How to find cheap accommodation in London

Today’s guest post is by Paul Joseph. Paul is a London-based writer and author. He is currently penning a nostalgic book on his home city called “Vanishing London”. He also works for tubehotels.com, offering London hotels near train stations.

Anyone who’s visited London will testify that it’s not a cheap city. Food, tube travel, and entrance prices to attractions can all make it difficult to enjoy the city without breaking the bank.

One way of keeping costs down is by staying in a cheap hotel. London has a large amount of budget accommodation, ranging from hostels, timeshares, to low-end hotels. These are typically in central areas of the city, meaning that you will be close to many of the main sites and attractions.

There are a few areas in particular that are popular with budget travellers. Victoria is one, thanks to its excellent transport links, including a national bus terminal which connects to a number of destinations across the UK. Another area that draws visitors looking for cheap accommodation is Paddington. This area is useful for reaching Heathrow Airport via the Heathrow Express high-speed train service, which runs from Paddington railway station.

Other districts that attract visitors on a budget are Kings Cross, Euston and Camden – owing to them combining central locations with comparatively cheap prices.

The problem comes when defining ‘cheap’, because what is cheap for London won’t necessarily be considered so elsewhere. For example, it is difficult to find a 1 or 2-star hotel in London for less than £60 – an amount that can get you a 3 or 4-star hotel in many other cities.

If your budget doesn’t stretch this far, you have two choices: Firstly, opt for a youth hostel. Whilst you may well have extended beyond the point in your life where the idea of a shared dorm with 15 foreign gap year students still has some appeal, youth hostels can still serve an economical purpose, and of course there are often private rooms for hire too.

The other choice is to venture out into the suburbs, where hotels are cheaper owing to their less prestigious locations. Whilst you will no longer be within the heart of the city, there are several benefits to being located a little further out.

Besides the better value presented by staying outside the centre, it will also give you the opportunity to see some of London’s more hidden corners. Provincial districts such as Brixton are teeming with historical interest as well as cultural venues such as the Ritzy, while areas such as Hampstead and Richmond are home to some of London’s most beautiful parks.

Transport links into the centre are also excellent. As an example, getting from Brixton on the Underground – located at the end of the Victoria Line – to the exclusive, bustling thoroughfare of Regent’s Street would take just 15 minutes door to door.

If you follow this advice you should be able to find something basic but affordable. And if not, there’s plenty of park benches for a true budget experience!

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