London is one of the most expensive travel cities in the world. It also has some great, affordable accommodations options on offer. Here’s a review of our three favorites. All three have both shared and private rooms. All three offer central locations and touches of luxury. And, with rates starting at £9 per person, all three are affordable to travelers looking for high value.
Palmers Lodge Hostel
A few pounds can buy you a surprising amount of elegance at the Palmers Lodge! This flackpacker’s hostel was once a Victorian house that was torn down in 1880 and rebuilt as a luxurious mansion because the original house wasn’t considered grand enough to entertain high society. Today, this building is grand enough to entertain a wide range of travelers, from backpackers to families, who lounge on large comfy couches in the lodge’s common areas when they aren’t out exploring London.
Location: A few minutes walk from either the Swiss Cottage or Finchley Road tube stations near the Hamstead and Saint John’s Wood neighborhoods.
Prices: start from around €19 for a dorm bed and €34 for a private room.
Items included: Internet and wi-fi in the lobby, continental breakfast,
Special feature: Free use of the Wii in the common room—a great way to meet people!
Clink offers a modern cool vibe in a building used as a courthouse in the 1800s. In fact, seven of the former courthouse’s room were used as jail cells as recently as 1998. (Hence the “Clink” name). If staying in a former jail cell sounds too, um, “confining,” there are also private “pod” rooms and dorms with either 4 or 16 beds located on hallways painted with uber-bright colors. Especially cool is the hostel’s Clinkbar; it has a fun vibe and is a great place to meet your fellow travelers.
Location: Around the corner from the King’s Cross Station in Islington.
Rate: start from around €10 for a dorm bed, €63 for a pod room and €80 for your own cell room.
Items included room price: Continental breakfast, London walking tour.
Special feature: Rooms in former jail cell!
Generator is the largest hostel in the whole of England and bills itself as the most “funky” in Europe. While we aren’t sure about the latter superlative we are sure that guests at the Generator are among the most lively (and, not coincidentally, among the heaviest consumers of alcohol) of any accommodations anywhere. Staying at the Generator is like staying at an extended techno party. The time has long since past that this was Spot Cool Stuff’s travel scene. For those under 25 (in spirit if not by birthday) the Generator may be heaven. But beware: Many a young traveler have come to London hoping to see the city but found themselves instead spending their entire England stay ensconced in the fun mayhem that is the Generator Hostel.
Location: About a five minute walk from the Russel Square tube station.
Rate: Around €17 for a dorm bed, €22 for a bed in a 3-bed private room and €56 for a private single room.
Items included room price: Continental breakfast, London walking tour, luggage storage
Special feature: Nightly entertainment in the bar (DJs, trivia nights, live music, drinking games, etc.)
Do none of the three above options appeal to you? There are several other great London budget accommodations options. Check out the exceptionally well located Nottinghill Gate Hotel, the somewhat upscale Chelsea House Hotel or the cool studio apartments of the blandly named Accommodation London.
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