London on a budget: accommodation
Thursday, July 16, 2009
There's no denying London
is a fantastic place, but it does have the reputation of being very expensive. To help you on your visit, Getaway
sent Jason Dundas and the crew there to suss out the best ways to get the most from your travel dollar.
Right, you've got your London Pass to get you around. Now you need somewhere to sleep. We'll help you find something that ticks your important boxes: location and price.
You won't believe this one! The Hoxton Hotel, a stroll from the heart of London, offers rooms for just £1! They extend the sale four times a year, selling five rooms a night for £1 and five rooms a night for £29 for three months a fantastic price for London! The next sale will be in September.
You need to be on the hotel's mailing list to find out about the sale as details are only released about a week in advance. The only way to book is on the Hoxton website (www.hoxtonhotels.com). The sale begins at noon and everything was sold in eight minutes in the last sale. It's a race against time first in, first served!
The lowest rate if you miss out on the £1 sale is around $62 a night. It includes a Pret a Manger breakfast, wi-fi, printing, faxing, mineral water, fresh milk and up to one hour of calls to the UK, USA and most of Europe.
If you fancy being in the theatre district, check out Best Western Shaftesbury. The boutique property is in the centre of London's West End and close to Chinatown. Comfortable air-conditioned rooms have all modern conveniences and the location is perfect for getting about the city.
Best Western Shaftesbury rooms start at about $354 a single a night including English breakfast. Visit www.bestwestern.co.uk for more information.
Another great option is to stay at one of the universities or colleges when students are on summer holidays. Imperial Collect has more than 1600 single and twin bedrooms in and around South Kensington. They are central to the V&A and Natural History and Science museums and Buckingham Palace is not far away.
Venue Masters have access to more than 100 universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. Single rooms start at about $48 a night self-catered, $55 with breakfast and $77 for dinner, bed and breakfast. They are available in July, August and September. Visit www.venuemasters.co.uk for more information.
Some extra tips
It's not the best idea to drive in London
. Public transport is so good, and the city is made for walking, cycling or skating. There are two types of cabs: the traditional black cabs, which are more expensive, and cheaper mini-cabs. Jason was told that single females are advised to not hail a mini-cab off the street it's far safer to go to a licensed mini-cab office.
When you first arrive, grab yourself a copy of Time Out London magazine. It's a great survival guide and covers just about everything you could want. You will also find free publications at tube stations you can't have too much information about the sprawling city!
If you want to work in the UK, Australia has reciprocal arrangements there, and many other countries. If you're an Australian citizen, 30 years of age or under you can apply for a two-year visa. Get started at www.smartraveller.gov.au and follow the links to working holidays. You can also check out www.restlessworld.com.au and www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en for more information.
If you're a regular visitor or making a one-off trip to London, it's a good idea to add an Oyster Card to your London Pass. It will save you loads of cash on all London public transport. Buy online before you arrive and top up at tube stations, DLR stations or at London Travel Information Centres. Visit www.visitlondon.com/travel/oyster for more information.
Budget options across London
Emirates has fantastic, low fares to London. They're for a limited time, so visit www.emirates.com/getaway
or call 1300 303 777 for more details.
Prices correct at July 16, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
The London Bicycle Tour Company
1A Gabriels Wharf
56 Upper Ground
London SE1 9PP
Ph: +44 20 7928 6838
Changing of the Guard
The Hoxton Hotel
81-83 Great Eastern Street
London EC2A 3HU
Ph: +44 20 7550 1000
Best Western Shaftesbury
65-73 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 6EX
Ph: +44 20 7871 6000
Fax: +44 20 7871 6001
Imperial College London
South Kensington Campus
London SW7 2AZ
Ph: +44 20 7589 5111
Ph: +44 11 4249 3090
Fax: +44 11 4249 3091
London W10 & W11
Pret a Manger
1 Hudson's Place
London SW1V 1PZ
Ph: +44 20 77827 8000
Ph: +44 7813 2233
Tkts Theatre Tickets
Leicester Square & Brent Cross
London SE1 9PX
Ph: +44 20 7452 3400
19 Short's Gardens
London WC2H 9AW
Ph: +44 20 7240 9731
Fax: +44 20 7836 3137
Doggett's Coat & Badge
1 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 9UD
Ph: +44 20 7633 9081
Australia High Commission
London WC2 B4LA
Ph: +44 20 7379 4334
Visas: Visas are not required for Australians entering the UK for tourism for stays of less than six months. If you wish to work, you must obtain the appropriate two-year visa in advance.
Electricity: 220V with a three-point plug.
Time: The UK is on GMT between October and March. Between March and October it is on British Summer Time.
Currency: The British pound sterling.
International dialling code: +44.