If you’re planning a temporary visit to London, whether for a weekend break or a longer term stay, staying in a hotel is not your only option. Hotels can be restrictive and expensive, particularly when eating out is included. Many people are now taking advantage of the wide range of spacious and fantastically located serviced apartments, flats and houses on offer in the capital and opting to save money by cooking for themselves in well-equipped kitchens. Entertainment options are often top-of-the-range with DVDs, wi-fi and even SMART TVs included in the nightly rate.
From the quiet residential cul-de-sacs of Islington and Highbury in North London, to the historic elegance of Westminster and the switched-on business centres at Canary Wharf and Southwark, there are plenty of choices (all prices were correct at the time of writing but subject to change).
Axis Court at Tempus Wharf is an unforgettable one-bedroom riverside apartment designed as a homage to Cool Britannia with its traditional red phone box and London Underground wall mural. Although there is only the one bedroom, there is enough space for four adults (a double bed and two sofa beds) or up to five people if children are included in the party. For £129 a night guests get a shower bath, washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, cooker, microwave, fridge and freezer. Entertainment is well-catered for, with wi-fi (which should be fast due to Southwark being the first area to get 4G broadband); a Wii console; PC; TV; DVD player with films; games and toys. With Tower Bridge only 10 minutes walk away, a car is not necessary to enjoy a stay here.
For couples who like peace and tranquility, with the attention of a host who will make them feel like a resident and provide flowers and foodie treats, this immaculate apartment in Islington is hard to top. Built in 1880 and situated on an attractive, well-lit tree-lined terrace bordering Camden, this one bedroom property has superb transport links to anywhere you might want to go, with buses frequenting the area every 1 to 15 minutes. If you are coming in on Eurostar, there is a direct link to St Pancras Street station which is a short, safe walk from the apartment. Unfortunately, there is no access for wheelchair users, and, as with most serviced apartments, smoking is not allowed. Prices are from £114 a night.
With the famous Southbank River Path starting at its door, this Tower Bridge Riverside Studio is popular with visitors on the London sightseeing trail. Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre are just some of the attractions within easy reach of this £122 a night apartment. The proprieters own a seven-seat Mercedes and can pick guests up at the airport if necessary. Guests can also expect Italian coffee and croissants on arrival. Facilities include wi-fi, ipad docking and free local and global calls to 37 countries. There is sleeping space for four people, but the entire apartment is open plan, so there is no separate bedrooms.
Catering for up to six travelers on a budget, £60 will get you a night at these clean and modern two-bedroom Newham Holiday Apartments with their South East London location on Mast Quay, South Woolwich, right on the River Thames. Greenwich village is nearby, as is the O2 Arena, and there are superb transport links. The DLR (metro) station offers a 6 minute link to London City Airport and there are also plenty of trains (Woolwich Arsenal station is a few minutes walk away), buses (which are even closer) and even a Clipper river boat. Guests have access to two bathrooms and a living room with TV, contemporary dining room and American kitchen. No pets or smoking allowed.
Further west, near Chelsea Harbour and Battersea Park is Imperial Wharf and this modern and airy 7th floor two bedroom apartment. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Thames as well as fine dining in one of the many eateries on nearby Kings Road. The apartments can comfortably accomodate up to five people, with one double room, one single and a sofa bed in the lounge. They are completely serviced with everything from a washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, microwave, cooker, fridge, freezer, kettle and toaster to TV, DVD and CD players, and Internet with wi-fi connectivity. The owners also supply clean towels and linen. Prices are from £122 a night, with long-term residency considered, but again, no pets or smoking are permitted.
For the ultimate in spacious elegance, there is this six bedroom house situated in Westminster just ten minutes walk from Buckingham Palace. This property boasts no fewer than four bathrooms, each with showers; two lounges with bed-chairs; a conservatory-study; kitchen-diner and patio garden. There is even a separate kitchenette and walk-in shower down a short flight of steps, ideal for elderly relatives. Every modern convenience imaginable is included in the princely sum of £347 a night, including the latest SMART TV.
Finally we have the £125 a night Finchi in the City, a two bedroom serviced apartment in a quiet cul-de-sac in Highbury, North London, accommodating six. The apartment was fully refurbished as recently as 2012 and includes a king size Warren Clarke bed in one bedroom; two single beds in a second and a double bed in the lounge. The apartments are securely situated on the first floor with full-length French windows looking out on attractive gardens. Arsenal FC fans can marvel at the Emirates Stadium, situated just 10 minutes walk away, while Highbury Fields are only 2 minutes walk. Nearby Islington station provides easy access to the city centre.
Also recommended are the £218 a week flats and penthouse at 15 Trinity Square, situated opposite the Tower of London; this £186 a week three bedroom luxury apartment at Canary Wharf, suitable for up to six guests and this £700 a week beautiful one-bedroom garden flat in Chelsea, ideal for couples. Pets are also considered at this property