In a city like London where there’s so much to see and do, a bed and breakfast is often a sensible option, as you’re unlikely to be spending a lot of time in your room. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to London’s best.
Bed and Breakfast
40 Winks, East London | Courtesy of David / AirBnb
40 Winks is a hidden gem, even for those who think they’re in the know. A cross between a B&B and a boutique hotel, this is an East London treasure: there are only two rooms and one bathroom. If you don’t want to share, it is suggested you book out the place and turn it into a suite. However, this is no ordinary B&B – think Georgian-style rooms in 21st-century tones that make it feel like a secret hideaway, with charmingly eccentric furnishings and a complimentary continental breakfast.
The Railway Tavern has been accommodating guests since the 2012 Olympics and continues to be a popular choice for those after budget-friendly accommodation close to Stratford Westfield and the surrounding canals. You’ll find nine twin and double rooms, with modern bathroom facilities and a pub downstairs serving up local ales and British grub. There’s a full English or continental breakfast available to all guests, setting you up for a busy day ahead. It’s also close to the O2 and Wembley arenas – ideally located if you’re in town for a gig or a game.
The Lilac Door, Dulwich | Courtesy of The Lilac Door / Booking.com
Named for its purple-hued front door, The Lilac Door will fulfil all your ‘period-home-in-London’ fantasies. The Georgian townhouse sits in the picturesque suburb of Dulwich and offers guests a home-away-from-home in the form of bright, airy bedrooms and exceptional hospitality. Family-owned and run, you’ll be welcomed with open arms, and thoughtful touches throughout – such as truffles on the pillows, thick towel dressing gowns and luxurious bath products – all add to the experience. Breakfast is served each morning in the dining room and includes everything from homemade granola to organic scrambled eggs – just what you need to set you up for a day spent wandering round Dulwich Picture Gallery or Crystal Palace Park, both of which are just down the road.
With one self-catered apartment and one B&B suite, the small, family-run Telegraph Hill offers a homely base for families or larger groups. Set inside a period home, the decor is minimalist, modern and rustic – scrubbed wooden floorboards perfectly complement the bright walls and vintage-style soft furnishings. Breakfast is served each day from 8am to 10am and will set you up well for a stroll through the neighbouring conservation area of Telegraph Hill. Close to New Cross Gate, it has easy transport links to the city, but offers the peace and quiet of a rural town and the rustic, vintage style to match.
If one of the first stops on your visit to London is Platform 9 and 3/4 in King’s Cross, you’ll love the Harry Potter-themed chamber at the Georgian House Hotel, inspired by the dormitories of Hogwarts. Behind a bookcase, you’ll find a hidden candlelit passageway leading to the bedroom with house colour-themed linens, a velvet curtained four-poster bed, cauldrons and wooden trunks. Elsewhere, the rooms are thoroughly Muggle but equally comfortable with styles to suit differing tastes. Everything on the award-winning breakfast menu is made from scratch, from the baked beans to the fresh fruit salad. Fill up before taking a leisurely stroll into nearby Victoria.
Though this is the oldest house on its street (built in the 1700s) its original features, such as Georgian wood panelling and high ceilings, give way to a fresh, modern decor. The owners have been running the B&B for over 20 years and are extremely knowledgeable about the local area and all it has to offer. The two bedrooms feature bleached wood floors, a serene white and blue colour scheme and contemporary slate bathrooms. Serve yourself a hearty breakfast in the dining room each morning and watch the sun go down from the roof terrace by night.
Arlington Avenue Guest House is small but perfectly formed, comprising two bedrooms (a single and a double) in the heart of Islington. Walk up the stone steps, enter through the navy front door and find yourself in a vibrant, opulently decorated home. Everything from the furnishings to the marble bathrooms and bed linens exude luxury and the owners are always on hand to offer tips for the surrounding area. Those in favour of a leafy London neighbourhood will love Upper Street – Islington’s famous tree-lined avenue complete with boutique shops and restaurants – which is just a ten-minute walk away. If you’re after something a little more edgy, Shoreditch is also close by.