Visiting London? Stay in this lovely apartment in the heart of Hampstead!

Home Exchange in HampsteadCheck out this London home exchange offer: a one bedroom garden flat in an Edwardian house on a quiet street in the urban village of West Hampstead. This is such a lovely part of London and as the owners say: “although we do have a Starbucks, the area is proud of its independent coffee shops, restaurants and book shops”. With central London only 10 minutes away this is the perfect area to enjoy all that London has to offer!

Exchange Request: Open to offers

View full Home Exchange listing…
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Why not try a houseboat home swap in London?

For an exciting new adventure why not try arranging a home exchange in a house boat? Many are in truly lovely locations and offer you the chance to explore your holiday destination from the comfort of your home from home!

Shown below are a few example of house boat homes that are available for exchange:

London House Boat VacationHouseboat home swap offer: London’s Regents Canal 

Beautiful canal boat on the Regent’s Canal in a friendly community of boaters. Right by Regent’s Park, Marylebone, Baker Street and Edgware Road. It’s an excellent central location to enjoy London!

Home Swap wishlist: UK, Europe, Singapore, New Zealand, Argentina

Click here to view full home swap details…

London narrowboat holidayHouseboat home swap offer: Close to London’s Wembley Stadium

A modern, comfortable houseboat providing calm and solace within a busy city. You can also cruise into central London and moor right in the heart of the city – Little Venice, Camden, Paddington to name a few!

Home Swap wishlist: USA, New York

Click here to view full houseboat swap details…

Hampton Court House BoatFloating home: Next to London’s beautiful Hampton Court

There is nothing better than messing about on a boat on the river in the summer. Bushy Park, home to herds of wild deer, is located directly opposite the house for picnics and walks and the Thames River towpath is a traffic free path for cycling and walking for miles (ie to Windsor or central London). Hampton Court Palace is a 10 minute walk from our home, Wimbledon is close by for tennis fans, central London is just 30 minutes by train and there are plenty of restaurants and pubs nearby.

Home Swap wishlist: Open to offers

Click here to view full home exchange details…

Dutch barge LiverpoolHouseboat home swap offer: Merseyside, Liverpool

Fabulous dutch barge currently moored in Liverpool marina. It is located in the heart of Liverpool, a 10 minute walk away from the new Arena and Albert dock. The marina has a bar and restaurant.

Home Swap wishlist: Open to offers

Click here to view full home swap details…

Visiting London? Check out London’s hip and happening East End!

Brushfield Street in SpitalfieldsIf you are hoping to get in training for this year’s Olympics – even as a spectator – there’s no better preparation than a dish of steaming hot meatballs and spaghetti cooked by Maria Pellicci at the East End’s most famous family-run cafe, E Pellicci (332 Bethnal Green Road, E2, 020-7739 4873). This exquisite, marquetry-lined restaurant has been in business for more than a century. The food is fresh and keenly priced, and everybody sits together so you can enjoy the true East End spirit.

For traditional East End fare, two of the best pie and mash shops with sparkling tiled interiors unchanged in decades, are F Cooke (9 Broadway Market, E8, 020-7254 6458) and G Kelly (Roman Road, E3, 020-8980 3165, gkellypieandmash.co.uk)

Each Sunday, the East End becomes one huge labyrinthine market where you can lose yourself among thousands of stalls. Start at Spitalfields – dominated by Nicholas Hawksmoor’s towering baroque masterpiece, Christ Church (Commercial Street, E1, 020-7377 2440, ccspitalfields.org) – then wander up through Brick Lane via the Truman Brewery to the Columbia Road flower market (Columbia Road, E2, 020-7613 0876, columbiaroad.info) for bargain bouquets and gorgeous shops and restaurants.

My top shopping destination, though, is Des and Lorraine’s (14 Bacon Street, E1), an unreconstructed, unapologetic East End junk shop where true wonders are still to be found. Ask Des to show you the mermaid brought back from the South Seas by a sailor in the 19th century. Not far away is fashionable Redchurch Street – the Carnaby Street de nos jours – where I can never resist Labour and Wait (85 Redchurch Street, E2, 020-7729 6253, labourandwait.co.uk) for their connoisseurship of traditional hardware. Just beyond, in Calvert Avenue at the heart of the towering red brick Arts and Crafts edifices of the Boundary Estate is Leila’s Shop and Cafe (15-17 Calvert Avenue, E2, 020-7729 9789), notable for luscious displays of fresh vegetables and the East End’s liveliest cafe society.

To those seeking souvenirs of their Olympic visit, I propose the Spitalfields Antiques Market, where hundreds of dealers set up every Thursday in the Old Spitalfields Market Hall (Commercial Street, E1, 020-7247 8556, oldspitalfieldsmarket.com) Dennis Severs’ extraordinary time capsule house in Spitalfields (18 Folgate Street, E1, 020-7247 4013, dennissevershouse.co.uk) offers the chance to enter the mythic world of 18th-century London. I recommend it on one of their “silent nights” when speech is forbidden.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry (32-34 Whitechapel Road, E1, 020-7247 2599, whitechapelbellfoundry.co.uk), dating from 1570, is Britain’s oldest manufacturing company. Tours need to be booked in advance, but it is still worth dropping in to visit the shop at this venerable establishment where they cast Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.

Vyner Street, just south of the Regent’s Canal near Victoria Park, has countless art galleries. You can happily work your way along until you find something that takes your fancy. Yet perhaps the most exciting art in the East End is in the street – look out for the exuberant Malarky frieze in Redchurch Street, Roa’s three-storey crane on Hanbury Street and Ben Eine’s alphabet painted on the shutters of the shops in Middlesex Street.

For something more peaceful, head south down the River Lea towpath that borders the park. After a mile you will come to Three Mills Island, with its magnificent, tidal 18th-century House Mill (Three Mill Lane, E3, 020-8980 4626, housemill.org.uk). Continuing on via Bow Locks, you can walk to Limehouse Basin and the Thames path.

For a flavour of Charles Dickens’ London, visit The Grapes (76 Narrow Street, E14, 020-7987 4396, thegrapes.co.uk) in Limehouse. Legend has it that Dickens was made to dance on the counter here as a boy, and of all the riverside pubs, this one has best kept its charm. Just one room wide, it is a jumble of narrow spaces that open out on to a balcony over the Thames.

Finally, as an antidote to the shiny new Olympic park, I propose a stroll around Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (Southern Grove, E3, towerhamletscemetery.org), where a deep broadleaf forest has been allowed to grow, overwhelming the cemetery with new life.

The Gentle Author, spitalfieldslife.com

Looking for accommodation during the Olympics? Enjoy totally free accommodation by arranging a home swap vacation!

Eat on the terrace or in the garden under the almond tree!

Any Londoners looking to escape during the Olympic weeks? We have this charming old home for exchange in the lovely historic French provencal village of Fuveau. Eat on the terrace or in the garden under the almond tree!

The owners are looking to visit London for 2 or 3 weeks during the Olympics.

View this lovely Home Swap in France

Any Londoners fancy a home swap in Mauritius?

If so we have a lovely home swap offer on the West coast of Mauritius where the sun shines almost all year round and sunsets are magnificent, the house is nestled in a lush tropical garden beside a peaceful river and next to the sea and Tamarin Bay beach. All bedrooms are air-conditioned with private bathrooms and have a beautiful view of the river and mountains.

The owners are looking to visit London this June for 1 or 2 weeks.

View this lovely Home Swap in Mauritius

London 2012: what to do near the Olympic Park

london-olympics-2012Areas around the Olympic Park have been bubbling with activity for some time. Hackney Wick in particular is a neighbourhood rich

with community and cultural life. Lower Clapton, a little further north, has seen a spate of new and interesting businesses.

Starting on Morning Lane in the middle of Hackney, grab a bite at Railroad (120-122 Morning Lane, E9, 020-8985 2858, railroadhackney.co.uk). The menu features seasonal food from various cultures, but that’s not the only draw: they hold readings and gigs in the basement space and have a tiny bookshop. If you’re after artisan sandwiches and cakes, Chatsworth Road in Lower Clapton offers great options. Our personal favourite, Cakey Muto (25 Chatsworth Road, E5, 020-8533 5788), serves cakes (obvs), Mr Hair’s Brighton pies and zany art. Bring your own mix CD, like The Hives have, and load it into the free jukebox. There’s also a great market here on Sundays from 11am-4pm.

The warehouses and industrial units of Hackney Wick, at the eastern end of Victoria Park, are home to several creative enterprises. Jamie Lowe’s antiques shop, Imperial & Standard (10 Felstead Street E9, 07754 553778, imperialandstandard.com), doubles as a prop rental gallery, so he can make a living from but not have to part with his treasured items. Two doors up, the Pista Resistance bike shop (no phone, no website, not even a sign on the door – it’s that cutting edge) offers fixed-gear bikes (from £50 to £3,000) made almost wholly of recycled parts (some with beautiful Benotto frames). Swing by for a chat, or an education in the history of road riding from owner Pia. Round the corner is See Studio (13 Prince Edward Road, E9, 020-8986 6477, seestudio.com), owned by Hackney Wick champion Daren Ellis, and currently showing new works from British contemporary artist Nick Waplington.

Hungry? The Hackney Pearl (11 Prince Edward Road, E9, 020-8510 3605, thehackneypearl.com) is a brasserie with great homemade food; The Counter Cafe (7 Roach Road, E3, 07834 275920, thecountercafe.co.uk), a canalside brunch spot, does possibly the best bacon sandwich in London. Those with a fatter wallet might try historic east London salmon smokery H Forman & Son (Stour Road, E3, 020-8525 2399, formans.co.uk), which also houses a bar, fine dining eatery and art gallery with great Olympic views.

The Yard (Unit 2, Queens Yard, White Post Lane, E9, the-yard.co.uk), a cross-cultural project between architecture and theatre junkies, plans to reopen in April this year, while word has it The Hive (Unit B16, 22 Smeed Road, E3, on.fb.me/wyE3EJ), a project and performance space, hosts very cool events ranging from trapeze artists to political talks and warehouse parties.

Make your way over to Stratford on the Greenway, a public walking/cycling path atop a Victorian sewer. If you’ve got the kids, hit story centre up Discover (383-387 High Street Stratford, E15, 020-8536 5555, discover.org.uk) for some hands-on imagination exercising and then The Pie Crust Café (273 High Street Stratford, E15, 020-8534 2873), which fronts as a greasy spoon, but is rumoured to serve the best Thai eats in the area.

Chloe McCloskey, publishing editor of lecool.com, a hip guide to London

Looking for accommodation during the Olympics? Enjoy totally free accommodation by arranging a home swap vacation!

Check http://www.homebase-hols.com for more details on home swap vacations in London and worldwide.

London home swap – excellent location and full of character!

Central London Home SwapVictorian family home, comfortable and full of character. Situated in a quiet street in a very desirable part of London near to Camden Town, Islington and Hampstead Heath and only 8 mins walk from the underground giving easy access to central London, the Olympic Park and beyond.

Exchange Request: North America, Open to offers

View full Home Exchange listing…

Home Swappers – the Home Exchange Newsletter, March 2012

Home Swappers NewsletterThe March issue of Home Swappers Newsletter is now available. Topics:

  • Featured listing: beautiful home in Byron Bay, Australia, a very special and iconic resort town
  • Exchange arranged for the Olympics: Swapping Canada for England
  • Purrfect home swaps! cats – a bonus in a home exchange home
  • Home exchange on British prime time TV: two media requests
  • Home Base Holidays exclusive: join Global Home Exchange for just $1

Read articles in this issue in full and previous issues of Home Swappers Newsletter, in the Newsletter Archive. Subscribe to receive the newsletter as published.