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London is an exciting city to visit and it provides plenty of accommodation for visitors wishing to explore the capital’s cultural, sporting and commercial facilities. Attractions are many and varied; different parts of the city play host to important centres of entertainment and the arts, whilst others focus on business and finance. Choosing where to stay may depend on the reason for being in London, places to be visited and the available budget. Rest assured there is plenty of choice, and a little bit of advance planning can help make a holiday or business trip the best yet.
Places to stay in London run the gamut from settee surfing or staying in a spare room, to basic hostel-type accommodation, through small guest houses and independently run apartments, to medium-priced hotels and timeshare rentals, right up to the luxury end of the hotel and apartment market. In between there is private accommodation and some schemes offer the opportunity to stay in the home of a local resident (with or without the local being in residence).
At the basic level, free use of a floor or a settee may suit students or backpacking travellers who cannot afford to pay anything at all for accommodation. At the top end of the scale, the sophisticated luxury hotels really will require a considerable outlay, so Claridge’s, The Dorchester and The Ritz will not suit everybody’s pocket.
The mid-range guest houses, apartments and hotels, however, have a great deal to offer travellers, and chains like the Premier Inn Hotels in London pride themselves on ensuring their accommodation is affordable and of a high standard: expect en suite rooms, immaculate bed linen and, in most cases, a dining facility and bar, either in the hotel or within walking distance.
Location, Location, Location
With affordable hotels available everywhere, the next question is where in the city to choose as a base? The central area is, naturally, more expensive than those parts of the city a little further away. The important thing when on a budget is to check the distances from the places to be visited, remembering that public transport in London by bus, underground and train is very good. A range of ticket options is available, both paper and electronic, which can save money if ordered in advance. The online Transport for London Travel Centre will be glad to help with any queries and to give advice about the best routes and fares to meet travellers’ needs.
The biggest and busiest museums, for example, are in the South Kensington area (SW7), not far from Harrods – a must for serious shoppers. The business district is focused on The City Of London, often called the Square Mile, centred on Threadneedle Street (nearest underground station is Bank), and the Docklands area has relatively recently become a second financial and business hub for the city. These two areas are almost four miles apart, and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) provides a fun and efficient way to visit this part of the city.
Saving the Pennies
High quality accommodation available at a cheap rate, combined with great transport deals, makes it possible to enjoy all that London has to offer without spending a fortune on the basics – save the pennies for the shopping and entertainment instead. Options such as spacious, trendy flats in London give you the comfort of a hotel, but for a more affordable, wallet-friendly price. London is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, don’t let expensive accommodation spoil a city filled with character, culture and history.
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