London 2012 – how to score affordable accommodation with less than 40 days to go

As I write this article, the clock on the official London 2012 website informs me that there are 39 days, 11 hours and 37 minutes to go before the start of the 30th Olympic Games.


That awfully nice Fed-Ex lady delivered these yesterday…

We’re lucky enough to have tickets too; managing to bag three for the Dressage at Greenwich Park to the delight of our horse-mad daughter. Like most people we have been following the stories of the ridiculous prices being charged for hotel rooms (close to £300 for a Travelodge? Not going to happen…) but from the somewhat smug point of view of not worrying about it given the fact that we have family 20 minutes by train from the centre of town.

However if you’re not in such a fortunate position (which I’m guessing you’re not – I would presumably have heard if there were any more of you staying over at my parents’ place?) and have left it late hoping that rooms would be released at lower rates, both time and your options are running out.

Assuming too that you’re not made of money and prepared to stump up at least three times the usual rate for a hotel room if you can even find one, you need to consider alternative solutions. While the word ‘hostel’ may either (a) conjure up images from nasty horror films or (b) make you think of overcrowded and unsanitary flophouses depending on your age/previous travels, let us assure you that the world of hostelling has changed at least as much as you have since you experienced either (a) or (b). The line between hostels and hotels is blurry these days and more often than not private rooms are available. Even if you end up in a dormitory the facilities are excellent, often with breakfast included in the price, free Wi-Fi, a cafe or restaurant, 24 hour reception etc. Needless to say the social aspect can be a lot more fun than a stuffy hotel, too.

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A quick search this morning for London hostels at brought up a good selection of accommodation for the duration of the Olympics, but it’s probably a good idea not to wait much longer. If you’re coming from another country you should also make sure that you have your flights sorted, and allow plenty of time when travelling to the events themselves – there are going to be a lot of people in town. The recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations was in many ways a teaser for the Games. Reports of ‘chaos’ on public transport turned out to be details of 25-minute delays which is hardly the end of the world, but there’s no doubt that London faces a logistical challenge this summer. When in doubt, try to ‘keep calm and carry on’ …

Here at Grown-up Travel Guide Mansions we’re even more excited by the Olympics as it now seems that the opening ceremony will feature Britain’s very own pride and joy James Bond flying in by helicopter and descending into the stadium. When we first heard the rumours we were sceptical but there seems to have been a rehearsal for one of the stunts so fingers crossed.

Like 99.9% of the world’s population we won’t actually be there for the start of the Games but will have that PVR set to record…

As well as London 2012, the city has plenty to offer visitors so don’t forget to check out our other articles. Maybe you want to do something a little different while in town, or perhaps catch a movie? You’ll definitely want to visit a pub, so we’ve done some of the work for you in this post.

For other ideas and a whole bunch of pictures, just search for ‘London’ in the box on the right and Bob’s your uncle.