How to find last-minute accommodation in London

London is a wonderful city: vibrant, multicultural and bursting with life. And sometimes, you will be lucky enough to score a job in the city, or perhaps need to move there for school, or even just for a short term business arrangement. But London is also one of the most expensive cities, especially when it comes to accommodation, so how can you be sure of getting a good deal on good quality accommodation in the city? Let us take a look at some of the options available to you.


As you might expect, hotel stays are the most obvious choice when considering short-term accommodation. However, hotels in any country or city tend to be expensive, and the ‘London premium’ makes London hotels especially so. If you are not wanting to spend most of your budget on your hotel room, then a hotel is probably not the answer. This is especially true if your stay is going to be longer than a couple of days.

Private arrangements

Some people like to make a little income from time to time: for example, if a child is away at university, their room can be leased out to a short-term lodger to top up income. While sometimes these arrangements can work out very well, they can also be cautionary tales, with the result that many such arrangements are made only with known quantities: family friends, relatives, close friends who are vouched for by trustworthy parties. This works out well if you have people you could stay with or people to vouch for you to those who have the available space, but this is not always the case for everyone.

Airbnb and similar

Airbnb and similar ‘guestroom rental’ sites can be a cheap and good-quality solution, but they can also be a bit hit-and-miss. Some of the people who hire out their rooms or homes to strangers are practised travellers themselves and know exactly how to cater to their paying guests, but others can be less discerning, out for as much money as they get for a minimal or poor-quality service. There have been some cases of outright scams: deposits kept when bookings are cancelled without warning, for example, leaving travellers high and dry in a strange country and out of pocket to boot. Further, such websites are often intended for very short term stays, up to ten days or so at the most. If you are looking for guaranteed quality for a longer stay, you may have to keep looking.  To avoid any issues when choosing Airbnb, be sure to communicate with the host before booking where possible and check out recent traveller reviews.

Serviced apartments

The best solution for many short-term contractors looking for accommodation in London is a serviced apartment. Not only are these fully-fledged homes – usually flats with anything from one or two bedrooms up to four- or five-bed places for larger families or workgroups – but they are furnished, clean, and packed with all the mod-cons you might need. You can order food in, or you can cook for yourself in the well-equipped kitchen, and you can choose the level of housekeeping that you will need. Housekeeping services range from a quick tidy around once a week to a more curated daily service. When it comes to serviced apartments London is well set up and it will not take you long to find the perfect pied-a-terre for your London needs.


3 thoughts on “How to find last-minute accommodation in London

  1. Great points, thank you. I really like serviced apartments, they have a lot of advantages.

  2. I love London it will always be kind of home as my mum was from there I grew up in Surrey, moved to Wales aged 12 and have a cockney accent!!

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