Normally, having my luggage mislaid in transit is not a disaster. In London in particular, the lost baggage delivery system is somewhat efficient (presumably through lots of practice), and in our case, after going through the requisite paperwork after our luggage failed to appear on the carousel, our bags were promised to be delivered the following afternoon.
In this particular instance, the lost baggage was a little more critical. Not only because I was just wearing a t-shirt and it was both unseasonably cold and pouring with rain, but also because I had a visa appointment at 9am the following morning, and all the supporting paperwork I required for that was in my luggage.
Running around London in the rain at 10pm on a public holiday trying to find somewhere to print my mandatory documentation as well find a working photo-booth… well… let’s just say I was a little bit stressed.
And, I learnt the important lesson that if you have critical paperwork that you absolutely can’t lose, don’t put it in your checked baggage.
In the heart of Kensington, a three minute walk from Earl’s Court underground station (direct to Heathrow in half an hour!), we had found ourselves a truly wonderful spot to while away a week in London. With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen/living room area that was bigger than our apartment in California, we certainly didn’t have a lack of room for our hand luggage.
The apartment came with all modern conveniences, including a microwave, oven, generous collection of cooking gear (pots, pans, dishes, glasses, corkscrew, cutlery, knives, tea kettle, etc.), a giant TV, a hairdryer, and much to our pleasure, incredibly fast WiFi Internet. It also came with a washing machine which was great after several days of not doing laundry.
The location though was the real highlight. Earl’s Court underground tube is linked to the Piccadilly, Circle and District Lines, which allow you to travel directly to nearly everywhere you’d want to go. From London Heathrow to Covent Garden, the British Museum to Tower Bridge, you can get to all these places without having to change lines. It’s also right next to a bus stop, and seven minutes walk from Gloucester Road tube.
If you do decide to travel by public transport in London (highly recommended!), then make sure you get an Oyster Card to do so. You can order these online in advance here.
Back to the flat. Being in Kensington means you don’t even need to take the tube to get everywhere. We walked up to the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum in 15 minutes, with the Victoria & Albert museum and Harrods being just a little walk further. All of which are free to enter, which is a bonus. All around the flat are pubs and restaurants, as well as supermarkets and grocery stores.
We mixed it up, eating in to save on budget from time to time, as well as eating out and introducing Jess to the London classics, including Fish and Chips, Sunday Roasts, Pie and Mash and of course, mushy peas.
It was also conveniently close to a number of hotels. Normally this wouldn’t be that useful, but I threw myself on the mercy of the lovely receptionist at one of these properties on my night of paperwork madness (The Rockwell Hotel), and the lovely lady there took pity on my plight and printed out all my papers for me.
The last piece of the paperwork puzzle was a visa photo, and after the Sainsbury’s photo machine crashed just after taking my photo (I was not having the best of days), and then had the gall to keep my money (happily refunded by the nice Sainsbury’s man), I gave up on that mission and went to bed, thinking that the following day might be better for that errand.
To save you from suspense, I did manage to find myself a photo booth, at the tube station. There were even, I discovered later, two photo booths at the US embassy itself, but leaving it that late did seem a little risky. I was also issued with my visa, despite turning up in a t-shirt with my paperwork in a plastic carrier bag. Maybe my tale of woe helped a little.
Anyway. The flat was pretty excellent, and for London, tremendous value. You could easily fit a family in here, with two separate bedrooms, oodles of room in the living room on the two sofa-beds, and two bathrooms. We took advantage of the laundry machine (you have to supply your own detergent) to get some laundry done (better than washing socks in a hotel sink!), and even managed to get some work done on the mind-bogglingly fast WiFi, when we weren’t exploring London or applying for visas.
So, if you are looking for somewhere well located in London, or one of their 10 cities around the world, including Barcelona, Paris, Dubai and Marrakech, I can very much recommend FindAFlat4Holiday. Prices per night in London are from £480 a week and up, which is excellent value for accommodation in the UK’s capital.
Do be aware that you’ll have to add a cleaning fee (standard for services like this). FindAFlat also offer a number of add on’s, like towels and soap, which you can purchase at additional cost at the time of booking.
Our flat for our week long stay in London was provided by FindAFlat, who covered the cost of the stay aside from the cleaning fee. We specifically stayed in this property. All opinions remain our own.