Over two days I spent quite a lot of time on line trying to find accommodation that would suit our needs and budget.
I had wanted to stay for a minimum of 3 nights ( this would enable us to pace ourselves a bit and still give us time to see all we wanted to see) and needed it to be fairly central. Mainly because we wanted to have the ability to explore easily and still be able to go back to have a breather if either of us needed it ( me from an energy point of view and Milly from overload!).It is going to be darker earlier by the time we go at the end of Oct and we didn't want to be travelling by tube in the dark.
I also wanted to be close to the train station (Euston) we came in at so that our first experience was an easy one and we didn't have to get off the train and try to work out tubes or buses.
Ideally I wanted en suite...
I began looking for cheap B&B accommodation - there were an overwhelming amount of websites - trying to trawl through and read up on each possibility was going to take forever.Also the lower end of the market (within our budget ) had shared bathrooms.
Then I looked at Travelodge - you know what you are getting and Jenny (on facebook) mentioned about the buffet breakfast which sounds fab - eat as much as you like and children eat free.I found two possibilities but due to cost they were on the outskirts and involved a tube or train journey to and from.
I looked at the YHA site and rang one (can't remember where in London it was now, but it was early on in my search before I decided to stick close to the center ) to check for availability - a family room with en suite at £61 a night was only working out at £14 less than the Travelodge I had found.
After checking out all available Travelodges - and the travel implications of where they were situated - it became clear I couldn't afford 3 nights :-( No matter how I worked it, it was just too expensive and it looked as though 2 nights would have to do.
Then I decided to look again at the Youth Hostel site. The one at St Pancras caught my eye.Even better when I read that it was within walking distance of Euston - tick in box.It has been recently refurbished and had cafe facilities amongst other positives.
Online booking had no vacancies for the days I wanted to Travel ( no flexibility for us as Alan needed to be at home so he could look after the animals - London visit was not his cup of tea which is why he was staying at home)I rang and they had a double room available but no en suite.I dithered and decided to talk to Milly before booking.She had been looking forward to the TV,en suite and ability to make hot chocolate in the room .
I knew she would not go to the loo on her own with it being out of the room and that would bother her but once she knew I would go with her whenever she needed to go that was ok.The lack of TV in the room was not as much of a problem when we talked about how much time we were actually likely to spend in the room and we will take her laptop so she could watch a DVD if she wanted to.The drink making facilities could be got round by taking a travel kettle and plastic cups, so that was that sorted. There is also a cafe in the hostel so (apart from first thing in the morning) we could head down there to get a drink.Milly misses home so much when we are away so another reason to take the laptop is that we can pay to get Wi fi at the Hostel and teach Daddy to Skype before we go so we can chat each evening:-)) More ticks in boxes.
So I rang back and booked 3 nights with breakfast at a very reasonable cost of £165 (that includes the added cost of breakfast too) the cheapest Travelodge (fairly central but not as well positioned for us) for 3 nights was £100 more.
The Hostel also does discounted rates to some of the attractions which will save us money too.
Family and friends railcard (purchased at half price for £13 with the Daily Mail offer recently) means the train fare is £78 return instead of £138 so another saving there:-)
I have reserved a seat on the train,with a table and near the loo's ( not too near I hope ) so that Emily can feel safe going on her own and I don't have to leave all our belongings...
So that's it all sorted - 3 nights in the big city at the end of October..