“We can't say enough nice things about Jane, Steve, their lovely family and their wonderful flat! How lucky we feel that our dates in London coordinated so well with their ability to schedule a trip to Los Angeles! Let me start by saying that Jane is an amazing communicator and SO easy to talk to and get to know via e-mails on this system. This was our first swap and as new users on LoveHomeSwap, we needed a little hand holding to get the hang of the site and how it all works. Jane was so incredibly patient and helpful for us "newbies"!! As a couple who looks forward to having children in the not too distant future, we loved having the opportunity to add a few "child friendly" amenities to our home (stair gates, child proof cabinet locks, etc.) and knowing that it was SUCH a nice family coming into our home, it made spending that extra money a great joy. I should mention here that Jane didn't request any of these extras, assuring me that both of her kids are seasoned "swappers", and that they'd deal with whatever was there in the home, without needing us to purchase anything extra for them. Perhaps this is partially a British thing - the incredible politeness and overall low maintenance of being a guest (as opposed to some of our American counterparts who will send a list of "must have's" prior to a stay - but I think it's also a part of the core character of Jane and Steve that they are SO self sufficient and so filled with kindness and gratitude for what their host has provided. I honestly wish all guests could be like Jane and Steve. If you're considering hosting them, you won't be sorry. They're great people. Completely easygoing and laid back. Great senses of humor and the kind of people you want to have visit your home. Their two children are BEYOND adorable! Our arrival in London was the day before they left for Los Angeles, and they were kind enough to let us come by that day to pick up keys and to drop off some of our larger suitcases (this trip is almost 3 months long and so we needed more clothes, etc. than would be needed for a shorter holiday - and being able to drop those bags off on the day we arrived in London and not have to lug them around made life a LOT easier on our arrival in London). And when I arrived to pick up the keys, I was greeted by two smiling happy children who were very excited to tell me about going to beach in California and to share with me an episode of Peppa Pig that they were watching. So, if you're considering hosting Jane and Steve while you are in town, you can rest assured that you'll adore their children, and that they'll put a smile on your face with their very friendly and fun personalities. Now, onto Jane and Steve's home. Again, I can't say enough good things about this wonderful flat! It's a garden level flat - which, for American's, means it's the level below street level. Now, before you imagine the apartment from "Laverne & Shirley" and the little sliver of windows high on the wall, that's not at ALL what Jane's flat is like. There are big picture windows in the bedroom looking up to the street, which bring in a lot of wonderful sunlight. But the landscaping of the front entryway to the building is cleverly done so that, even with the curtains and window in the bedroom open, you're really not on display for all passersby to see. There is wonderful privacy that I would not have imagined could be possible in a garden level flat. We were in London during the heatwave of 2017 (which I'm guessing will go down in history!), so we were grateful for that level of privacy the ability to leave the windows open at night. As with all ground level/garden level flats in London, there are bars on the window facing the street, so you're as safe and secure as can be. And frankly, the bars add character to the windows in the front. Wonderful old wrought iron that matched the gates around the entryway to the building. Let me add some wonderful discoveries that we made living in the lower level garden flat in London. As I mentioned, we were there during the heatwave (when BBC was informing us every morning that we were having temperatures higher than MIAMI!), and although there wasn't a cool spot to be found anywhere in the city of London, Jane's flat stayed relatively cool throughout! We got great amounts of sunlight to brighten the flat up, but I think the upper flats shielded us from some of the oppressive heat, thankfully! In the back of the flat is a HUGE and GORGEOUS backyard with a beautiful English garden planted along the sides. The yard goes back for what seems and endless amount of property and we loved sitting outside and enjoying the breezes. The backyard is shared with the neighbors s upstairs, but in the almost 3 weeks we stayed there, we didn't see the neighbors a single time! So it was as private as can be. We loved it! (And wish we could grow as lush a garden in Los Angeles as they can grow in London!). The flat itself is perfect for travelers. It's comfortably lived in (they have two small children, so as Jane explained to me ahead of time, they are still in the "IKEA stage" of life in terms of furnishings). We really liked that about this home. You feel instantly like you can lay on the couch and watch tv, or put your feet up after a long hard day of touring; that level of relaxation for a tourist is a GREAT amenity, that you don't think about until you come home after that first day of 12 hours of walking the cobblestone streets and realize how grateful you are that you can put your feet up and truly relax. Their master bedroom bed is amazingly comfortable. We slept as well as we do at home on our own mattress (which we agonized over choosing to get the best night's sleep possible). There is a great Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. And the wonderful addition of a second toilet in a small water closet (for American's, that translates to: a bathroom without a tub or shower), right next to the full bath. At first we laughed that there was a second toilet literally behind a door next to the full bath, but when getting ready to head out for the day or touring, or getting ready for theatre at night, that second toilet came in very handy indeed! Jane jokes in her home manual that nothing is where you might expect it to be in the kitchen (due to it being a small city kitchen), but that everything you need is indeed there if you look for it. We found that be VERY true. Even things, like a blender, which we did not see at first and were going to go buy (so we could make our morning smoothies), turned out to be there once we looked a little bit further into the cabinets. And although Jane is very conscientious about pointing out that it's a small kitchen and limited cabinet space, let me assure you that there is a LOT of counter space! So it's honestly doesn't feel like a small kitchen at all! They've just learned to be clever about using the storage space that's available to them. But we made many wonderful meals in their kitchen and never suffered for prep space or counter space, and they had all of the pots/pans/utensils, etc. that we needed for cooking. So it worked out well. The one suggestion I would make to future guests (especially Americans) is to shop like a Londoner. Don't buy food that needs refrigerated for your entire stay in one shopping run. The refrigerators in London tend to be much smaller than we are used to in the States, and so you really only want to buy what you need for a few days at a time. Grocery shopping in London is actually a LOT of fun (especially for an American, because they have SO many things we can't get at home!) And speaking of grocery shopping, let me add some things in about Jane and Steve's neighborhood. It's AMAZING!! We ADORED it! Jane will give you a full rundown of where to get your groceries and the best options for restaurants, local theatre, etc. There's some small grocery stores very close by where you can buy pretty much anything you need or want. But if you go up the Main Street a little bit, you'll find two HUGE wonderful grocery stores (Waitrose and Sainsbury). If you're very athletic, you can walk home with your groceries from the mega stores, it's really not far at all... but I found it just as easy to take a taxi, uber or even the bus up the main road to Jane's street, when you've gone and done a large grocery run at one of the big stores. For us, being there for 3 weeks, we preferred the larger stores for both price and selection. For the shorter term visitor, my guess is that the two "express" markets right near the house will have everything you want, and you'll never need to go to the big ones. But let me also add another AMAZING amenity: Jane and Steve are at the end of a short road that is right by a wonderful theatre, and there's an open air market there almost every day of the week! Everything from farmers selling fresh produce and meats, to herbs, prepared meals, bakers, and even clothes and bags! Such a find! And literally right there at the end of their street! And guess what else is at the end of their very short street: The TUBE! Not knowing London that well, when we looked at the map of where Jane and Steve's flat was, it seemed to be quite a distance from the West End (we are huge theatre fans and went to shows almost every night). But that is not the case at all! If you don't know London, don't look at the maps with the same eye you might look at the maps of cities like New York or Los Angeles. London, for all of it's size and many neighborhoods, is actually fairly compact. The tube stop at the end of the street is the Swiss Cottage stop on the Jubilee line and, just as Jane promised us, we could be door to door and in our seats at the theatre in about 20 minutes (at least for theatre's the main part of the west end). The Jubilee train runs very frequently (as do most trains in London, actually - MUCH more frequent than New York or Los Angeles trains run!), so commuting to everywhere we wanted to go was VERY quick. They could not have been more conveniently located! We loved the Jubilee line and found that it took us through stations where we could transfer for almost every train line we needed. So, if you're like we were when looking at Jane's flat, don't feel like you're going "way out" to stay at Swiss Cottage. As a matter of fact, we loved it SO much up there, that we have it on our list for where to rent when we finally fulfill our dream of moving to London. Be sure to get tickets to the Hampstead Theatre, which is right no on their corner, outside of the tube entrance. MANY stars do shows there and they often transfer shows to the West End or Broadway. Jane recommended seeing a show there while staying at her flat, and it was a great recommendation. What else can I say? It's a wonderful flat. Great bed. Great bath and shower. Full cable tv and an Apple TV, fast reliable internet. Totally secure in a neighborhood where you feel like you could just leave your doors open 24/7 and not have a problem. Let me also add in that we got a wonderful report from our housekeeper when she went to clean after Jane and Steve left our home. She said everything was left in good shape and that it was very easy to clean. Jane even watered our plants for us and helped to bring back to life a tomato plant that I had been nursing for quite a while. All in all, a wonderful experience and we are so grateful that we got to meet Jane and Steve and the kids, and that our dates for a swap coordinated so well! We hope to do it again someday! So, don't hesitate in doing a swap with Jane. Unless of course, you're picking dates that we want to swap with them again!”
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lovely light airy home, centrally located with great transport to all parts of london from the airports to the art galleries.
After a private building entrance you enter in the condominium huge garden where is located our house with its private garden background. Wherever you are...