It’s fair to say London is at the absolute forefront of hostel culture. The city is now filled to the brim with new and creative spaces that make traveling on a budget more fun and convenient than ever. Think old renovated mansions and courthouses still donned with Victorian-era decór and vintage wood paneling. Think bright, contemporary sofa lounges and funky basement bars. Think free coffee, very, very fast WiFi, and proceeds that go to charity. With the costs of travel in London generally through the roof, hostels are a good way to dampen the blow to your wallet. Here are the six best hostels in London.
The Generator Hostel is consistently rated as one of the best hostels for solo travelers looking to socialize in a great location. Situated super close to Russell Square underground station and King’s Cross underground and mainline stations, Generator is also within walking distance of the British Library and the British Museum. In general, the area is great for anyone interested in theater, entertainment, and history.
Starting out at about $15 for a dorm bed, it’s definitely one of the cheaper options in the city of London (but the rooms are pretty cramped). Amenities include a bar, a restaurant, a mini nightclub, free WiFi and 24-hour check-in. Breakfast usually involves bread rolls, fruit, some deli meat, and yogurt.
Wombat’s City Hostel
Wombat’s is a vintage-style hostel located in the heart of London. It’s part of a larger chain that’s well-known for its top-class service and comfortable, convenient amenities — these guys know how to run a hostel. There’s a huge bar downstairs and everything is covered in an old oak wood that gives the place a warm, cozy atmosphere. Really, the only downside of Wombat’s city hostel is the lack of free breakfast.
Dorms beds are a bit pricier here (dorm beds start out at $23) most likely because of the location. If you’re looking to get some sightseeing done and visit some national monuments like the Tower Bridge, definitely consider Wombat’s.
Clink78 is widely regarded as the best party hostel in all of London. Located in a repurposed, centuries-old King’s Cross courthouse building, it’s a pretty novel spot (The Clash actually stood on trial here in 1978 for illegally shooting pigeons from the roof of their rehearsal space). Old courtrooms are now wide-opened lounge areas, and you can even request to stay in a vintage jail cell. Downstairs is where the magic happens — the basement bar is where you’ll find DJ sets and live music most nights of the week.
Depending on the season, dorm beds can be as cheap as $16, but you can pay all the way up to $90 for a private room. The continental breakfast of toast, cereal, and tea is pretty bare-bones and is probably not unlike what the former inmates were served. That being said, the other amenities they host like a free walking tour definitely make up for it. Pro tip: bring some earplugs as a stay at Clink comes with a fair share of noise.
Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage
Located in the north London neighborhood of Brent, Palmers Lodge is an old Victorian-era mansion that keeps the plush tradition going with 5-star amenities. The interior decor is definitely charming with tons of character, and there’s plenty of common spaces where you can sprawl out on sofas and mingle with other travelers.
For as little as $14 you can get a bed in a shared room with 28 other people, or opt for a private room and feel as comfortable as an 18th-century aristocrat. As for location, Palmers Lodge is within walking distance of the Swiss Cottage metro stop and the famous Camden Market.
Astor Hyde Park
Astor Hyde Park is a no-frills hostel located in the heart of downtown that’s based in an old renovated red brick townhouse. Many of the original features are still in the house, so it has a fun vintage feel. There’s a handful of great museums in the area, and the hostel is within a 45-minute walk from Oxford Street and Southbank if you’re feeling active.
With high ceilings and plenty of areas for socializing, Astor Hyde Park is a great option for socializing. Dorm beds start out at around $14 and range from rooms with four beds to 12 beds. Breakfast is less than a dollar and all proceeds go to charity.
Unlike many of the others on this list, SoHostel is a decisively modern space that isn’t trying to impress anyone with a vintage flair. The colors pop, the furniture is edgy, and the staff is extremely helpful. One of the best selling points of SoHostel is the large bar-lounge area where you can relax and chat with other like-minded folks. There’s also an outdoor terrace for the (rare) sunny days in London.
Rooms start pretty cheap which makes it good for budget travel. SoHostel also donates all of its proceeds to charities, so you can rest well knowing that your money has gone to a good cause.