The Wheatsheaf hotel and pub in Virginia Water is set in an ideal location as it is right by Virginia Water Lake and Windsor Great Park. It is cosy with its open fireplaces and it has a large beer garden at the back. The inn welcomes families for dining and staying. Traditional, freshly cooked English food and light bites are available.
For a bit of history, King George III and Queen Charlotte are known to have stayed at the inn in the early 1800s.
London Road, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4QF
Google map: bit.ly/RPdXMJ
A delightful mixture of a Spanish tapas bar and a Mexican cantina. Great tapas, using organic and free-range produce. Guests can enjoy divine Iberico hams washed down with fine Spanish wines. There's even a hotel on the premises, if you become 'tired and emotional' ...
Westminister Furnival House is the equivalent of a hostel in the middle of London. While some might argue that it's a bit too much like college, anyone who has spent time travelling in South America can appreciate what it has to offer.
Dorm beds, laundry services and common rooms set the stage for a good time with the right bunch of people. It's perfect for having a place to relax after exploring Abby Road Studios and the countless other attractions of London.
Cholmeley Park Highgate Village
London N6 5EU
Google map: bit.ly/9zXtK3
Had to be in the UK for business and extended my stay there, for two days before heading to Barcelona for the weekend.
I found a nice little studio apartment in South Kensington, close to Hyde Park and the Victoria & Albert Museum (beautiful building, great exhibitions). The apartment, Cromwell, was perfect.
I went shopping at Harvey Nicols and Harrods and visited the V&A Museum and the Tate Modern.
A restaurant worth mentioning is Tokyo Diner, near Leicester Square. Great, inexpensive Japanese food. I loved their social and environmentally-conscious philosophy.
In Barcelona I was very lucky to have beautiful weather and was even able to spend time on the beach. I found a great two-bedroom apartment, Girona Design 2B, in the Eixample, just north of El Born, with Aspasios. The Eixample is a very nice and quiet neighbourhood to stay in and still in close proximity of all the good stuff.
On the back of a previous tip on this site, I decided to try Riverside Lets, which is one of the apartments at Odessa Wharf. The location is great and I thoroughly recommend it instead of the usual bland cooperate Canary Wharf experience.
Palmers Lodge is amazing. First of all, it's an old mansion that has been converted into a hostel. They have private rooms available, but I only stayed in the dorm room and it was unlike any dorm room I've been in. The beds were SOLID wood (no creaky metal), and had curtains which was great for privacy. FREE wifi! FREE breakfast! There's a bar and restaurant downstairs and the staff are pretty helpful. By chance I booked into Palmers Lodge on my first trip to London (they were the top rated hostel in my searches), and I've been back six times now in the last two years. I wouldn't want to stay anywhere else in London and I can easily recommend it to anyone looking for a place.
I stayed in a Canary Wharf Apartment from them. We were on a strict budget as our stay was for 10 days. The site found us a decent deal and the self catering apartment owners were very professional with check in - which is what we were most concerened about before flying into London. The price was good and the kids had plenty of space. Amenties promised were provided and the apartment was very clean and tidy. Not tremendously luxurious even though they said it was on the luxury side. Highly recommended nonetheless.
With so many hostels available in London, it is such a daunting task trying to pick one when you stay. St Christophers Inn’s Orient Espresso is one of the best hostels the capital has to offer, and is extremely popular with female travellers in particular. The St Christopher’s chain has a few hostels in the area, but Espresso’s situated above a coffee shop and smack bang in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. It is one of its best offererings with clean, comfortable, relaxing rooms and a great atmosphere.
It has a special Oasis female only sanctuary with an 8 bed girls dorm which is really good for feeling safer and more comfortable in an unknown city. Even if you want to stay in for a while after you arrive there is free internet, chess sets, travel library and chill out room so there’s little chance of getting bored whatever your mood is.
From the hostel you can easily walk to Southbank, and take a stroll along the Thames which is one of the best way to see the city’s historic landmarks such as the London Eye and Big Ben. Most of the main galleries are also within easy reach of the river so you can soak up all the culture you want, if you only want to see a few of the galleries then definately drop in at the Tate Modern and make sure you keep an eye out for some of the amazing graffitti which is scattered about.
Clink in King’s Cross is one of the most interesting hostels I’ve stayed at and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to stay somewhere different. It’s a very cool building, as it has been converted from a courthouse, and they have even kept some of the courtrooms intact, which is pretty cool.
It’s really centrally located in London and the staff were helpful and friendly. Breakfast was included in the price and fares much better than other places I’ve stayed at! All in all, a great stay and modestly priced too for a hostel in London.
I often get jibes from my American workmates about the size of five-star rooms in London. Now, it's only the Wyndham who've bigger hotel rooms in London from any other hotel I've been to! If you're flying into Heathrow, it's the first five-star within distance so, if you've got to get the top cheeses into a room somewhere across the pond, I recommend the Wyndham!
I liked the harbour views. Having breakfast al fresco before braving the District line, as anyone will attest, you need to calm yourself before you get into the big squeeze! Otherwise, take a taxi!
Easy Hotels are my favorite way of staying in London - cheap but spotless. You can choose between a variety of rooms (small with no window, small with window, large with no window and large with a window), all of which have a private bathroom. Rooms start at 25 pounds per room per night and the hotels are centrally located, near underground stations.
Stay in this wonderful three-storey home of a Huguenot weaver in a quiet street between Brick Lane and Spitalfields market. Furnished in a comfortable, practical way the true character of the home is retained... wonkey staircase, oak panelling and solid ancient floors. The absence of a TV inspires sketches and great tips in best handwriting on the vellum pages of the green linen bound logbook. Learn about who lived there over the years and sit out under the raspberry pink camellia in the garden with a glass of wine and a plate of cheese from the nearby deli.
After a quiet night's rest in heavenly beds stroll through the Sunday market for a feast of food from stallholders across the world. Cross over to Spitalfields market for the up-and-coming designers or find a sweet vintage brooch or bag. Five minutes to the Caledonian flower market for an armful of fragrant blooms.
Brick Lane is great for a cheap curry... have a takeaway in the garden!
Come at Christmas and watch the neighbours peel back their shutters to outdo each other in Christmas decorations. Better than a hotel any day!
Princelet St Spitalfields
The community narrowboat called Angel II takes either community groups or private groups on tours of the canal. You can sleep up to twelve but it's nicer with less. It's based in Angel, near the tube. The skipper will take you either west through the Islington tunnel up to Camden and through London Zoo and Little Venice, or east to Broadway Market, Victoria Park, The Palm Tree pub in Bow and so on. You can turn up the Hertford Canal and go up to Hackney Marshes too.
There is a great wealth of history in terms of the industrial revolution and the various types of architecture but also the canal provides a welcome corridor of nature right through the centre of London. At 2mph it's an easy pace and you will learn how to do the locks and steer the boat. You can do an evening, a day or a week. It's self-catering.
Along the way is the London Canal Museum and various lovely old pubs. The Islington tunnel is 886 metres long - it's very impressive. Bring a nice bottle of wine and cruise through some of London's finest history. It's so peaceful.
just off Graham Street N1, by the City Road Basin, it's just down from Angel Tube.
This hotel is located perfectly close to Hyde Park. This makes it a great place to stay if you want to be very central, which we did. Everything that we wanted to see was close by.
It is in the heart of Paddington close to the train station.
Although the Rose Court was not the Ritz, it was good value for money. It cost us very little and all we really wanted was somewhere close to Hyde Park to crash out. It was perfect for that.
I would also recommend it for business travellers. If you are trying to make money in London and not spend it you won't find better value and location.
1 - 3 Talbot Square, Paddington, London
London hotels aren't as stuffy and formal as they used to be and you can find a selection of stylish designer ones in the west end. One Aldwych is great. It has plenty of facilities – business centre, gym, scrummy room service – and some attractive minimalist décor. It also has a lobby bar and pool (quite rare for London). If you're feeling particularly extravagant you can book Suite 410, 500 or the Dome Suite, all of which have private gyms and spectacular views of the London skyline.
Another great West End hotel worth paying a trip to is St Martins Lane. This one was famously designed by Philipp Starck and it has a really brilliant restaurant – Asia de Cuba. Its bar, Light Bar, is where all the beautiful people hang out and the basement houses an exclusive private members club (Bungalow 8).
You'll find Baglioni’s opposite Kensington Palace and Hyde Park. It's no wonder this place is popular with A-list celebrities and other glitterati. The Royal Suite is an extraordinary 2584 square feet and quite possibly the most divine hotel room in London.
For those who love variety and nature, R. B. Gardens at Kew may be the most pleasant destination in London. There's a Travelodge near the garden with great pre-booking offers, which can be booked via online, usually a few weeks in advance.
The number of hotels serving Canary Wharf has doubled in the past year with hotels available to suit all budgets.
Located in London's East End both the Travelodge (www.travelodge.co.uk) and Holiday Inn Express (www.holidayinn.co.uk) serve Canary Wharf via a complimentary 15 minute minibus route (usually morning and evenings only). Prices start from around GBP65 and therefore the hotels make a perfect stop for the budget-conscious traveller.
Advantages - cheap and cheerful. Typically relatively new and situated around the Excel exhibition centre so good for attendees to this and Canary Wharf
Disadvantages - Poorly connected to the City (taxi, bus or DLR are your only options) and not much to do in the evening.
Located across the river in Rotherhithe, the Hilton Docklands is not so much in the Docklands as overlooking. Access to the hotel is by free shuttle bus from the nearby Canada Water station (5 min bus ride). Access to Canary Wharf can be achieved via aforementioned shuttle service to the tube and then one stop on the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf or via the boat service which operated throughout the day from the hotel and stopping at the west side of Canary Wharf.
Advantages - Parking can be included in the room rate, prices start from around GBP90 a night. Can be particularly cheap for weekend breaks if you would like to extend your stay.
Disadvantages - Not well connected. Access via shuttle bus to tube or by boat.
When staying at the super slick and eco-friendly Andaz Hotel (formerly the Great Eastern) in Liverpool, book Urban Gentry - insider tour guides and get a real insight into the fashion (or art) tribes of East London. The hotel also has it's own Reader in Residence to tell you bedtime stories, or read you a precis of the day's news.
Andaz, Liverpool Street
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