The Olympics are coming and unless you have been living under a rock you will know they are being held in London. With tickets for the events already been on sale since mid-March, the hunt for accommodation from both domestic and international visitors is also becoming increasingly competitive as the opening ceremony draws closer.
So, what are the options for city visitors and what is the best way to go about giving yourself a shot at some accommodation if you are visiting for the games? Most people will begin by trawling travel websites and brokers in search of great deals and locations. Although the Olympic park itself is located in East London, accommodation in the area is still somewhat cheaper than central London areas and can provide a good balance between location and price. Other venues for the parks include Greenwich Park for equestrian events, Hyde Park for the Triathlon, Lord’s Cricket Ground for Archery, and North Greenwich for Gymnastic events.
Staying out of the city centre has both advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, it will be difficult to find bookings for Central London because of the demand which will also result in raised prices. By staying out of the way a little bit and travelling in, you may find that your budget stretches further. Of course this means that if you are looking for a ‘London Experience’ you may miss out because there is nothing like stepping out onto the street, right into the buzz of the city.
International visitors will want to take full advantage of their visit to London and see the rest of the sights and do the usual tourist excursions. Although East London is still close enough to many central London sights and locations, some guests may prefer to be closer to the main attractions. Also worth considering are the events that you are there to see; the Olympics will be spread around different areas of London so you will want to plan for that, although transport around the city is plentiful.
Hotels are not your only option; there are also bed and breakfasts and short term flats to rent which can provide a completely different experience depending on what you want. Hotels will be a more structured and regulated experience, with rooms cleaned daily and full time staff around you throughout the day and night, whereas a short term rental will give you a lot more freedom and flexibility to come and go as you please.
Of course, accommodation will not be your only consideration if visiting the city. There are going to be all kinds of festivals, celebrations and cultural events happening during the games. Firstly, there are the usual tourist destinations such as Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Oxford Street shopping and the Natural History Museum. These are all great places to visit but are likely to be very busy with tourists and city visitors. There are great green spaces to go walk and relax in, such as Hyde Park and Regents Park, interesting markets in Camden Town and Portobello Road and vibrant nightlife and theatre in the West End.
However you choose to spend your time in London, one thing is for sure; the city is going to see a summer like none other thanks to the millions of visitors that will arrive and the celebratory atmosphere that the games will bring. Let’s just hope the weather holds up.
Welby offers visitors flexible and affordable short-let apartments in London with standard and premium rooms to suit all budgets and needs. Based in Belsize Park, North West London, Welby are ideally situated for access to the city centre.
More information about the Olympics at London 2012
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