Where to stay in the U.K.—Beyond hotels to B&Bs, rental flats, Scottish castles, farm stays, university dorms, and more

After you take care of the transportation costs (plane ticketrental cars, etc), the single biggest expense on your trip will probably be for lodging. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest places to cut down your budget.

You could spend $400 to $800 on a posh hotel in London, go around the corner for a $90 double in a simple, moderate family-run B&B, or check into a hostel for $25 a night.

The variety of accommodation options is astounding, and that's what this section is for: a summation of you lodging options, and individual pages describing each in detail along with resources to help you track them down and book them.

My general advice? Don't blow your budget on a high-test hotel. Treat your lodgings as merely a place to lay your head for the night. After all, ideally you'll send almost every waking moment out and about, seeing the sights, enjoying the restaurants, and whiling away the afternoon in a café, returning to your room only to wash out a few pairs of socks and underwear and then crash after a vacation day well spent.

That means the only truly important requirements are that your lodgings be clean, comfortable, central, and cheap (in that order). Don’t get too worked up over the place's look or amenities. The good news is, that sort of accommodation is widely available—it just isn't always easy to find.

That's why this section covers not just the best hotels in Britain (and how to find them), but also two dozen alternatives to hotels—from B&Bs to farm stays to cottage rentals, with apartmentscastles, and camping thrown in between. There are even several ways to stay for free.

 (Photo by Reid Bramblett, created with Wordclouds.com)

From hotel savings to better booking engines, alternative accommodations to lodging rip-offs, here is the best lodging advice around

A room at the elegant hotel 11 Cadogan Gardens, in a Victorian townhouse in London (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The classic lodging option—How British hotels work and how to book the best hotels at the lowest rates

Alternative accommodations in England (Photo collage by Reid Bramblett; TOP ROW: courtesy of Homeexchange.com, courtesy of Star Castle Hotel, courtesy of The Thatched Farm B&B, courtesy of Toghill House Farm; BOTTOM ROW: courtesy of WWOOF UK, courtesy of Booking.com, courtesy of LSE Passfield Hall, courtesy of Cheval Three Quays at The Tower of London)

There are dozens of hotel alternatives, from London flats to country cottages, farmhouse B&Bs to university dorms, rental rooms to residences, and campgrounds to castles. Here's how to find the lot of them.

 (Photo by Reid Bramblett)

All about how I select lodgings for this site

Hotels links
B&Bs links
Apartments links
Cottages & villas links
Farm stays links
Castles links
Work exchange links


Best bets for solo travelers

Singles can avoid the high premium at most hotels by booking a bed, studio, or single rooms at: