London - where to stay for 3 nights?

Mar 27th, 2009, 12:52 PM
  #1  
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London - where to stay for 3 nights?

Hi! I'll be staying in London for 3 nights in May with my husband and 2 young boys (ages 1 and 3). We're trying to rent a flat through VRBO and I can't tell whether it would be better to stay in the Westminster area or the Kensington/Chelsea area. It looks like maybe Kensington/Chelsea have a homier feel but we'll need to use public transportation to get to the tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, etc. It sounds like if we stay in the Westminster area we'll be able to walk more, but may miss out on the "feel" of London. Can anyone offer some advice?
lesley292 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2009, 02:21 PM
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"It looks like maybe Kensington/Chelsea have a homier feel but we'll need to use public transportation to get to the tourist attractions"

You can't really generalize - it entirely depends on the specific street/address. Some parts are very residential - some very commercial. Some parts of Chelsea are very convenient - some are a looong way from a tube station. Some parts of "Kensington" are along the very convenient Piccadilly line - others are beyond Holland Parks and not so central.

Same w/ "Westminster" - that covers a lot of territory.

So where exactly are the properties you are considering . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Mar 27th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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The sights in London are spread out. You, especially with those kids, won't be able to walk to everything. (Just supposing you could see everything in 2 or 3 days, not including naptimes.)

Generally you must use public transportation in London, whether tube or bus. What do you want to see in your 2 days? That, as well as your putative address, will make it easier to answer your question.
Mimar is offline  
Mar 31st, 2009, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for your response Mimar. I'd like to see what I think are the major attractions - Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, London Eye, maybe the Tate Modern or British Museum, Trafalgar Square, and maybe Portobello Road. One property I looked at bills itself as in the "heart of South Bank" 5 min walk from Waterloo Station. Another is "near Borough Market/South Bank". I also looked at one in Notting Hill with the nearest tube stop being Notting Hill Gate. Another is in South Kensington by the Blakes Hotel.
I guess I was wondering whether the first areas I mentioned, which appear more central, would feel sterile and are deserted after business hours. Also, it looks like the latter areas are more residential and would have a homier feeling to return to after going out sight-seeing, but it may not be worth it if it is too burdensome to get to the attractions from there.
lesley292 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2009, 11:37 AM
  #5  
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janisj - Thanks, I realize these are fairly large areas. VRBO has them arranged that way, and I wasn't sure whether one would be preferable in general to the other for seeing the sights with young children. Are there neighborhoods or maybe being close to certain tube stops that would be preferable?
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Mar 31st, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Hoo boy . . . This is a strange post. Kensington and Chelsea are residential areas, not the business center of London. That area is The City, which is far to the east of either Kensington, Chelsea or Westminster. Westminster is the governmental center of London but it is also mere meters away from the West End, which is about as lively an area as you'll find after business hours and beyond.

You do realize that London has about 90% of the population of New York City and is physically larger, right?
BigRuss is offline  
Mar 31st, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Thanks BigRuss - I realize Kensington and Chelsea are residential, which is one reason I thought it might be nice to stay there and then go see the attractions - maybe get a feel for what it's like to live there, see some attractions, come "home" in the evening. But, I can't get a feel for how hard it will be to get around from there with two young children.

The places in Westminster that I looked at seem like they may be geared more toward business people staying awhile for work, but the area also seems more central to some of the places we want to see. Maybe being in the governmental center of London is good and it's not deserted at the end of the day? Could you recommend an area that would be nice for our home base for these three short days?
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Mar 31st, 2009, 12:15 PM
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Even most vrbo listings give more detailed descriptions then just "Chelsea" or "Westminster". They usually include the street name or proximity to whichever tube station or something. That's what I meant by "So where exactly are the properties you are considering"

If you give us the links to the individual properties we can give you better advice/info. Some owners definitely take liberties when describing where the place is. It is VERY common for instance for Earls Court flats to be listed as Kensington -- etc.

You really can't go by just the name of the neighborhood.
janisj is online now  
Apr 1st, 2009, 10:24 AM
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Three of the listings I was looking at on VRBO are 213023, 110276, and 1118200.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 10:27 AM
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Links to the listings I just mentioned would be http://www.vrbo.com/213023, http://www.vrbo.com/110276, and http://www.vrbo.com/118200.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 10:41 AM
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lesley - while the 213023 calls itself "Westminster" and the 118200 calls itself "Notting Hill in Kensington and Chelsea"; both of them are pretty much near the Notting Hill tube station (by reading between the lines inthe descriptions). I don't like that location because I don't find it convenient.

I would much prefer the 110276 on the South Bank
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Apr 1st, 2009, 11:02 AM
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I usually listen to yk on this board. Anything by Notting Hill tube station is going to be a bit inconvenient for the sites you said you want to see because Notting Hill is at the far west point of central London and it will take you a while on the tube to get to your preferred sites (especially because the Circle and District lines are agonizingly slow).
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Apr 1st, 2009, 11:05 AM
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I have to differ a bit with yk on the convenience of being near the Notting Hill tube station. I've stayed in this general area for years and since the tube station is on the Central Line I can't imagine it being much more convenient than that.
historytraveler is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 11:27 AM
  #14  
yk
 
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The OP can walk to plenty of sites (London Eye, Tate Modern, Trafalgar Sq) from the South Bank location; or a quick ride on the RV1 bus and they'll be at Covent Garden.

In comparison, there aren't really any walkable sites from Notting Hill except Kensington Gardens. Even to V&A will be at least a mile; and a good 2-3 miles from Covent Garden area.

Of course, the tube is fast and easy, so it's not a big deal to stay by Notting Hill station; but I tend to prefer locations where I can have my choices of walking, bus, tube to get around rather than relying solely on the tube.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 11:39 AM
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Walking to the various sites is a diffeent matter, but the Central Line is really the best option,IMO, if taking the tube. That said, I've walked to many of these sites, but I also realize most people wouldn't want to do that.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 01:55 PM
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"the Central Line is really the best option,IMO,"

Different strokes for different folks I guess. But I don't find the Central line at all convenient for most visitors - or at least on their first few trips to London. Oxford Street, Holborn, and St Pauls are about the only areas one can get to from the Central w/o changes.

Whereas more convenient lines like the Piccadilly hit Russell Sq, Covent Garden, Leicester Sq, Green Park, Knightsbridge, S Kens/the Museums etc etc.

Of the properties linked I agree w/ yk - the southbank one would be most central/convenient. Its listing is a bit out of date though, since it still says the Eurostar serves Waterloo. Virtually nothing is w/i walking distance of the other flats except Kens Gardens/Palace.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 02:28 PM
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There are two options at the Notting Hill Gate Tube station; the Central Line and the Circle Line. The OP mentioned wanting to see the following:

St. Paul's Cathedral...Central Line,straight shot to St. Paul's

British Museum...Central Line to Tottenham Ct. Rd.

Tralfalgar Sq....Central Line to Oxford Circus and Bakerloo to Charing Cross or Central Line to Tottenham Ct.and Northern Line to Charing Cross

Westminster Abbey/London Eye...Circle Line to Westminster

Buckingham Palace...Circle Line to South Kensington then Picadilly Line to Green Park or Central Line to Bond St. and Jublilee to Green Park

Tate Modern...A bit more difficult but I think you can take the Jubilee Line at Bond St. and get there with only one change.

I agree that being close to the Piccadilly Line is convenient too; I just wouldn't dismiss Notting Hill Gate especially if the property is a good choice. But, perhaps I'm just set in my ways and find N.H.G. especially easy since I'm so use to it.
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Apr 1st, 2009, 02:32 PM
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If only three nights perhaps consider a family room at Premier Inn London County Hall right near the Eye. Haven't stayed there, but many decent reviews on Trip Advisor -

http://tinyurl.com/267sxw
farrermog is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 02:34 PM
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ht: I was only commenting about your statement that >>the Central Line is really the best option<< - Which IMO it isn't. Like I said different strokes , , , , ,
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Apr 4th, 2009, 07:44 PM
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We just did a 3 night stop in London on the way to Egypt. I could not find any apartments on VRBO that were willing to book a stay of less than 5 nights. We ended up at the Lakeview Court Apartments which are connected to the Thistle hotels in Westminster. We paid about $1100 for 3 nights including taxes for a 2 bedroom apartment with 1 1/2 baths and a kitchen and dining area. The reservations desk told me that only some rooms had the extra half bath. The apartments have definitely seen better days, but they are very big and have a combination washing machine and dryer so you can do laundry. Bring your own detergent and be patient; it takes about 3 1/2 hours per load! The view is nice and we never saw anyone else in the apartment building.

The hotel is a block from Victoria station so underground and bus transportation is easy. There is a grocery store just in front of Victoria, and the station has lots of coffee & pastry shops. There is an internet cafe closeby as well. I would go shopping for breakfast things in the morning while the kids hopped around the apartment in their PJ's with grandma. I figured we made up for the expensive room by saving on breakfast and snacks. The kids needed some space to unwind at the end of the day. Our living room area had two full sofas and a TV.

When my kids were little, they loved going to the food halls at Harrods to get things for a picnic lunch at Hyde park. The playground is pretty good and there are plenty of pigeons to chase. I don't exactly remember how close the playground is to Harrods. That could have been two different trips. The transportation museum is definitely worth a visit.

Have fun! London is fantastic for kids.
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