Where to Stay in London: Equity Point Youth Hostel

Hostels, In-Room Reviews — By on July 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Everyone has seen it in the movies. From the famous opening Heathrow Airport scene in Love Actually to Mary Poppins “Feed the Birds” on St. Paul Cathedral’s steps, London has a romantic pull for foreigners. Part of London’s magic comes from expansion restrictions on historical buildings, keeping most buildings shorter (no NYC skyscrapers here) and several large city parks where you can ditch city noise with a five-minute walk. Though it’s massive and spread out, you’ll never feel claustrophobic.

The most important thing to know about London’s city center? It’s totally walkable. Take the underground subway (a.k.a. the Tube) for longer distances, but get outside and get lost amidst the winding streets connecting Holborn, Leister Square, Piccadilly, and Trafalgar. Note that underground distances are not measured to scale on Tube maps, so don’t worry if your city map looks different. But any of the underground staff can answer your destination questions. You can also jump on red double-decker buses—a great way to check out the city if you don’t want to pay for a hop-on/hop-off bus tour.

When you visit, stay at Equity Point London, a hotel near Paddington train station (accessible from Heathrow Airport). Equity Point London is also just a five-minute walk from Notting Hill’s famous Portobello antique markets. And if you want to stretch your legs, head south a few blocks to Hyde Park, London’s largest green space. Here you can jog around Serpentine Lake, feed the swans and ducks, or rent a paddleboat.

Equity Point London is situated in a large, seven-floor Georgian style building flanked with massive white columns. You’ll feel British just staying here. Room sizes range from double to eight-bed rooms, so whether you’re on a romantic weekend getaway or heading to London with a bunch of girlfriends, Equity Point London will accommodate you.

Equity Point London offers free breakfast every morning. You can load up for a long day of walking with cereal, juice, toast, museli (a type of British granola/cereal) and a good hot cup of traditional English tea. Before you head off to sightsee, check in at the Tour Desk where you can score free maps, leaflets of information, and talk to a London expert to maximize your vacation time.

Bed linens are included and you can purchase towels at an extra charge of $3.10.  If you want Internet, you’ll have to pay a small hourly, or daily fee but most of Paddington’s local cafés have free wi-fi. Tour Desk personnel will be able to direct you.

Don’t miss the usual tourist hit list of Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, London Bridge, Tower of London, free entry in British museum network, and Shakespeare’s old stomping grounds at the Globe Theater. But be sure to visit more removed, funkier districts like Camden (Amy Winehouse’s favorite go-to) to get a real taste for the city’s vibe.

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