Can you recommend your favourite budget places to stay in London…a good budget hotel or hostel?
This is probably my most popular request from readers and friends so I thought it would be beneficial to summarise on my blog, my favourite budget places to stay in London. So in no particular order, here are my 10 best places stay in London on a budget. Note that if you are new to Airbnb , signup using this link to get £25 off your first booking ( minimum purchase of £55) and Click here to earn €15 off any stay with Booking.com ( Discount applies on completed stays. Minimum purchase value of £30)
1. Caring Hotel, London
If you’re looking for a comfortable, no-frills hotel in Central London with a nice breakfast, then Caring Hotel, London is the perfect hotel for you. I was searching for hours for a decent hotel for 2 nights, midweek in November and anything decent, located in Central London seemed to start at the £70-£80 mark. I then stumbled upon Caring Hotel on Tripadvisor. It had a pretty decent rating of 4 from 789 reviews. The hotel has a good location in Bayswater just a 10 minute walk from Baywater Underground station. Travelling solo for business, I wanted something basic, comfortable but not too pricey. Price point of £140 for 2 nights for a single with shared bathroom via Booking.com was agreeable.
The hotel did not disappoint. It was a quiet neighbourhood. My room was on the fourth floor. It’s quite a hike up a very narrow staircase so if you have a lot of luggage, email them in advance and request a room on the first or second floor.
My room was comfortable. Bed was nice. It came with a sink and also a pod shower which was pretty decent. You have a wardrobe for hanging up your clothes plus also a kettle for making tea, coffee. The other big plus of this hotel is how great the wifi was. Brilliant.
If you’re looking for a comfortable room to sleep in with a social edge, check out some of my favourite London hostels below
2 & 3) Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage and Palmers Lodge Hillspring Lodge
Palmers Lodge run two superb hostels in London- both of them offer a unique experience. Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage offer a more social atmosphere and that cosy, home away from home atmosphere. The common room is the social hub where guests relax on the sofas browsing on their tablets and laptops using the excellent free wifi or chatting to fellow guests around the tables. Both hostels run an excellent onsite bar where you can meet fellow guests and enjoy an inexpensive drink or decently priced pub grub.
Hillspring Lodge, Palmers Lodge is superbly furnished and offers a more modern décor. It’s in a peaceful neighbourhood bit away from the main drag so if you’re looking for a chilled out hostel, you’ll prefer this. If you like hostels with character both places offer a great experience: Hillspring hostel is filled with quirky objects like deer rugs hanging from the celiing and a garden filled with 100 odd motorcycles whereas the Swiss Cottage branch is located in a stunning Victorian grade II listed building. Beds in the dorm are also a standout feature, made of sturdy oak wood , fitted with nice mattresses plus come with a private curtain and reading light.
Prices starts at £16 a night
4) Green Rooms London
Green Rooms Hotel is a refreshing departure from your typical hotel in London. It is the UK’s first arts led social enterprise hotel. This means that if you are an artist or a creative person coming to London for work, looking for an affordable but high quality place to stay, then this is your hotel to stay in London.
The hotel oozes personality and character. The art deco building itself dates from 1935 when it was the premises of The North Metropolitan Power and Electricity Company’s office and showrooms.
Location is fantastic: Hotel is located opposite Wood Green tube station, just 12 minutes from King’s Cross and 20 minutes into Central London on the Piccadilly Line.
The brains behind this pioneering idea is Nick Hartwright, founder of The Mill Co Project which provides affordable studio space at various sites in London. With the aid of London-based architects SODA and hotelier Kurt Bredenbeck, the man behind the Hoxton Hotel, Nick has put together a hotel which he believes will provide artists visiting London, an exciting , inclusive and accessible creative environment to sleep, work and play from. It is a very cool concept.
The Green Rooms hotel features in total 22 doubles, two studio apartments plus two dormitories which sleep 12 and 16 people, respectively.
The rooms itself are clear , tastefully furnished with vintage furniture. Some of the rooms in the Green Hotel feature lights, rocking chairs and throws designed by the clothing brand Folk. The bed is extremely comfortable and there are USB ports in the plugs.
There’s no TV or phone, and they’re not vastly spacious, but the bed is pleasingly firm, and there are neat touches like USB ports in the plugs. They’ve stripped out all the unnecessary stuff like TV and phone: honestly who has time to watch TV when you’re in one of the world’s most exciting cities?
The other cool feature of the hotel is the ground floor lobby that doubles up as a bar and exhibition space plus also is home to a pop up restaurant. Budding local chefs are invited to apply for a 6 month residency where they can get 6 months rent free to use the kitchen and also receive expert tips and mentoring to help take their businesses to the next level. Past chefs have included Johnny Smith from Shoreditch’s Michelin-starred Clove Club, Esteban Arboleda from the Colombian Street Kitchen and Marie Mitchell who runs Island Social Club (ISC), a collective of pop-up restaurants and music nights that explore Caribbean London subculture. The food is fabulous and extremely good value with a 3 course meal plus drinks coming in at around the £20-£25 mark.
The hotel also wants to be a functioning community space which welcomes local residents and creatives by hosting a diverse programme of regular events, exhibitions and workshops.
Via Booking.com Dorm beds: Artist rate starts from £18 and normal rates from £24; Doubles (room-only): artist rate starts from £72 and normal rate is £84 ( Artists: please reserve rooms directly with the Green Rooms Hotel: [email protected] )
Green Room stands out in the world of big chain and formulaic hotels. Definitely worth booking a room here during your next visit to London
5) Clink! 78 London
Clink! 78 is set in a stylishly renovated Victorian 200 year old courthouse in an excellent location just a few minutes walk from Kings Cross station . This is a cool party hostel and accommodates upto 500 guests from as little as £12 a night. Facilities onsite include an onsite bar and also travel shop to help guests book discounted tickets for top London attractions and also assist with airport transfers and onward travel arrangements. Guests can chill out in style in the infamous, wood panelled Internet and PC courtroom which previously served as a magistrates courtroom where The Clash were famously tried for shooting carrier pigeons in 1978, provoking them to write the song ‘Guns on the Roof’. For those interested in the indulging further in the criminal past of the hostel you can rent your own private prison cell for as little as a £50 a night. Cells come fully furnished and complete with a barred window.
6) Safestay Hostel
Safestay Hostel is in a great location near Elephant & Castle tube station and is situated in John Smith House which , in a previous incarnation, served as the Labour party headquarters. With it’s bright purple and hot pink colours, quirky design features and lighting by Tom Dixon-its a very stylish affair. The bar cum common room downstairs is a great shared space for guests with a bar, pool room plus upholstered armchairs where guests can sink into and access the hostels’ free wifi via their internet devices. Beds in the dorm rooms come equipped with a reading light, nice thick duvets and also a private fitted curtain to offer guests privacy and also avoid being woken up whenever another fellow guest walks in. Families are welcomed with the hostel offering private rooms that include a double bed and single bunk above plus 40 inch plasma screen TV’s, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities.
Book via Hostelworld Prices start from £20 a night
7) Wombats Hostel London
Wombats is probably my favourite chain of hostels in the world and has excellent hostels in cities such as Vienna, Munich and Budapest.
Wombat’s City Hostel London opened in December 2014 and set a new standard for hostels in the UK’s capital. Minutes walk away from sights such as Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and City Hall and you are an easy walk from the buzzing nightlife of Shoreditch and Wilton’s Music Hall.
The hostel building itself is fab. Formerly a seaman’s hostel, the building was converted to an traveller’s palace. It features a huge bar, courtyard, cosy hangout area in the lobby and all the amenities a backpacker could ever wish for.
Rooms come with comfy wooden beds, a private shower, toilet facilities and lockers for belongings. They also provide a set of bed linen, a small welcome drink, Wi-Fi, and their very own city map with essential information with all the going-ons in town.
8) Generator Hostel, London
Note so much a money saving deal but a free drink is a free drink (especially in London) : Hostelworld are offering customers booking stays at Generator London a free drink for stays booked between now and 31st January 2017.
Generator London has recently undergone a major refurbishment which has transformed this place in a huge way.
I arrived quite late on a Wednesday night, close to midnight and the place was still buzzing. Reception staff were friendly and checked me in super quick time. There was a problem with lights in my triple bed dorm room so I got quickly checked into one of their very slick twin private ensuites. The room was compact, cosy and very comfortable. There was a clothes hanging rail, full length mirror, comfy beds, linen and towels were supplied plus wifi signal in the room (4th floor) was excellent. It would have been nice to have plug point by the bed instead of in the opposite corner of the room. The ensuite bathroom was very stylish with a powerful Grohe Shower and came with complimentary Waitrose toiletries. It definitely feels more like a budget boutique hotel room.
Downstairs they have a bunch of cool social spaces where guests can relax. If you want to party, they have a cool Generator Bar that organises a number of events for guests. On Wednesday night the Karaoke night was in full swing. Away from the bar they have a nice chillout lounge complete with flatscreen TV and nice low lighting where guests were surfing the net on their laptops or tablets. During the day, within this lounge, they have a nice in-house cafe where you can order coffee and their excellent brownies.
Alternatively they do a very moderately priced ( Around £6 mark) range of hot food and snacks. I ordered a BLT toasted sandwich with fries which washed down with a bottle of Luscombe Ginger Beer. Nice.
The other cool feature in this Generator Hostel is the movie room ( 2nd Luxury Hostel I’ve found to have a dedicated movie room, the other being U Hostels Madrid) where guests can relax and watch a movie. During the day, it acts as a very cool chill-out space where guests geek out on their laptops or sleep off their hangover. Other top facilities include their travel shop where you can buy your underground tickets, book a walking tour and just get good general travel advice. They also have storage room facilities for storing your luggage.
Areas of improvement? I personally would not go for their £4.50 continental breakfast. Your usual selection of breads, ham, cheese and cereal. Coffee tasted pretty awful.I’ve had better breakfasts in hostels plus they were for free.
Otherwise, there’s not much to quibble about the Generator Hostel, London. Love the location, just a few blocks from Russell Square underground station and walking distance to the British Museum and Leicester Square. Bunch of cool cafes , bars and budget friendly restaurants in the neighbourhood. It’s definitely one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in London and a cut above many similarly priced budget hotels in the city.
9) Access Farringdon Apartments. Farringdon
2 bedroom apartment, sleeps 5. Starts from £160
The apartment is in a great location just a few minutes walk from Farringdon Underground station.
It’s in a quiet neighbourhood. A stone’s throwaway from the apartment are a few nice pubs, a Costa Coffee plus a Budgens supermarket.
The apartments are newly renovated so everything in the apartment was brand new. The living room cum dining room is huge with lots of light. Kitchen has all the modcons you would expect. There are two nice sized bedrooms. One is ensuite. There is a second bathroom with shower and toilet so for a group of 5 this is perfect. The larger, master bedroom has three single beds and the smaller bedroom, 2 single beds. The single beds can be joined together to form a double bed. Beds come with fresh linen and also you are supplied with towels. The wifi is free at the time of my review and worked great. Overall, in terms of location, comfort and price, this was my favourite of all the three apartments I stayed in London last month. The only snag is that the apartment has a minimum booking period of 3 nights. Plus you have to pick up the key to the apartment from Earls Court.
Book via booking.com My stay was kindly provided by Access Accommodation.
10) Rent an apartment with Flipkey
Recently in November , I was back in London to attend World Travel Market. I was spending a whole week and the challenge was to find an apartment that offered easy access to the Excel centre and also easy access into central London.
I finally found a 4 bedroom apartment in the quiet neighbourhood of Maryland which is just one stop by an overground train to Stratford. From Stratford you can hop onto the Central Line to get into central London. Alternatively, the bus no 25 stop ( runs all night) is at the end of the street which gets you into Oxford Circus within 40 minutes.
I was sharing with 5 other friends which worked out really well. There are 3 double bedrooms and a single bedroom. Anna, who looks after the apartment managed to bring in a blowup mattress bed for 2 nights.
Anna was in constant communication till I arrived. She texted me the directions to the flat that were easy to follow and met me at the time of arrival to show me around the apartment.
Place was clean, warm and most importantly, the wifi worked excellently throughout the house.
Anna had left some fresh milk and bread in the fridge for us, a small but very welcome gesture. The cupboard had spices, salt, pepper, sugar, oil and also tea bags-all the basics you need to make yourself feel at home. There was plenty of crockery, a nice sized fridge and freezer, washing machine and a microwave for us to use.
The bathroom was nice and spacious. Water strength adequate and it had a nice, hot shower. Towels were supplied to each of us plus they provided toiletries.
Living rooms is cosy and has a large flatscreen TV with all the basic channels. There is a small attached garden that we never saw.
Overall, this was a comfortable and perfect apartment for my trip. I didn’t spend much time inside the apartment. Location was great for me. Bus and underground stops nearby. Sainsbury supermarket at the end of the street.
If I was to be picky, I would say that the interior design in some of the bedrooms is slightly outdated and odd but if that isn’t a concern for you, then this flat is perfect. The other issue is that from a budget perspective, this flat works out to be a good deal if you are at least 5 people sharing. Based on cost of €178 or £139 a night, that works out to be €35 or £28 a night, per person: roughly what you would pay for a bed in a 6 bed hostel dorm.
Hope you enjoyed my suggestions. If you have any budget friendly places you would recommend while staying in London , pleased do share below. ( PS If you are visiting London, you maybe interested in my cheap eats guide to London by locals Julia Rampen and also Steve Lowy Plus here is a recent guide we wrote listing 50 cool things to do for free in London.
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