How can I rent an apartment in London for a weeklong vacation?
You ask, we respond.
Renting is a good idea if you are planning to stay in London for a while, meaning for a week or longer.
The best option for short term stays is the holiday home market. Holiday Rentals has one of the largest online catalogues, with a clear and simple-to-use website. Each apartment listing has pictures of interiors and exteriors and a calendar showing which dates are available, with prices helpfully quoted in dollars.
You ask about safe neighborhoods. In general, whilst most neighborhoods in London are safe by American standards, I'd perhaps avoid Stockwell, Hackney, and Tottenham/Wood Green. I'd also avoid going beyond a Zone 3 tube (subway line) stop. In other words, London's subway is grouped into nine zones, the higher the number the further the district is from the city center. Zone 1 is in the city's heart. (See "How can you save money on London's subways and buses?")
My favorite neighborhoods include Hampstead and around (including Belsize Park and Primrose Hill), Notting Hill and adjacent Holland Park, Putney, Wimbledon and Barnes (which are a little far out but which have plenty green spaces) and Hoxton (if you're after nightlife).
Planning to stay longer than a week? The best value deals are available through the 'for rent' and 'to share' ads on sites like gumtree and loot. Another option would be to rent through a real estate agent like Foxtons (one of London's largest, offering a broader range of services than its equivalents). But again this would generally be for a longer stay. Both of these latter options will require you to place a deposit—usually of 1-2 months rental money before moving in—to cover any possible damage to the property.
It may be best to begin the process once you're in London (perhaps staying in a hotel for a few days whilst you do so) as you'd want to inspect the rooms before making a decision.
Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.