If you need a break from the norm but can't hack the airfare, it might be time for a staycation. Hit up one of these reasonably priced hotels to get a new experience of the Old Smoke.
This beautiful hotel is packed with restaurants and bars, with Hubbard & Bell, Chicken Shop and Holborn Grind all on site. Not far from Covent Garden and Soho, its 174 rooms feature modern interiors (wooden floorboards, dark leather and intricate wallpapers) so you can live it up like a tourist in W1. Prices start from a very reasonable £79, too. 199-206 High Holborn, WC1V 7BD.
Some years ago you could easily rent around Brick Lane. No matter: there are still plenty of trendy – and affordable – places you can stay in the area, even if only for one night. The Qbic hotel is walking distance from Aldgate East station and offers rooms from £68. And if you like creative interiors, the rooms here are completely potty. Imagine the maddest Ikea designs, with luminous walls. One room has a floor-to-ceiling print of a dog wearing sunglasses looming over the bed. Somehow, it works. 42 Adler St, E1 1EE.
Peckham's Victoria Inn does a great Sunday roast, boasts 18 cosy rooms and is well placed for the Bussey Building, Bar Story, Peckham Springs et al. They also welcome pets, so you won't need to leave the little one at home. 72-79 Choumert Rd, SE15 4AR.
The Pavilion in Paddington has been visited by quirky thespians such as Helena Bonham Carter and Daniel Day-Lewis. Spend a weekend here visiting Portabello Road and Westbourne Grove (pretending it's the '90s and west London is still edgy). Prices start at £55. 34-36 Sussex Gardens, W2 1UL.
Both Clinks are backpackers' hostels with prices starting from £13, and they both come with self-catering kitchens and public lounges. The best thing about backpacking is the other people, so this is a great place to meet someone who's excited about the city. A stay here also offers the chance to explore the new developments around King's Cross.
This Hackney guesthouse has six rooms and a city-cottage feel – full of antique furniture, wooden floorboards, bricked fireplaces, and individual en suites for each room. The surrounding area is worthy of a plunder, with many local restaurants and cafés, long-standing pubs, a newly rebooted market and the canal. Prices start at £75. 123 Chatsworth Rd, Clapton, E5 0LA.
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