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The Rough Guide to Britain
by Robert Andrews, Jules Brown, Rob Humphreys, Phil Lee, Donald Reid
  If ever a nation were both hostage to and beneficiary of its history, it’s Britain. The single most important thing to remember when travelling here is that you’re visiting not one country, but three: England, Wales and Scotland. For visitors foreign and domestic, that means contending with three capital cities (London, Cardiff and Edinburgh) and three sets of national identity - not to mention the myriad accent shifts as you move between them. More information and prices from: - US dollars - Canadian dollars - British pounds - Euros - Euros

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Staying in London for Less

by Polly Larner

May 2003 - London is one of the world’s most exciting cities – but is it possible to find reasonably priced accommodation there? Once you start delving you soon find that there are all sorts of good-value options, including bed and breakfasts, budget hotels, apartments, hostels and university residences, often with a lot more character than their more expensive hotel counterparts.

What could be more elegant than the house, in fashionable Knightsbridge, where writer Virginia Woolf was born in 1882 and spent her childhood? Situated in a quiet close, once also home to statesman Sir Winston Churchill, a stay costs £75 in a room for two, including a full breakfast served in the sitting room. It is one of dozens of bed and breakfast properties on the books of b&b agency At Home In London, itself one of several such agencies offering an en-suite room for two or more guests in private homes for less than £95 per night with breakfast. Depending on location and type of accommodation, the agencies’ prices start as low as £19 per person.

B&B is a particularly British way of enjoying good, comfortable accommodation with a home-from-home feeling. Many visitors are surprised to discover such a wide range on offer in a bustling city like London: agencies such as Bed & Breakfast GB, London Homestead Services, Host & Guest, Uptown Reservations and Welcome Homes have portfolios of accommodation in small guest-houses or with families, some centrally-located, some in accessible suburbs, all offering a warm welcome to visitors. With B&B GB, under-7s go free.

Self-catering apartments are ideal for those on a budget and West London’s Clarendon House Apartments, about 30 minutes by Underground from Piccadilly Circus, has fully-equipped flats available from around £250 per week. Westminster University Halls of Residence offer self-catering summer stays in central locations such as Victoria, Waterloo and the City (plus charming Highgate – one of London’s ‘villages’ near Hampstead Heath) – at prices from £21.

As in any big city, accommodation is less expensive if you are prepared to travel to reach the centre. Hotels are springing up in Docklands, near Canary Wharf, with its waterside restaurants, concert-hall and shopping, at amazingly good-value prices. Here and in other easy to reach locations such as Greenwich and Kew (some are in central London, too) are hotel chains such as Formule 1, Etap, Ibis - all part of the Accor Hotel group; Travel Inn, Travelodge and Holiday Inn Express –– with en-suite rooms sleeping up to four at between £27.50 and £83 per night. Breakfast may not be served in the traditional way: it could be in the café next door or from the bar, but for the budget-conscious these hotels offer a superb deal.

Younger - and young-in-heart - travellers may find one of London’s newest hotels is ideal for them. The Piccadilly Hotel, beside Piccadilly Circus, is a backpackers’ dream, with dormitory beds available at £12 per night, including breakfast and linen. There are twin and family rooms, too; a lounge with 100-channel TV and an internet suite. Fresh, smart and sunny, this hostel opened in early 2003 and already promises to be as popular as the longer established St. Christopher’s Inns group with its flagship hostel on the South Bank, or The Generator. Bookable online with beds from £10 (£23 for a twin room) and cooking facilities available as well as a café providing hot meals, The Generator is near the British Museum and is definitely a fun place to stay - its bar offering nightly entertainment .

The smaller hotel groups, such as Fullers Hotels (rooms available at weekends for £85) with their excellent pub-restaurants attached, bring a flavour of old London to their guests. They include the Chamberlain near Tower Bridge and the Sanctuary House near Westminster Abbey, with its ale-and-pie house on the ground floor.

London has many small hotels, generally clustering around main rail termini such as Victoria or King’s Cross, or in Bloomsbury and cosmopolitan Earl’s Court. Some are family-run, most fully accredited to the London Tourist Board (do check before booking) and so of good standard. In Hammersmith, just 15 minutes by Underground from Piccadilly Circus, are two excellent establishments. The Brook Hotel has a bar and sitting room for guests opening on to the garden and costs £85 for an en-suite double/twin including full English breakfast. The St. Peter’s Hotel not far from Shepherd’s Bush and just 20 minutes from the centre, is justly popular with aircrew on stop-over because of its delicious English breakfasts and its friendly and high-quality service. An en-suite double/twin costs £75 per night including breakfast.

Last but not least, those seeking value-for-money can live like a lord. One of b&b agency Uptown Reservations’ hosts opens his elegant home to guests at £95 per room - and is indeed a Lord!

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The AA Hotel Guide 2004
Now in its 37th edition, this title covers a wide range, with details of over 800 budget hotels. All the establishments are professionally inspected and rated and range from motorway lodges to luxury hotels. There is a special aditional feature offering information specifically for those less mobile, such as the elderly, or those with disabilities. The book features an improved, larger scale atlas section of London and the "AA's Top 200 Hotels in Britain and Ireland" - a selection recognizing the very best in the guide. There are features on places with connections to famous people - from Mary, Queen of Scots to Charles Dickens - and extra nformation on AA top award winners. The book gives up-to-date details of prices, credit cards accepted and facilities and reservation telephone numbers.
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The Rough Guide to Wales
by Mike Parker, Paul Whitfield
Wales is the most beguiling part of the British Isles. Even its comparative anonymity serves it well: where the tourist dollar has swept away some of the more gritty aspects of local life in parts of Ireland and Scotland, reducing ancient cultures to misty Celtic pastiche, Wales remains brittle and brutal enough to be real, and diverse enough to remain endlessly interesting. Within its small mass of land, Wales boasts some stunning physical attributes. Its mountain ranges, ragged coastline, lush valleys and old-fashioned market towns all invite long and repeated visits. The culture, too, is compelling, whether in its Welsh- or English-language manifestations, its Celtic or its industrial traditions, its ancient cornerstones of belief or its contemporary chutzpah.
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