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At home in the capital; Roz Laws bags a bargain in London - an apartment that sleeps four for just over PS140 a night.

Byline: Roz Laws

ACOUPLE heading to London for a weekend away shouldn't have too much trouble finding a hotel room.

But what if there are a group of you - friends on a hen weekend, perhaps, or a large family? Finding somewhere for you all to stay together, and not at an astronomical price, is a much tougher prospect.

And that's where HouseTrip comes in.

They have more than 3,500 places to stay in London, offering a whole property for the price of a single hotel room.

I stayed in an apartment in Greenwich which could sleep four comfortably - or five if you used the sofa - for just PS141 a night.

The location was ideal, right on the Thames and with a balcony offering river views. Having breakfast out there on a sunny morning, watching the traffic on the water and the Emirates Air Line cable cars go back and forth, was a wonderful start to the day.

It was also just 15 minutes walk from North Greenwich Tube station and the O2 Arena.

Last time I went there, it was called the Millennium Dome and featured an odd exhibition.

It was in the middle of nowhere but the wasteland is now full of smart apartment blocks, with new ones going up all the time - it's quiet at the weekend, but be prepared for building site noise in the week.

The iconic dome itself is now a huge concert venue and bustling nightspot with plenty of restaurants and entertainment. We had pre-concert drinks and snacks, plus a couple of games of ten pin bowling, at Brooklyn Bowl.

The concert was by Dolly Parton and the queen of country was simply magnificent.

And how nice to stroll back to our flat afterwards, instead of having to queue for the Tube.

HouseTrip has more than 320,000 homes to choose from in 20,000 destinations worldwide, with many properties in France. Each one is screened by the company and the homeowners are only paid after you have checked in and are happy with your accommodation. There is a multilingual service team on hand to help, 24 hours a day.

Our modern flat had two double bedrooms and two bathrooms, with free wi-fi and smart, minimalist decor. To be honest, it was a little too stark and not particularly well stocked, without many home comforts. I imagine some of the other HouseTrip properties offer more of a cosy 'home away from home' feel.

The next day we set out to discover more of what Greenwich has to offer. A nice way to get to the Royal Borough is by boat, catching the Thames Clipper which runs regularly, and drops you off by the Cutty Sark. The 19th century tea clipper has been lovingly restored after a fire and is worth a visit, especially by children who will love the fun interactive activity on board.

There's plenty of other things to see in Greenwich, including the Old Royal Naval College. Its chapel, with its intricate Wedgewood blue plaster ceiling, featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The Painted Hall is now a favourite for wedding receptions.

Worth the hike up the hill, through the beautifully maintained green space of Greenwich Park - London's oldest, first enclosed in 1433 - is the Royal Observatory.

This is officially 'the home of time', where the zero longitude Greenwich Meridian line is marked by line and laser. Everywhere else in the world takes its time from here, and there's a pretty good view.

At Greenwich Market it feels like you can eat something from everywhere in the world.

As well as stalls selling fabulous arts and crafts, there are food stalls offering everything from Ethiopian to Brazilian fare.

We opted for a delicious Smokey Louisiana hot dog with all the trimmings, quite unlike any hot dog I've had before. Dinner was a more refined, but delicious, affair at the Rivington Grill in the middle of Greenwich. The emphasis is on simple, seasonal British dishes, and children up to 12 eat free.

Not a road trip, then, but a HouseTrip. What a capital idea.

FACTFILE | ROZ LAWS visited Greenwich as a guest of HouseTrip, whose rates vary depending on property. See the range at www.housetrip.com | For information on what to do in Greenwich, go to www.visitgreenwich.org.uk | To see what's on at the O2 click www.theo2.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

From the balcony you can watch the boats on the river before heading out to explore sights such as the Cutty Sark, above right

The Greenwich apartment overlooks the Thames
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 16, 2014
Words:764
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