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Finding Short Stay, Temporary Accommodation in London

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Finding short-term temporary accommodation in London isn’t as difficult as many believe. While rooms in the UK capital are able to charge a premium due to the location’s in-demand nature, there are also thousands of available options, so there’s more choice than you might’ve at first thought.

Whether you’re a professional travelling for work, a student needing somewhere to stay while you get a more permanent flat sorted, or a family looking to enjoy a break in one of the most thrilling cities on Earth, here’s everything you need to know about London temporary accommodation.

The Cost of a Short-Term Stay in London

London isn’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible, either. Properly planned, your stay doesn’t have to blow your budget but it’s important that you consider your requirements realistically.

If you’re looking to save with the cost of your short term accommodation in London, then you may need to think about sharing your room with others, choosing somewhere a little further away from the centre, or accepting a smaller space.

For those with near-limitless funds, London offers a wide range of amazing temporary accommodation options. From humble to luxury, here are some of the best options on offer.

6 Types of Short-Term Room Rental in London

1. Serviced Apartments

Offering a superior home-from-home experience, top quality serviced apartments are the premium option for discerning visitors to London. Providing a level of comfort and service to equal that of top-quality hotels, serviced apartments for short stays in London cater for those looking for a generous private living space right in the heart of the capital.

Perfect for business travellers visiting for an extended stay, a serviced apartment provides a luxury environment with its own facilities. Multiple rooms including kitchen and bathroom are typical, allowing for a complete home-like feel while also coupled with on-site facilities and services, such as quality WiFi, laundry, maid cleaning, and nearby dining.

Serviced apartments are also good for families. Offering a full-sized home-away-from-home, there’s plenty of space to comfortably house both parents and children. Though a hotel may be cheaper for very short stays of a single day or two, serviced apartments, like those that we provide, offer a cost-effective alternative for longer trips that are luxurious, secure and designed to cater to your every need.

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2. Hostels

Hostels tend to get a bad reputation, which is unfair and frankly undeserved. For the single traveller on a budget, hostels provide a clean bed for the night in some excellent locations throughout the city.

There are a wide range of hostels across London and some offer a bed in a shared dorm room for as low as £16 per night. Hostels are also excellent places to meet others and get involved in some of the entertainment London has to offer, with some hostels, such as Generator, designed to provide a party atmosphere during your stay.

Hostels can often surprise, with some catering to families with young children, and others offering excellent private spaces. If budget is a primary concern, they are definitely worth investigating.

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3. Hotels

Jump onto booking.com and a wide range of London hotels will appear. Everything from the relative simplicity of a Travelodge through to top-end luxury stays in the centre of the city. Hotels have been the standard temporary accommodation option in London for over a hundred years, however, the modern landscape has altered that and hotels are no longer the default for many.

For short stays, a hotel still provides a good option. If well chosen, a hotel will offer a clean and comfortable room, dining options, reasonable WiFi and more. If considering a long stay, however, a hotel in London quickly becomes less cost-effective. Still, the wide range of both locations and options, quick and easy booking, and reasonably trustworthy service still make hotels a strong temporary accommodation choice for many.

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4. Bed and Breakfast

The old style bed and breakfast, or B&B, used to be a favourite for many. Often called guesthouses, these are typically family-run ventures where a larger home has been converted to provide private bedrooms for visitors and offer both long- and short-stay options.

As the name suggests, bed and breakfasts provide a morning meal in addition to the room, where guests gather together in a dining room to be served a variety of foods, ranging from continental, buffet-style breakfasts, to traditional English cooked fare.

The experience of a B&B can be quite charming and appealing for many, and even though the relationship between guest and host is short, it’s often enjoyable and more familiar than with hotels.

As a small business, B&Bs are typically flexible regarding your needs and can be more accommodating than other options. This relaxed nature makes them good options for longer stays as well as great for families. Many B&Bs will rely on shared bathroom facilities, so check if en-suite is available if this is important to you.

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5. Vacation Rentals

Driven by websites like Airbnb and VRBO, vacation rentals are a booming global industry.

The concept is simple; homeowners rent out their properties for short-term stays rather than long-term contracted rentals, and this accommodation type is both incredibly successful and useful for travellers. With an extensive range of properties available to suit any budget, there’s a vacation rental to suit most needs.

There are some differences between sites. Airbnb, for instance, allows any sort of stay including hosts renting out their spare rooms while they remain in the property, whereas VRBO deals exclusively with short-term letting of the entire home.

Vacation rentals are not without their problems. With no central overseeing body other than customer reviews, the quality of stay can vary hugely from one location to another. It’s essential, therefore, that you check reviews for any stay you plan, and keep in good contact with the host as the arrival date nears. While cancellations and other “horror story” problems are very much a minority, they can happen.

The variety of vacation rentals in London is enormous and there are some very unique properties to find. With the right amount of planning and research, a vacation rental can be an excellent option for many.

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6. Co-living and House Sharing

Though primarily aimed at students, house sharing and co-living spaces are available for anyone looking for a longer stay in London.

While the idea of sharing a house with others has been part of young adults’ lives in London for many years, dedicated co-living spaces are relatively new and offer a specifically-designed environment with a focus on both productivity and socialising.

Offering a clean, high-quality, dedicated environment, co-living spaces are an excellent option for young people looking to mix with like-minded individuals in London, while traditional house and flat shares provide a comfortable stepping stone between the family home and a longer-term rental or purchase. 

With websites like Spare Room offering a range of both co-living spaces and house and flat shares, it’s easier than ever to find accommodation for a six-month stay in London.

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Getting the Most from Your London Short Stay Accommodation

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Whether you’re planning to come to the UK capital for a few days, or looking to stay in London for a month, there are plenty of options to suit. Here are some things to consider when planning your temporary accommodation:

  • Read reviews. There’s always someone who has been there before, and people are quick to share their experiences.
  • Know your needs. Don’t compromise on the things you actually consider important. If a private bathroom is a must, maybe hostels are immediately out. If you need a good strong internet signal and space to work, then a B&B with limited WiFi and no desk would be unsuitable. It’s far better to be honest with your limits than over-compromise and end up uncomfortable or worse.
  • Consider the dates. Short term accommodation in London is a lot cheaper out of season. If you can slightly alter your dates, it could lower your costs considerably. 
  • Book well in advance. In many cases, the earlier you book, the less you will pay.
  • Check the location. London is a very big city with plenty of suburbs that may be further out than you think. While you will save a great deal picking your short term accommodation on the outskirts of London, you could be looking at an hour or longer to get into the city.
  • Research transportation. London is filled with great public transport, especially the underground service. If your stay is near a tube station, you’re in luck! If you’re not planning to drive, then check bus and tube routes and make sure you give the right time to get where you want to go. If you are going to drive in London and have come from outside the UK, take some time to familiarise yourself with the road rules. London is very strict, with many cameras to catch (and fine for) poor driving.
  • Consider localising your phone and banking. If you are going to stay for an extended period, a UK bank account and mobile phone SIM will make things a lot easier and mean you pay less in fees.

Final Thoughts

London is a fantastic city, brimming with entertainment and opportunities. Knowing that you have somewhere safe and comfortable to return to at the end of each day will allow you to truly enjoy the finest the UK’s capital has to offer.

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