Affordable London Hotel

Jun 5th, 2013, 09:43 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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dwd - are you talking about London? I lived in London for many years and still spend a month or more there every year - I think that advice is completely over the top.
Can I ask where you are from?
Tulips is offline  
Jun 5th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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dwd's advice isn't for London, it's general.

But I've carried a wallet in my front pocket in pickpocket havens like Florence, Madrid, Paris and Barcelona without incident. In Barcelona, we had two small distractions who look like my wife running about in our vicinity and still no problems. I wear the "do not F--- with me" face when needed, but I'm also a man who is far thicker than the average European.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 5th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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Sorry - have been to London at least 20 times - several traveling alone after a meeting or congress - and the city is VERY safe - as long as you don't wander into unpleasant neighborhoods (off the tourist trail).

Carrying a purse is absolutely fine - I have never had a problem (just as I have never had living in NYC for more than 30 years).

The couple of notes that make sense are:

Do NOT stand around looking confused. If you need to reorient yourself get to the side of a building - or into a shop or cafe - and pull out your map or guidebook there.

Always walk briskly and as if you know where you are going.

Be aware that the tube has very limited hours (I believe stops even before midnight) - so after a show and a snack or drink you may have to taxi back to hotel.

Do NOT carry a back pack - besides being a PIA it's the easiest thing to steal something out of.

And naturally avoid deserted streets and don't give anyone the opportunity to roofie a drink (but it doesn't sound like you will be in a lot of bars/pubs alone late at night).
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 5th, 2013, 11:15 AM
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All-- sorry if you thought my comments--which were prefaced, by the way, with a statement that London is safe and you'll probably be fine--were over the top or unnecessary or hysterical. Must be because of my inclination as a lawyer is to write that way.

zoobiechick says she's a rural, small town dweller. My usual advice would have been (and generally is) "don't do anything you wouldn't do at home but wear a moneybelt" But having grown up in a small town myself, I thought I should expand on it. We're not doing zoobiechick a favor by saying "don't worry about it." She is worried about it--rightfully so--and I'll bet you all were too on your first trip.

I've reread my advice and stand by it. My advice was based on the experiences of my spouse and me and our friends who've traveled all over the world and reported their experiences, and my advice is meant to help someone going alone to a large city for the first time.

My wife had a bag snatched in Rome, one friend of mine had her purse snatched in Barcelona, another a wallet taken on the train from CDG to Paris, and one a day bag taken at Gatwick by a "friendly stranger" while she was waiting with her children for a flight. Ergo, don't carry a shoulder bag or purse, even in London.

Although it's easy to take stuff FROM a backpack, it is next to impossible to TAKE a backpack, and thieves are not going to be interested in making off with an umbrella or a guidebook, etc, while they are willing to snatch a bag or purse to see what's in it--happened to us where the only thing of possible value they got was an old camera.

While the "don't accept eat or drink from a stranger" may seem over the top, and is probably not applicable to London, this happens. Not often perhaps and maybe not ever in London, but why take a chance? It only takes one incident like that to ruin your entire life. Don't believe this happens? Read Corriere della Sera.

And if you're saying don't bother to wear a moneybelt, to leave your valuables at home or in the hotel safe, to take the Underground and plan your route in advance, to book hotels near an Underground station--which is really the second thing I look at after the price no matter where we go-- and go ahead and drink too much and stay out too late, well then, we disagree.

BTW I live in Atlanta, where I follow all my advice most of the time (except re the moneybelt).
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 12:06 AM
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Don't accept drinks from strangers, don't fall out of a pub drunk in the middle of the night, be aware of your surroundings, don't flash your valuables, don't leave your Iphone on the table - common sense.
Wherever there are large numbers of people, there will be pickpockets and thieves.
But telling someone who is going to London with her family, about gangs raping women on trains in Italy and Peru - how is that helpful?
Tulips is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 12:41 AM
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Well everyone I know carries some sort of purse/bag in London every single day, and the only ones who have had problems are the ones that leave it on the floor or on the back of their chair when in public. My 60+ year old parents use over the body bags for the month they visit every year and they are from a town of 17k people in rural Canada and have no problem keeping it safe. If you dont carry a bag of any kind where do you put your transit pass, wallet, guide book, bottle of water, camera, maps etc?? Just pay attention to your belongings and dont leave them unattended.

Staying in Dartford really makes no sense and to be honest would be about the last place I would want to stay. Stay in London and do a day trip to Dartford.

London is very safe, especially central London where you will be.

What would you do if you went to New York or LA? Take the same precautions here in London and you should be fine.

Tubes do close early here - shortly after midnight in central London so keep that in mind.

For affordable hotels consider looking for a triple at some of these places (I composed this for a friend a few weeks ago):

There are several great choices at Premier Inn (basic chain hotel, very clean, but no charm in the hotel – we have stayed at this chain many times and really like it) although don’t be tempted by the really cheap ones out of centre!!! The ONLY ones I would recommend are:|match|e|plid|
o Country Hall – excellent location right on the river from Westminster (Big Ben) and on the same side as the Eye
o Victoria – near to Buckingham Palace and easy transport to Gatwick if you are coming in from there
o Southwark (Borough Market) – in our favourite area of town, if you are coming in from Gatwick take the train to London Bridge and take a taxi as it’s a very short drive but will be a trek with bags over cobblestones etc
o London City (Tower Hill) – on the far eastern side of zone 1-2 right by the Tower. A bit of a trek if you want to see most sites on the western side of the city
• Other good affordable options are Ibis, again ONLY these locations:
o London Blackfriars – close to Southwark station so a taxi from London Bridge makes sense if you are coming from Gatwick
o London Southwark Rose – again a short taxi ride from London Bridge from the airport
• Or Novatel – ONLY these locations
o London Blackfriars – close to the Ibis London Blackfriars
o London Waterloo
o London City South
o London Tower Bridge
• Holiday Inn – ONLY these locations:
o London – Mayfair
o London – Southwark
o London – Victoria
o London – Oxford Circus
o London – Regent’s Park (Probably not the most convenient for transit)
o London – Bloomsbury
o London – Kensington Forum (great if most sites you want to see are west London)
jamikins is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 01:14 AM
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Hi there:

Wouldn't stay in Dartford (40 mins to London Bridge).

You might however find something within your budget in Greenwich, which is about 10-15 mins by train to London Bridge and is also on the DLR. You can also take the Dartford train from North Greenwich station.

OReilly is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 01:17 AM
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Here's a list of hotels in Greenwich
OReilly is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 01:30 AM
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Small correction - North Greenwich is not on a train line, it is on the Jubilee Line and is not connected to trains to Dartford. The trains to Dartford leave from Greenwich station.
jamikins is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 01:49 AM
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You are right jamikins
OReilly is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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Okay, now we're really getting places with the information! Thanks to all for the very specific advice. I don't mean to sound like a bumpkin--I've lived in big cities and traveled to different parts of the world, including living several months in the Paris area and other areas of France. It's just the idea of going alone to a HUGE city in a foreign country where I've never set foot. But hey, I've been to Albuquerque lots of times. What could be more dangerous? (haha) Everywhere I've traveled I've met kind people anxious to be helpful, and I'm sure London would be no different. Even when I forgot my camera on the subway in Paris someone ran after me to return it.

It's very helpful to know what train line would make an easy connection to Dartford, and to know specific areas to stay. The information is definitely helping me to focus in on options. I always use tripadvisor and other sites, btw, and read reviews out the wazoo. Always good advice.

I don't drink. Several problems avoided there.

Maybe I should start a new thread with this next question, but I'll throw it out anyway. Is there any advantage in using either Gatwick or Heathrow? Does it matter?
zoobiechick is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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zoobiechick :

Don't stress: London is a VERY safe city.

Re airports; Identify the best deal possible you can get to either airport. The decision will be based on your airfare, not your limo fare.

Then call to get a price on fares to your destination.
OReilly is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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>>But hey, I've been to Albuquerque lots of times. What could be more dangerous? (haha)<<


Lee Ann, Albuquerque resident
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 06:36 PM
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Lee Ann, I wondered if anyone from ABQ would see that. --I'm in the Durango area.
zoobiechick is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 07:46 PM
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LGW has cheap/fast trains to central London.

LHR has even cheaper but slightly longer tube/Underground to central London.

From LHR a car service like is a good alternative - MUCH cheaper than a taxi, but more than the Tube. It would be door-to-door w/o having to schlepp luggage at all.

From LGW, a car service doesn't make as much sense - LGW is 30 miles south of London and a car takes forever and costs a LOT.

So - just take whichever airport gets you the best connections/fare/schedule. Once you get your flights and hotel booked, we can help you w/ the best way to get in from the airport.
janisj is online now  
Jun 6th, 2013, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Janisj suggested Travelodge. I highly recommend them. Three of us stayed in family room/triple room - son was 17. No problems booking. Ours was at Waterloo - great location as close to station, Old Vic, Covent Garden, Globe theatre, Trafalgar square. We paid $AUD160 for 4 nights total in February 2013. Obviously very good special with advance purchase. Wouldn't hesitate to return
SusannahT is offline  
Jun 6th, 2013, 09:44 PM
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i stayed at the millennium bailey's last fall and it was quite nice and cost about u.s. $125 for 2 adults with big breakfast. travelzoo has a special on this hotel every several months... with an upgrade if you book quickly. (we got an upgrade and the room was huge.) however, they are having a special right now and the price is quite a bit higher at u.s. $150 and a little higher with breakfast. (119gbp) but check in from time to time... and you may pick up a special. even the celtic hotel (which we love-- but no sort of luxury) is showing 120 gbp for a triple with a bathroom.

what i like about both of these hotels is that they are both within 1 minute walk to the tube. (millennium is literally across the street from a tube cross-section so you can go most places from there without transfer. this is something i would look for-- there were so many times when travelling that i felt i just couldn't walk another step as i exited the tube.

if you are serious about keeping the $100 u.s. limit, definitely try airbnb as suggested above. i really scoured london for cheap options last year and $100 gbp is about as low as it goes for a great neighborhood stay. we have had really good luck with airbnb... but haven't used it in london.
kawh is offline  
Jun 7th, 2013, 04:29 AM
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Thanks Susannah & kawh. I'll look into those options. Having recommendations on lodging that is close to the tube or other transportation without worrying about transfers is extremely helful. Janisj, the airport info is much appreciated.

I'm willing to up the budget a bit for a better location on lodging and will most likely go ahead of the family for a few extra days of personal research. Excited!!!!!
zoobiechick is offline  
Jun 7th, 2013, 10:01 PM
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Years ago my local library had a reference book called the London Encyclopaedia. Couldn't check it out so I would go in and read it from time to time. I wanted to learn about what London was like before the Blitz. I found the book has been reissued and can be found on Amazon; it maybe useful to you.
Scootoir is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 04:35 AM
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Thanks, scootoir. Will take a look.
zoobiechick is offline  

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