the 2 months that I was in and out of London, I stayed at LSE Carr-Saunders, LSE Northumberland, LSE High Holborn, and Wigram House. All dorm rooms let out on summer break.

When I next go back for a month (or two!), I think I'd go with something like Wigram, as it was a little flat. Own bathroom, kitchenette, television, wifi. I liked the location of Holborn better, the neighbourhood of Carr-Saunders, and Northumberland was really in the heart of it.

Something to consider, if you want to be around other people more, something where you're sharing a television/kitchen/even bathroom, might force you to be more social. With a flat, you don't have to interact.