A Good Night's Sleep in Affordable London Lodging
|Hotels down the street|
London has been the city of my heart since the early 1990s. I fell in love not with gay Paris across the channel, but with the beautiful, lovely, cobble stoned and sometimes gray London. I have walked along the Thames River under the shadow of the Tower of London when the leaves were turning soft green in the spring. I Drank beer in front of the Shakespeare Theatre on a crisp fall afternoon while watching the barges wend their way down to the Tower of London Bridge. On a cold snowy night I followed ghost walk to the heart of the old city while shivering under a full moon to hear tales of ghosts and graves. London contains many happy memories that keep me warm at heart.
Since London is the city of endless museums and delights, I'm quite happy that it is a 12 hour flight from Portland, Oregon. I feel being a plane for 12 hours is a sufficiently good reason to stop in London every time I go to Europe of the Middle East. Even an extra day in London gives my biological clock chance to adjust, and I get to visit another great Museum. My favorite museums are the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Westminster Abby.
The one kink in this pleasant plan is finding affordable London lodging. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world; lodging can make or break my experience, and my budget. I no longer stay in hostels, unless I get a private room, so I need a cheap hotel. A hard lesson I have learned in my rambles around the world is the quality of sleep determines the quality of the day. Skimp on sleep and trips become endless slogs punctuated by coffee breaks.
Please realize what budget lodging will look like in London. It will be an Edwardian era house that has been converted to a hotel. It may or may not have a lift for your bags. If you need a lift, be sure and ask. The rooms will be small! Space is expensive, unless you have the wealth of King Henry the Eighth.
This is a good reason to pack light. Some hotels have retro fitted complete "baths" into the room. They are very small, but clean and functional. You will be expected to hang your towel up and reuse it. Towels in Europe look more like dish clothes. I suggest you pack an extra hand towel if you are super picky about your towels.
To determine where you should stay, first get out a London map, preferably one with the "tube" lines and stops superimposed on it. The major tube stops are lodging centers, Earls Court, Victoria, Marble Arch and Kings Cross.
From these tube stops, and bus stops, it's fairly easy to plan your time across London. All these tube stops have Travel Inns, or Days Inns at them. Check the websites for travel deals. Earls Court is the farthest from the center of the city, but a great choice if you will be flying out of Heathrow. It is about a 30-minute tube ride from the center of the city. I stayed in
Earls Court for years; there are a lot of inexpensive lodging choices. Here is one of my picks. This hotel does not allow parties or noisy clients. For single traveling women this is an excellent choice – I took my mother here. The hotel has lovely mangers, hot water and comfortable beds in addition to being very easy to find. But no lift for those bags, so pack light!
12 Penywern Road, Earls Court, London SW5 9ST
Tel: +44 (0)20 7373 9087
Fax: +44(0)20 7385 2417
The Windsor House is a family run hotel that has been in existence for 4 decades. The hotel is a beautiful Victorian building, which has retained its charm and many original features through the years. A friendly and pleasant atmosphere and a reputation for cleanliness has ensured The Windsor House listings in the English Tourist Board "Where to Stay in England" guides and in very many other world-wide circulated guide books.
My next set of hotels is across town in the Kings Cross area. I chose them because we had an early plane to catch to Italy, and we were taking the train out to the Stanstead airport. The squares around Kings Cross have quite a few great little hotels.
|Sights of London|
This small chain has three hotels, doubles with and without baths. I was quoted £42 for a double room with a bath, no non smoking. Non-smoking rooms are very rare in any part of Europe, but ask nicely and hope. The rooms were very clean; one of their hotels has a lift. The breakfast was amazing – a buffet with lots of eggs, ham and bacon and toast.
European Hotel, 11 Argyle Square, London WC1H 8AS.
Telephone +44 (0) 207 837 7159
Ashlee House, ( Tel: +44 (0)20 7833 9400) is a place I have always wanted to stay, and is always full. Give them a try and write me a note. They also have a website. My advice when in London is to spend a few more pounds on a nice clean and quiet little hotel so you can sleep better and enjoy London more. Travel on in joy and may comfortable beds on the first floor always be yours.
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