One of my favourite places in the world to visit is London. It holds many special memories and I love everything from the the hectic crazy traffic, smell of the dusty busy tube to the huge array of eateries. I just love it and have always wanted to take the boys to explore the delights.
I was contacted by YHA to see if I would like to review a stay during December and see what festive sights and scenes I could enjoy. We choose YHA Oxford street due to its central location and the perfect base to explore from as it’s located perfectly within tube zones 1 & 2.
I’ve stayed in a YHA many moons ago in Dublin and had a great experience, they are perfect for a warm, clean and cheap place to stay and as a spring board to explore your chosen area. You can even have a private family room (as we had) so it can be as private or as relaxed as you want!
We headed down on the train and had a yummy breakfast to fuel us for our first stop before we checked – Leicester Square and a walk around Soho – these were all near to our hostel and I wanted to Freddie to go and see the sights, so after a visit to the Lego store we also had an amazing hot chocolate at SAID hot chocolate and this warmed us nicely before we checked in.
YHA Oxford Street was impeccably clean and we were all massively impressed. This cleanliness was in every aspect of the YHA firing the entrance hall, lift, rooms and bathrooms (we saw these being cleaned super frequently!) There was some dated cosmetic decor elements but this was very minor and did not effect our stay (I am really nit picking here)
The main reception, accessed via stairs or lift is really welcoming and features a well stocked bar, drinks and snacks as well as having help yourself juices and water in the day. Of a morning this area is the continental buffet area and it was really well laid out. We had several YHA receptionists during our two night stay and all of them were approachable, helpful and friendly, especially welcome to Freddie too. There is a shared kitchen if you want to cook whilst you stay but we choose to eat out and experience more of London.
On our first night we headed to Hyde Park Winter wonderland and this was spectacular. It was a short walk via Soho and Oxford street to the tube and this was a real festive cockle warmer as of course all the Christmas lights were on display! We also had some food at Tongue & Brisket which was just round the corner from our YHA base.
Winter wonderland was brimming with rides, foods, drinks and sights to see. I didn’t realise how big it would be and I definitely could have spent longer here. We all went on the new Big Wheel attraction and Freddie’s highlight was the Churros. After Winter Wonderland we walked home through Regents St to see another wonderful lit up street.
The next day we headed to Liberty which was a five minute walk from our base and made our way to The London Eye. I wasn’t too excited about this but I’m so glad we experienced it as there was so much to see! From here we walked over Westminster Bridge and by chance Freddie bumped into Darth Vader! This made his whole trip and he was blown away. We had a slow walk home and on this evening we went though Carnaby St to get back to YHA Oxford St, the display of lights here was mesmerising and it was absolutely packed.
We headed back to the hostel for a good dose of Chinese food from Chinatown, which again was just round the corner and a good nights sleep. We stayed in a four bunk private family room and the beds were really comfortable. I had wondered if it might have been noisy because of our location but I can honestly say all three of us had a great night sleep on both nights and there was no excessive noise. We also had a great view from our room window and it looked especially festive seen this Christmas lights from our room.
After we checked out on our last day we made our way to Madame Tussaud’s and a little and had a little bimble around Camden before we headed home. Madame Tussaud’s was okay but I probably wouldn’t visit again and really Freddie only wanted to go to the Star Wars exhibition so I wasn’t overly impressed – however the quality of the models was excellent but it wasn’t really our thing.
We really all had such an amazing time and such a memorable experience – I’ve never been to London at Christmas time and it’s definitely a time to go. I also just want to reiterate that I would 100% stay again at YHA Oxford Street – it was the ideal base and really the perfect stepping stone to get around London. I understand that people will be reading this as a review and honestly I’ve been blown away by how impressive the amenities were, how centrally located It was and how easy it was to stay there was a family and we are really thankful for such a great trip. I cannot wait to come back!
We were offered a complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All words and pictures are my own.