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Feb 22nd, 2013, 12:00 PM
  #1
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London: Solo traveller needs advice!

Hey everyone!

I'm planning to head to Europe this summer (never been before), and will be hitting up London for one week. Where would be the best location in the city for one to stay in a hotel? I plan to be busy all day and will be relying on the subway, so proximity to major sites isn't a huge priority. I'd like to make sure I stay in a fairly busy part of town (Soho?) where there are lot's of pubs/restaurants and people walking around, I plan to come back to the hotel, relax a little bit then want to WALK to restaurants and pubs later in the night. Since I'm flying solo, are there good places to meet people to chat with over a beer? I was contemplating staying in a hostel so I'd have people to have a drink with at night - but I can afford a hotel (I've done the hostel thing before). Any advice would be much appreciated!!

Thanks!
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Try the BandB Belgravia
http://www.bb-belgravia.com/index.php
Near lots of pubs and restaurants (including a couple of very good takeaways). Clubby atmosphere, very easy to meet the other guests. I find sitting at the bar in most pubs works when I am in the mood to meet people.

Have a great time.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 01:23 PM
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We stayed in the Belgravia area several years ago and found it convenient to the tube as well as easy walking to Buckingham Palace. It may have been the place mentioned above. If so it has been upgraded since we were there.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Hmm. Need to firm up a couple of things:

(1) terminology - in London, a "subway" is an underground corridor for crossing a busy intersection (e.g., Piccadilly Circus). The local trains are the Underground, aka the Tube. Beware saying "fanny" or "shag" in public. Here's a decent glossary: www.effingpot.com/slang.shtml

(2) Size - London is the size of New York (aka, more than double Chicago, 12X Boston, etc.). The notion that there is one best place is ludicrous. You should be on the lookout for good lively areas, of which there are ton(ne)s. Check Timeout.com and londontown.com.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Just because sights in London are so spread out you are better off staying as centrally as possible - so you can walk to more and taking the tube to others is a shorter trip. I would head for Covent Garden, Mayfair, Piccadilly but no further than Knightsbridge.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 01:35 PM
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I meant to mention to look at Rick Steves book. He has lots of good suggestions. Of course Fodors is good too.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 02:52 PM
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Rick Steves doesn't like the UK. Use another source. This site has some sort of connection to a travel book publisher . . .
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 04:03 PM
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I agree w/ BigRuss. RickSteves is pants for London/the UK. Translations: pants = rubbish.

cmcfong's recommendation of b&bBelgravia is very good. Excellent location near Victoria Station(s) (train/tube/coach) and Sloan Sq (tube). Well run, very clean, good breakfasts, free internet.

nytraveler: "Covent Garden, Mayfair, Piccadilly but no further than Knightsbridge"

Your 'up market' proclivities are showing again There are MANY other perfectly good, even terrific, neighborhoods. Maybe that is why you think London accommodations are so expensive (an aside related to one of nyt's post on another forum)
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 06:47 PM
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I agree that staying in as central a location as you can afford is a good idea. Sure, London has an dense public transport network--and its great--but who wants to spend a bunch of valuable vacation time commuting every day?

That said, be prepared for "sticker shock" when looking at London hotels and accommodations! Think Manhattan prices for central London. What's your budget for hotel/b&b?

There are thousands of possibilities in a huge city like London; its hard to point out just a few. Tripadvisor isn't a bad place to start, I suppose.

If you can afford it, I agree that Mayfair, St. James's, etc. are ideal for seeing many on-the-beaten-path sights; East London is where a lot of recent renovation and hipster haunts are (as much as I hate the word "hipster", I don't have a convenient synonym on the brain).
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 06:57 PM
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". . . but who wants to spend a bunch of valuable vacation time commuting every day?"

"That said, be prepared for "sticker shock" when looking at London hotels and accommodations! "

The bnbBelgravia mentioned above couldn't be more convenient, and I doubt it would give anyone sticker shock. But there are literally hundreds of other central London possibilities.

What is your budget?
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 07:16 PM
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I guess I should elaborate a little more...I'd be willing to spend up to $300/night. I guess I should rephrase, and ask which areas have the largest concentrations of restaurants and bars/pubs. Where is the busiest foot traffic at night?
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:28 AM
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$300 a night will get you a good hotel.
Try the Marylebone, Welbeck Street. Great location, lots of bars, restaurants, near Marylebone High Street. It has a good bar, and a fitness club with pool. I would very happily stay there on my own for a week. The bar is popular, not just with hotel guests.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:33 AM
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There are dozens of locations with concentrations of bars/pubs. London isn't like a North American city with a 'downtown'. Pubs and restaurants are everywhere. I would look at Bloomsbury, south Kensington, marble arch, Leicester square, Covent garden areas.

Www.londontown.com is a good site to look for accommodations.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 06:05 AM
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Are you from the USA? Boy, everybody thought or at least some people that you were looking for real budget hotels. Personally, I wouldn't pay $300/night for a hotel where I am just basically going to sleep but that's me. For that amount, you can probably find hotels (and there are for sure many much more expensive than that) in almost every section. Convent Garden, Soho, Leicester Square,, South Kensington are all good locations with lots of restaurants/pubs and the like.

From my own experience, for the most part (note the phrase), London is not a 24 hour town say like NYC. Oh sure there are some places but for the most part, I have found, that if you go to a show and have dinner either beefore or after, that's a good night's entertainment. I'm sure I will be contradicted by some but after midnight, the tube stgarts winding down and the like and a lot of the city itself closes down too.

BTW for cmparison, the pound has been dropping the past few eeks and right now $300 US is about £197.50.

Enjoy.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 06:41 AM
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>>the pound has been dropping the past few eeks<<

You've been eavesdropping on George Osborne?
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 08:42 AM
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"after midnight, the tube stgarts winding down"

No 'starts winding down' about it - The tube stops running full stop. But there are night buses that will get you around.

If you want to spend $300 you can find rooms anywhere. Even some REALLY posh hotels will fit in that budget if you find an internet/prepaid rate.

But there is no need to spend that much. Just about every part of central London will have neighborhoods that meet your criteria of pubs/restaurants/activity. IME you are less likely to meet up w/ folks in higher end hotels. And 'meeting locals' isn't as easy as some would imagine. Clubs/pubs are a possibility - but 'locals' don't tend to sit around waiting to talk to foreign visitors.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 10:33 AM
  #17
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Haha well I really wouldn't want to spend $300/night - but if it was an amazing hotel and it was a great deal I'd pull the trigger. I really like the BnB in Belgravia - great prices....I can't find to much info on that area...one website reported it was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world!! Someone mentioned above there was lots of pubs/restaurants in the area, plus there's a tube station nearby!
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 01:16 PM
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Another area to consider is Covent Garden/Trafalgar Square. My favorite hotel is the Strand Palace. It's a large hotel, which may not be your preference, but I like it because it is walking distance or a short tube ride to so many attractions in London: Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, River Thames, London Eye, Westminster Abbey,Piccadilly Circus,just to name a few. It's also convenient to the bus, 3 or 4 tube stations, and Charing Cross rail station. I have stayed in many areas in London over the years, and I keep coming back to the Strand Palace because of its location.

Strand Palace: http://www.strandpalacehotel.co.uk/
TA Review: http://goo.gl/Muupq
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 01:33 PM
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".I can't find to much info on that area"

That is sort of hard to fathom - it is 2 blocks from Victoria Station which is hardly an unknown/hidden neighborhood. B&BBelgravia is in a terrific location. Places to eat/pubs nearby. Theatres (both around Victoria and in Sloane Sq) and VERY good transport connections. It really is an excellent property.

The area walkabout suggests is VERY central and lively. Lots of theatres, restaurants. Id' be totally happy staying in either location (and have several times)
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