Hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, rural inns, or luxurious country houses—there's a style and price to suit most travelers. Wherever you stay, make reservations well in advance.
Our local writers vet every hotel to recommend the best overnights in each price category, from budget to expensive. Unless otherwise specified, you can expect private bath, phone, and TV in your room.
Lodgings are indicated in the text by . Throughout Britain, lodging prices often include breakfast of some kind, but this is generally not the case in London.
Apartment and House Rentals
If you deal directly with local agents, get a recommendation from someone who’s used the company. Unlike with hotels, there's no accredited system for apartment-rental standards.
B&Bs can be a good budget option, and will also help you meet the locals. Cottages, unlike B&Bs, usually do not provide breakfast.
Bed & Breakfast.com. Bed & Breakfast.com 512/322–2710; www.bedandbreakfast.com.
The Bed and Breakfast Club. The Bed and Breakfast Club 01243/370692; www.thebedandbreakfastclub.co.uk.
Wolsey Lodges. Wolsey Lodges 01473/822058; www.wolseylodges.com.
Classic Cottages. 01326/555555; www.classic.co.uk.
National Trust Cottages. 344/335–1287; 870/458–4422; www.nationaltrustholidays.org.uk.
Rural Retreats. Rural Retreats 01386/897262; www.ruralretreats.co.uk.
VisitBritain. VisitBritain 0207/578–1000; www.visitbritain.com.
Farm & Cottage Holidays UK. Farm & Cottage Holidays UK 01237/459–888; www.holidaycottages.co.uk.
Farm Stay UK. Farm Stay UK 024/7669–6909; www.farmstayuk.co.uk.
Celtic Castles. Celtic Castles 01422/323200; www.celticcastles.com.
English Heritage. English Heritage 0370/333–1181; www.english-heritage.org.uk.
Landmark Trust. Landmark Trust 01628/825920; www.landmarktrust.org.uk.
National Trust. National Trust 0870/458–4422; 800/913–6565; www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk.
Portmeirion Cottages. Portmeirion Cottages 01766/770000; www.portmeirion-village.com.
Rural Retreats. Rural Retreats 01386/897198; www.ruralretreats.co.uk.
Stately Holiday Cottages. Stately Holiday Cottages 01638/660066; www.statelyholidaycottages.co.uk.
Unique Home Stays. Unique Home Stays 01637/881183; www.uniquehomestays.com.
Vivat Trust. Vivat Trust 01981/550753; www.vivat-trust.org.
With a direct home exchange you stay in someone else's home while they stay in yours. Some outfits handle vacation homes, so you're staying in someone's vacant weekend place. Home Exchange.com offers a one-year membership for $101; HomeLink International costs $89 for an annual online membership, which includes a directory listing; and Intervac U.S. offers international membership for $99.
Home Exchange.com. Home Exchange.com 800/877–8723; www.homeexchange.com.
HomeLink International. HomeLink International 800/638–3841; www.homelink-usa.org.
Intervac. Intervac. 866/884–7567; www.intervac-homeexchange.com.
Although the decor may be basic, some hostels in England and Wales are in extraordinary locations, and others are simply beautiful. You can stay in them no matter what your age.
The Meninger hotel group has taken over what used to be the Boy Scout headquarters, Baden-Powell House, and offers dorm rooms from as little as $17.
Most hotels have rooms with "ensuite" bathrooms—as private bathrooms are called—although some B&Bs may have only washbasins; in this case, showers and toilets are usually down the hall. Especially in London, rooms and bathrooms may be smaller than those you find in the United States.
Besides familiar international chains, England has some local chains that are worth a look; they provide rooms from the less expensive (the basic but bargain Travelodge and the slightly more upscale Premier Inn are the most widespread, with the latter and Jurys Inns offering good value in city centers) to the trendy (ABode, Hotel du Vin, Malmaison).
ABode. ABode www.abodehotels.co.uk.
Hotel du Vin. Hotel du Vin 0871/943–0345; www.hotelduvin.com.
Jurys Inn. Jurys Inn 0870/410–0800; www.jurysinn.com.
Malmaison. Malmaison 0871/941–0350; www.malmaison.com.
Premier Inn. Premier Inn 0333/003–0025; www.premierinn.com.
Travelodge. Travelodge 0871/984–8484; 800/525–4055; www.travelodge.co.uk.
Hotel Grading System
Hotels, guesthouses, inns, and B&Bs in the United Kingdom are all graded from one to five stars by the tourism board, VisitBritain. Basically, the more stars a property has, the more amenities it has, and the facilities will be of a higher standard. It's a fairly good reflection of lodging from small B&Bs up to palatial hotels. The most luxurious hotels will have five stars; a simple, clean, acceptable hostelry will have one star.
Discounts and Deals
Hotel rates in major cities tend to be cheapest on weekends, whereas rural hotels are cheapest on weeknights. The lowest occupancy is between November and April, so hotels lower their prices substantially during these months.
Lastminute.com offers deals on hotel rooms all over the United Kingdom. VisitLondon.com, London's official website, has some good deals.
Lastminute.com. Lastminute.com 0800/083–4000; www.lastminute.com.