Help a Reader Travel: London

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to MauiThe Greek IslandsPacific Coast HighwayArgentina /Buenos AiresCosta RicaCape Cod & The Islands,IcelandGenevaCanadian RockiesRomeIsraelPeru / Inca Trail ,Stockholm,ChicagoParisHanoiAustinPuerto RicoBrugesSalzburgIstanbulLas VegasJamaica, India/Golden Triangle, AucklandSingapore, Moscow, The Oregon Coast,SeattlePortlandHawaii IslandsAlaska SkiingBrazilPragueBudapest,ParaguayCabo San LucasEdinburghSan DiegoHilton HeadDubrovnik, TanzaniaThe SeychellesBelizeand Miami, and Vienna.

So this weeks travel destination includes London. I received the following email from reader A.K.:

“I recently booked my first award flight, I will be going to London for 8 days in the spring!!  It will be my first trip to Europe.  I was looking into which neighborhood (and hotel) I should stay in London, and got overwhelmed by all the possibilities.   I don’t need the hustle and bustle of the West End, but I would like to be fairly close to the tube or railroad. Unfortunately,  I haven’t racked up any hotel points yet, so if you know of any options that are moderately priced that would be great. Also any off the beaten paths must do activities? Thanks for your help!!”

If you’ve ever been to London and have any recommendations, let’s help out reader A.K. by commenting below. I personally have stayed at the Marriott Renaissance (which is no longer part of the chain) and the Le Meridian – both in different but great locations. Also, while London is expensive, I also found I was able to see a lot without spending too much money.

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I am traveling to London over New Years. I got the Club Carlson visa, and I used their points purchase promotion. I was able to clean up with 145,000 points and had 12,000 in my account to start with and another 12,500 from the spend requirement. I ended up with 160,000 points, For a $75 annual fee and $280 for the points purchase, I got to book in the five star Mayfair. You could do the same and easily get four nights. Or move hotels and get six nights, since the last night of the award booking is free with the card. (We are staying two nights in London and then moving on the Paris to use more points at the Champs D’Elysees Hotel.)

  2. We recently stayed at the Andaz Liverpool Street and loved the hotel and the location. It’s not in the middle of all the tourist attractions, which is a plus for us. Just around the corner is “Duck & Waffle”…order the duck and waffle.

  3. Besides all the chain hotels which are your best bet if you have points, one cheap but great option otherwise is the Hoxton Hotel. Great location, cool hip vibe, free breakfast and I think there are discounted rates the further in advance you book:

    One of my favorite art museums in the world is the collection at Somerset House. I believe it’s free entry on mondays too:

    For dining, the pubs and restaurants on university campuses are heavily discounted. The London School of Economics near the Holburn Tube stop has a ton of great, inexpensive dining options that are open to the public.

    Also dont miss the Cabinet War Rooms – fantastic museum on WWII

  4. I second the Andaz Liverpool. Great property. Just stayed there a few weeks ago. We also stayed at the St. Ermin’s on the first half of our trip to London & Paris. It’s an Autograph Collection property (part of Marriott). Great hotel: 5 min walk to Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, but not in an overly busy neighborhood. I think they have pretty fair rates as well.

  5. If you don’t mind not accumulating hotel points but getting a great hotel for less money, I can recommend the Luna Simone Hotel ( in the Victoria Station neighborhood. It’s a 5-7 minute walk from the station. For London, it’s a reasonable price and it includes a hot breakfast. My family and I stayed there this summer and loved it. The only downsides come from it being a small family owned hotel: no air conditioning and no elevator (you might have to climb several flights of stairs). The lack of AC wouldn’t normally be an issue in London but we were there during the hottest weather in over seven years.

  6. I have really liked the Holliday Inn Bloomsburry and have stayed here for about $150/night.(Priceline) The tube station Russell is behind the hotel, there is a Waitrose grocery store next building over, and the British Museum is within walking distance. If you ask nicely, they will even get you a room with a mini fridge for to store your purchases from the grocery store. All in all it was clean and a great location.

  7. We’re getting ready to go this week and we were really able to stretch our budget using Priority Club points + cash awards. There are a lot of hotel options through Priority Club (now IHG) in London. 25,000 points + $70 a night for a decent hotel. Higher-end ones tend to run 35,000 points + $70 a night.

  8. As any foo kno, the Hampton Inn opposite East Croydon Station can be had for as little as $90 a night. Whilst you won’t get gold plated towels, you’ll get a nearly new hotel with reasonable breakfast for little money. “Croydon?”, you say… “Isn’t that far?” 15 mins to Victoria, which is then handy for both Victoria, Circle and District Tubes.

    So, how much is it to get into London? Pick up an Oyster card at your earliest convenience. A Zone 1-2 travelcard is £8.80, a Zone 1-5 travelcard is £16.80 but that drops to £8.90 off peak (details here: )

    There’s not much to do in Croydon, and if you start talking about railroads, people will think you’ve just been hit by a Monopoly board. However, it’s a great little hotel with Excellent travel links, and is well priced.

    You’ll be able to pick up Gold with Hilton Honors easy enough also (Google is your friend).

    Hope that helps

  9. There are plenty of clean and comfortable hotels near Oxford St (and Marble Arch tube). I usually stay at the Hyatt Regency Churchill on points (which is steps away from tube). Try the Lincoln House hotel or others in that area. Great rates and seconds from all the attractions, shopping,restaurants etc. I stayed here a couple of times and its perfect if you need central hotel thats clean, safe and reasonable. Have fun

  10. If you are on a budget, don’t mind B&B’s and want a more “local” experience, you can try St. Athans Hotel They provide a hearty breakfast to get you started, you can choose en suite or not. It is near Russell Square tube station and British Museum. I’ve stayed there about 3x and have never been disappointed, though the budget route is not for everybody.

  11. We’ve stayed several times at the Base2Stay (now called The Nadler) in Kensington It’s a 5 min walk from the Earls Court Tube station (direct line from Heathrow). For a longer stay, it is a great choice because the room has a fridge, microwave, free Wi-Fi and they are currently offering 15% off on stays of 7 days or more. They also have discount coupons for many local restaurants (because they do not have one on site). There are several supermarkets, coffee shops and convenience stores so you can buy snacks/breakfast without paying for a full English every day.

    Seating Guide to London theaters……London without a theatre visit is just wrong……..
    The shows available
    Remember the entire world (or most of it) has been under British rule at one time…..every land they conquered has sent their best chef to London so enjoy and stay away from British food!
    Finally, do the tube and don’t even think about renting a car………the tube is great!

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