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London FAQ: Should You Spring for a Hotel in Central London or Stay Further Afield and Save?

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Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing series on questions that we get about London and our best answers.

Dear Londontopia: Hello! My family and I are American Expats and we are living in Germany. We are very interested in visiting London, most likely for a couple of days in the last two weeks of September. We have heard that staying right in London is very expensive. Do you have any guidance for us about where to stay outside of the city that may be more affordable but that is safe? My husband and I have two children, ages 13 and 9. Any help you might have to offer will be greatly appreciated. Many thanks! – From a Londontopia Reader

Dear Londontopia Reader:

Thanks for your question. My general stance on staying outside of London to save money on lodging is this:

  1. You’ll save money but you’ll be further away from everything which means you’ll spend more time on public transport getting places (time is money!).
  2. As you’ll be on public transport more going places, you’ll spend more on transport (London has a zone system and you’ll pay a lot more the further out you are).
  3. At the end of the day of sightseeing, the benefit of saving a little bit of money on lodging won’t feel so good when you have a 30-60 minute trek back to your hotel.
  4. There are some pretty ‘dodgy’ areas surrounding London which aren’t nice places to visit nor stay.

So, with that in mind, our recommendation is to stay in Central London, within Zone 1 (on the Tube Map). If you’re all comfortable sharing a hotel room, you should be able to find something relatively affordable (think $150-300 a night for something tolerable). We also recommend doing self-catering accommodation and renting a flat, you can get separate rooms for each family member and save money by cooking your own meals. We recommend this company where we stayed on our last trip: http://www.londonconnection.com/

Good luck!

Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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