Do you want to be in the heart of it all or away from the craziness? What about easy access to public transit or freedom to drive your own vehicle? Sadly, if you are looking for London accommodation these are the choices you have to make – or really any giant city for that matter – because unless you are splitting up your time between a variety of locations, you can’t have it all.
Cities are confusing enough without all the names of the different boroughs the locals reference without thinking, so unless it says ‘city centre, stupid’ you may unwittingly end up in a great sounding place but really out of the way. Thankfully though, most places do say that – not because you’re stupid but because they really are that confusing. Okay, maybe a little bit stupid.
Take Tokyo for example. Unlike London and New York City that have much of their main tourist attractions relatively in one area, Tokyo has theirs spread across several downtowns, from Shinjuku to Shibuya to Ueno to Harajuku, just to name a few. Thankfully, their public transit system is incredible and you can get from one end to the other with ease, so long as you follow the signs and aren’t intimidated by the crowds.
Now, when it comes to your accommodation, where do you set up shop? Sure, there are places in every area, but if your goal is to see national treasures and you’re there for a few days, you’d be better off getting a place in the city centre than a place that requires a few train transfers and time. Why spend more of your time in transit than you have to?
If you want to check out the countryside, you’d be advised to stay away from the city centre, as there is nary a major city on the planet that makes parking a convenience in their downtown core. When staying in London you may opt to stay on the edge and use your accommodation more as a hub for sleeping after road trips, which works best if you’re a long-stay traveller and if the Crown Jewels or Westminster Abbey are already crossed off your list.
Best idea? Do a little of both. While not ideal for the spontaneous types, plan out your time so you are staying near the downtown when you want the downtown and on the outskirts when you are ready for the day trips. It can be a bit of a hassle in the initial booking and then packing up, but it makes the best use of your time when you’re there. Of course the beauty of getting apartments in London is that if you do need to get to some nearby site and you are willing to pay a little extra (or sometimes less!) there are hosts of tours and buses accessible in the downtown.