NOVEMBER 2020 UPDATE: I no longer recommend the use of Airbnb in London, as it’s further contributing to our housing crisis and is therefore hurting Londoners. Instead, book a hotel room with a kitchenette, a hotel suite, or “residences” which are purpose-built hotel/flat combos.
London has some of the most incredible hotels in the world, but if you’d like to book yourself into an apartment (or a flat as they are referred to here in the UK) then you’ve got a few options for which booking platform to browse and use.
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Some things to consider before booking a London holiday apartment:
You might book someone’s home
Depending on which platform you choose to use, you might ultimately be booking a place that people normally live in, so their pictures, clothes, etc might be around the apartment. Of course, if you choose the “just a room” option on AirBnb, you’ll be sharing a place with the Londoner that lives there.
No daily cleaning
Most London holiday apartments won’t have daily cleaning, like in a hotel. You might be able to request it and pay extra, or if you stay over a week, some places will automatically include a weekly cleaning.
You might feel more at home
I personally like booking to stay in apartments when I travel because you can find places with kitchens, living rooms, etc. which gives you a lot more space, and if you’re traveling with anyone else, you can all occupy different parts of the apartment. Great for if you have jetlag and want to watch some TV while everyone else is sleeping!
It’s also fun to stay in a London holiday apartment because it feels more like you’re living in London and not just visiting 😉
Here are six websites I recommend looking at to find your London holiday apartment.
Hotel Booking Platforms
The largest accommodation site in the world, Booking.com, actually has more (private) apartments available to book than Airbnb does. So if you’re still back and forth on whether to do a hotel or an apartment, start your search with Booking.com as you’ll be able to see the best options for both.
I would recommend looking at Cheval Residences while on Booking.com, they are serviced holiday and short-term let apartment buildings that are very beautiful. Their Three Quays location has apartments with insane views of Tower Bridge.
Agoda is pretty similar to Booking.com, just with a smaller selection. Worth a browse to see what’s available on there.
Hostelworld is the world’s largest hostel booking platform, but they also have some budget-friendly apartments to book in London as well. Do have a good look at the reviews though, because these are “cheaper” places, don’t expect anything great… you do of course get what you pay for.
Apartment booking sites
AirBnb is the site to use these days for finding apartments to rent while on a trip away. Locals offer their places up to rent, whether it’s just a bed, a room, or an entire apartment. What a lot of people like about it is that you can rent a room with a Londoner, which not only is much cheaper than a hotel room or an entire apartment, but it also gives you a chance to make a new friend and get tips for your visit from someone who knows the city well. If you’ve never used AirBnb before, have a watch of my AirBnb 101 guide below to get the gist of how it all works, plus some pros and cons of using it.
VRBO is like Airbnb but only rents entire apartments, and they are typCompared to Airbnb, if you need to be rebooked (say there’s a leak at the apartment) they will handle it for you. Airbnb will usually just refund you but you fend for yourself afterwards. Also, if you have any problems within the first 12 hours after check-in, again, they will help you find another place.
HomeAway is part of the same company as VRBO, and they are very similar platforms. Worth having a look at both to see which offers better properties for your situation.
Not sure which area to look to book your London holiday apartment in? These articles will help:
- 3 Great Areas to Stay in London for a Local Experience
- Where to stay in London that’s by the Popular Attractions
Pin this to your London board: