Help us find a place to stay for family of five in London

 

GO READER GO: JOAN SCALESanswers your travel questions

Q I am writing this in desperation, having spent many fruitless hours trying to find hotel or self-catering accommodation in London for a family of two adults and three children, aged between seven and nine, from July 25th to 31st. It seems that there is a policy that a family room only takes two adults and two children, and we are being asked to book two rooms, which makes the holiday very expensive. The idea for the trip was to take three Lego-crazy boys to visit Legoland in Windsor and to take in some of London. We booked flights earlier this year with Ryanair, flying to Stansted.

NM, Kerry

Finding rooms for five is very difficult, and not just in London. The site www.sleeps5.com has a list of properties with rooms for five, plus reviews from people who have stayed in the various places. The Irish site www.hostelworld.com has a selection of budget accommodation in London, some of which can sleep five. Also, you could try self-catering options on www.citybaseapartments.com, www.chevalgroup.com and www.holiday-rentals.com.

In summer the London School of Economics rents student accommodation to visitors. It has a good selection of properties, including self-catering apartments. Expect to pay about £160 (€185) per night via www.lsevacations.co.uk. See www.visitlondon.com for ideas of things to do in London.

Legoland is accessible by rail from Paddington and Waterloo stations, and you can buy combined rail and park tickets. You can also book accommodation in hotels and apartments near Legoland that include park entrance fees, discounts on food and free in-room movies. Some of the hotels also have good facilities for children, such as pools and leisure centres. The prices range from £223 to £294 per night (about €260 to €343). See www.legoland.co.uk.

Q My husband and I are going to Stockholm soon for three nights, travelling with Ryanair. I was concerned to discover that we will be flying into Skavsta Airport, a long way from Stockholm, as our flight won’t arrive until 8pm. I’m assuming there will be a bus to bring us to Stockholm and back again four days later. Can you tell me how long it takes and how much the tickets are, as it will add considerably to the cost of the holiday? Also, does it leave us close to transport links in the city centre?

FD, Dublin

Skavsta Airport is 100km south of Stockholm, with a bus service that runs from the airport to the city’s main bus terminal and back. The journey takes about an hour and 20 minutes.

There are buses that will get you to Stockholm the same night. You can check the timetable on www.flygbussarna.se.

Return tickets cost 199 Swedish kronor (about €18).

Q I had hoped to go to Italy on a half-board package holiday for two weeks in July or August with my three teenage children. Due to financial constraints, however, I have had to cancel it. I am trying to find flights and an apartment instead. Are you aware of any website that could help? My preference would be a town or city in Italy, Spain or France.

AC, Wicklow

Ryanair and Aer Lingus are both having sales all through the summer, so you could be lucky and pick up some good-value flights if you check their websites regularly. Flexibility is the key to getting a good deal. If you see good-value seats, grab them. The second half of August is better value than the first two weeks.

Many accommodation providers are also more flexible about dates nowadays. To find self-catering accommodation around Europe, try www.ownersdirect.net, www.selfcatering.co.uk, www.holidaylets.net, www.holidayhomesdirect.ie and www.homelidays.com.

Accommodation tends to be cheaper in Spain than in France or Italy. The internet travel agent www.youtravel. com has offers on both self-catering and catered accommodation in resorts in Europe.

You should also keep an eye on the deals from the main tour operators, as there are some offers around that may work out just as good value. For example, Budget Travel has two weeks in Majorca for less than €500 in August. See www.holidaysonline.ie for a good overview of availability and prices.

Go Contact: E-mail questions, with your name and address, to jscales@irishtimes.com.