Where To Stay On A Budget For The 2012 London Olympics

From July 27 to August 12, London will host the 2012 Olympic Games. During this time, sporting events will be held all over the city, like at Olympic Park in east London, Regent’s Park in central London and Greenwich Park in south east London. To help you enjoy the Olympic Games on a budget, here are 10 affordable accommodations.


Falcon Hotel

Located in central London, Falcon Hotel is a bed and breakfast hotel that provides clean rooms and personalized service. Rooms are all fully equipped with comfortable mattresses, large plasma screen TVs, tea and coffee making facilities and free Wi-Fi. Attractions like Hyde Park, Madame Tussauds, Marble Arch and the lively Oxford Street are nearby. Furthermore, the accommodation is conveniently located within a few minutes walking to Paddington Station, making it easy to get to and from the different event venues of the Olympics.

Rates start at $130 per night. Click here to book.Jury’s Inn Croydon

Twenty minutes away from central London by train, Jury’s Inn Croydon is a comfortable accommodation in south London, located near excellent shopping, beautiful parks, historical sites and fun nightlife. Some nearby attractions include the Tate Museum, Wimbledon Stadium and Lloyd Park. All rooms are air-conditioned with spacious bathrooms, high-speed Internet and wheelchair access. And for $31, you can get upgraded to a Superior Room.

Rates start at $144 per night. Click here to book.

Paramount Hotel London

Located in Kensington, Paramount Hotel London features 30 well-equipped rooms in a renovated Victorian building. Upon arrival, guests receive a welcome tray, which includes coffee, tea, milk, mineral water and biscuits. The accommodation is a short walk from many sites, like Kensington Palace, the Natural History Museum, Hyde Park, Harrods and The Science Museum. To easily get around the city and get to all the events of the Olympics, Earls Court Tube Station is only five minutes away by foot. When spending time in the hotel, guests can enjoy the onsite garden, free Wi-Fi and cable and satellite television. Moreover, to help with budgeting, there is a communal kitchen so guests can make their own meals.

Rates start at $151.54 per night. Click here to book.

London Visitors Hotel

Located in central London in the trendy area of Kensington and Chelsea, the London Visitors Hotel is a beautiful Victorian accommodation featuring 28 comfortable rooms. Guests of the hotel are in close proximity to the excellent restaurants and shopping of High Street Kensington, the picturesque Holland Park, the nightlife of Shepard’s Bush and the tube station, to help travelers easily get to different areas of the city. And best of all, a complimentary continental breakfast is included in the stay.

Rates start at $119. Click here to book.

Warwick Lodge

The Warwick Lodge is a family-run guesthouse featuring comfortable rooms, flat screen televisions and coffee and tea making facilities. Likewise, the proximity to the city center makes it very convenient for exploring London. As it’s a B&B, they offer a delicious breakfast of cereals, eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, toast and juices. The staff here is extremely friendly, and will go out of their way to make your stay pleasant.

Rates start at $125.30. Click here to book.

Cedars House Hotel

For those looking for a charming and friendly accommodation, Cedars House Hotel is a great option. Less than a mile from Croydon Station and a two-minute walk to the bus stop, you’ll be able to get to central London in 15 minutes. Furthermore, complimentary offerings like Wi-Fi, free child stays, tea, coffee and breakfast make this a great accommodation for travelers on a budget.

Rates start at $127 per night. Click here to book.

London Guest House

London Guest House is a reasonably priced bed and breakfast in west London. It is easy to get to the city center, as there’s a bus stop right next to the property with buses to the tube station running every six to eight minutes. Alternatively, you can walk to the station, which takes about 15 minutes. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and rooms are clean and feature comfortable beds. Moreover, there is a delicious breakfast set out each morning of muffins, toast, coffee, juices, cheeses, tea, jam and fruit, all served in a brightly-colored breakfast room.

Rates start at $136 per night. Click here to book.


New Cross Inn Hostel

The New Cross Inn Hostel is a cheap, friendly and fun hostel located in south east London. Guests will receive free perks like breakfast, Wi-Fi, hot beverages, linens, towels, luggage storage and ear plugs. Moreover, a common room with Sky TV, mini-library, plush sofas, two kitchens and in-room refrigerators make this a very comfortable hostel. Their largest room is an eight-bedroom dorm, but for more privacy you can opt for a four-person room.

Rates start at $50.96 per person, per night for an eight-bedroom mixed dorm. Click here to book.

St. Christopher’s Inn

Personally, this is one of my favorite hostel chains for traveling in Europe. In London, I stayed at the London Bridge – the Village location, although St. Christopher’s Inn has various properties around the city. The Village was named “best hostels in London,” and is centrally located on the energetic Borough High Street. This is great for when you’re not watching the Olympics and want to explore the other things London has to offer. The hostel is within walking distance to the Borough Market, the Tate Modern, the London Eye and the Thames River. While this location tends to be a bit of a party hostel, you can find a quieter reprieve at St. Christopher’s Inn on the same street. The biggest room is a 14-bed dorm, and private rooms are also available.

Rates start at $78 per person, per night for all dorms. Click here to book.

The Walrus Waterloo

The Walrus Waterloo is a centrally located hostel near Big Ben, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Waterloo Station, making it convenient to get to and from the Olympic Games. Guests will enjoy free perks like Wi-Fi, linens, a free city tour and an expansive breakfast. For those who want to socialize, there’s an onsite bar with discounted drinks and a lively atmosphere. Moreover, this is one of the best hostels for customer service, and staff can provide great tips and itineraries for exploring London. Depending on what you like, the property offers a range of rooms, from 16-bed dorms with en suite showers to private rooms.

Rates start at $51.72 per person, per night for 16-bed dorm. Click here to book.

8 must-see temples in London, United Kingdom

London, United Kingdom, probably isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you think of visiting temples. In reality, London is home to many beautiful temples of different faiths. To help you plan out your itinerary, here is a list of eight must-see temples in London, United Kingdom.

Sree Ganapathy Temple, Wimbledon

The Sree Ganapathy Temple, Wimbledon, opened its doors in 1981 as the first consecrated Hindu temple in Europe. While the temple performs all of the traditional functions of a Hindu Temple, from religious services to birth, wedding, and death ceremonies, the site also adopts an expanded holistic approach. Visitors can partake in discussions by religious experts, philosophy talks, yoga and meditation classes, and health seminars.Shree Swaminarayan Temple Willesden

The Shree Swaminarayan Temple Willesden is a sect of Hinduism with the founder being Lord Shree Swaminarayan. In the 1960’s, there was a group of people who emigrated to Great Britain that followed Lord Shree Swaminarayan’s teachings and wanted a place to come together to pray and celebrate. The building of a temple was discussed and officially opened in 1975. Today the temple hosts many activities, from group prayer to teachings to English classes to yoga.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Also known as the Neasden Temple, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is the first traditional Hindu Mandir in all of Europe. This temple has impressive architecture, made of 2,820 tons of Bulgarian limestone and 2,000 tons of Italian Carrara that were shipped to India for carving then re-shipped to London to create the temple. The building of the structure is pretty amazing, as it took less than three years to put 26,300 pieces together, essentially like a giant puzzle. Inside, visitors can learn more about Hindu culture through the “Understanding Hinduism” exhibit, as well as grab some Indian cuisine at the Shayona Restaurant and Shop. Moreover, seminars, workshops, and performances for children through senior citizens are provided on a regular basis.

ISKCON-Soho London Temple

While Oxford Street in London may be filled with shopping, nightclubs, and crowds of people, a quick turn onto Soho Street will bring you to an orange and sand colored structure that you might miss if you don’t look closely. This is the ISKCON-Soho London Temple. Upon entering the temple, visitors are asked to take off their shoes and approach the alter in front of them, which features the Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara. Upstairs in the temple is the community shop, where you can find spiritual books, chanting beads, incense sticks, herbal medicine, vegan cosmetics, and more. And if you’re hungry, an on-site vegetarian restaurant, Govinda’s, prepares fresh meals throughout the day.

London England (LDS) Temple

While the temples mentioned thus far have all practiced forms of Hinduism, the London (LDS) Temple is actually a Mormon temple. The building was the first temple to be constructed in the British Isles and the second to be built in Europe. The temple is not exactly in London but about 25 miles south in the peaceful English countryside. There are multiple buildings to explore on the 32 acres the temple occupies, the most popular of which includes a 3-story, 40-room Elizabethian-style mansion. Outside, visitors can stroll around the well-manicured lawns, tall Oak Trees, and reflective pond. At night, the temple takes on a new mood as it seems to glow bright white against a black backdrop.

Temple Church

Most people will recognize the Temple Church from the famous Dan Brown novel, “The Da Vinci Code“. This site, which is usually referred to as “The Temple”, is actually a Christian temple, with beautiful medieval architecture and a unique circular nave that mimicks the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the site where Jesus is said to be buried. The temple was named after the Knights Templar, the “order of crusading monks founded to protect pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem in the 12th century”. Temple Church has seen a lot of history, for example, being badly damaged during WWII and surviving the Great Fire of London. Today, visitors today flock to not only see the famous site of a book turned movie, but also to see the knightly effigies (once believed to be tombs), the beautiful wooden alter, and the many gargoyles.

London Sri Murugan Temple

The London Sri Murugan Temple is a Hindu temple with a highly detailed facade, an impressive 52-foot tower outside, and polished granite tiles from India inside. Shrines carved from black granite give tribute to the deities that are decorated with flowers and fruits. Those who attend this temple hold Lord Muruga as the only supreme being, with his many faces manifested in the deities housed in the shrines. Whether you go to the London Sri Murugan Temple to attend service, learn about the Hindu faith, or explore the beautiful building design, a visit to this temple is religious space is a unique experience.

Wat Buddhapadipa

Wat Buddhapadipa was the first Buddhist temple ever to be built in London. The building, which was first opened at its present location in Wimbledon in 1976, is designed in a Thai style and used for monastic ceremonies. According to the temple’s website, they are the only traditional Thai temple ever to be built in Europe. While the structures consist of the monk’s house and a cottage, the 4 acres Wat Buddhapadipa resides on features a lake, small grove, orchard, and flower garden.

Pipilotti Rist’s innovative video installations give audiences an “Eyeball Massage”

Don’t worry, nobody will physically be touching your eyeballs. However, you will be taken on a unique sensory journey through dazzling color, perceptible images, and hypnotic music.

Until January 8, 2012, the work of Swiss Artist Pipilotti Rist will be featured at the Hayward Gallery in London in “Eyeball Massage“. Through this exhibit, viewers can see Rita’s work from the 1980’s to the present, including videos, sculptures, and installations. Spectators will see a lot of experimental video work that plays around with color, noise, and bleeds. With sculpture, Rist combines everyday objects with video and gives them life as well as a chance to tell their stories. Moreover, her art installations are not just splashes of color and pictures to look at but instead a parallel dimension that visitors will become immersed in. According to the event page, “Rist wants the exhibition to provoke feelings of energy, serenity and enlightenment, and hopes that her work makes visitors smile”.

For a preview of what you can expect check out this video. While there’s something a bit eerie and overwhelming to it, you can also appreciate the creativity behind it: