Monday, 24 September 2012

Staying in London - advice

I'm contemplating making an extended stay in London around the Who Do You Think You Are Live event next February.  Various friends have stayed in long(er)-stay accommodations so I asked BIFHSGO colleague Brenda Turner, who stayed earlier in the year, for advice.

"I regularly find it more convenient, cheaper, and much more flexible to rent a cottage or flat than a hotel room, whenever I happen to be staying in one place for more than 5 days. I've rented flats or cottages through these companies, plus others in locations which would not be of interest to you. Even when dealing with owners directly, rather than a company, I have never once been ripped off in any way in two decades of rentals. Most often, I have found the owners very friendly and helpful, and most anxious that I enjoy my stay. In London I find it best to book as close to tube stops as possible, and especially I try to find rentals to which two tube stops on different lines are walkable, for mobility in case one line is down for maintenance, or accidents.

Here are the companies I have used in the UK:

Vacation Rental By Owner: http://www.vrbo.com/

 Home Away: http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/

Country Cottages: http://www.english-country-cottages.co.uk/

Cottages4You: http://www.cottages4you.co.uk/

Apartments Apart: http://www.apartmentsapart.com/london_hotels/index.htm 
Holiday Lettings: http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/

The new company I heard about from a chum just a few days ago is called Saco. This chum and family rented a flat just by the Vauxhall Bridge, and were astonished to realize that they had a balcony overlooking the Thames during the Jubilee Flotilla, which they had not planned for at all! They were very pleased with the services they had as well. http://www.sacoapartments.com/
Glenn Wright mentioned http://sabbaticalhomes.com/

Please share any experience you have had with these or other similar services in the comments.

6 comments:

Paul Jones said...

I haven't done this in Britain, but I've had success in Paris, New York and other American locations. I look under "vacation rentals" on Trip Advisor. On top of everything else, you get reviews and ratings from fellow travellers.

PS Your anti-robot character and sound recognition screens are so effective that they're bamboozling me too!

Jess P. said...

Another recent discovery is airbnb.com. Maybe a little less formal, but it is a catchment for all kinds of accommodations and housesits all around the world.

Tamara L. said...

I live in England and have for the past 21 years (although in the north). Staying in London is dear as you can well imagine but it is only a short journey by train or a 40 minute bus ride from Oxford. You arrive at Victoria bus terminal and walk across the street to the tube/train station. If you are staying longer than the Who do you think you are/ genealogy fair you might want to think about staying further afield. If you know anyone with University of Oxford connections they might know of lodgings. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Just spent 5 weeks in England this summer, based in Reading (trains to everywhere from there). Half-hour train service to Paddington in London many times each day. Direct Tube connections at Paddington to 5 lines. Take District line to Notting Hill, change to Central Line to Shepherd's Bush, then walk or take London Overground to Kensington Olympia. Ibis Hotel in Reading is one block from train station; reasonable rates (best ones by booking online); clean, modern; walking distance to all amenities, as it is in the centre of town. Highly recommend Trip Advisor for reviews of any properties you choose.

Old Census Scribe said...

If I could only find an easy way of getting from Amersham to Olympia I might see you at the WDYTYA exhibition.

I second Paul Jones's comments on your capcha routine. What do you know, I can read this one.

Nathan Murphy said...

I always like to stay at beds and breakfasts right next to The National Archives. It's on the District Line just a short ride from Heathrow and in a very nice part of the city.

Here's a list: http://www.kewaccommodation.com/

These places are very affordable by London standards and the rooms often come equipped with microwaves and refrigerators.

I've stayed with the Frasers on several occasions.