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Reviewed on 1 Jun 2020
Reviewed on 14 Feb 2020
Reviewed on 13 Mar 2020
Whoever said a trip to the buzzing English capital had to be pricy? Choosing hostels in London shouldn't break the bank. Booking a hostel, many of which offer dormitory rooms and shared kitchens spaces, will leave more cash for cocktails in The Shard and jaunts to London Zoo. But while the amenities may be basic, the design is anything but. In fact, London hostels are some of the edgiest and artiest going – think lobbies laden with Pop Art and lively common rooms filled with fellow travellers. It's possible to bag bunks in exciting inner-city locations like King's Cross and Euston. Or, you can head to more off-the-beaten-track corners of the metropolis, to settle by the boho bars of East London or the leafy parks and football stadiums of North London.
Whether you're a solo traveller or a group of friends, choosing a hostel in London could be the best way to go. Cheap and comfy beds await in a whole host of different spots, ranging from classic English lodges on the city's outskirts to historic buildings in the beating midst of the capital. The upshot is that bucket-list sights could be just around the corner. A glimpse of Big Ben and the London Eye, anyone? A romantic stroll for two along the Southbank, perhaps? Alternatively, there are bargain beds in off-radar boroughs, where you can attend football showdowns in Highbury or tread the vintage clothes markets of Shoreditch.
There's nothing like the fun and vibrant atmosphere promised by a backpacker hostel, London style. You'll share dorms and bunks with likeminded folk from all over the globe. You'll clink frothy English ales in on-site bars while chin wagging your latest travel tales. Some of London's historic hostels are housed in quirky buildings with their own story to tell – an age-old courthouse here, a redbrick Victorian mansion there. A touch of British design and character is often thrown in for good measure, so expect oversized union jacks, The Beatles posters and Mini paraphernalia aplenty in common rooms. Service is typically tailored to easy-going, youthful globetrotters. That means bike rentals and pub crawls can be organised from the reception desk, opening up adventurous ways to explore the city on the Thames.
Booking a cheap hostel in London is all about delving into one seriously vibrant capital for less. Some places – like the quirky Clink78 at King's Cross – are tucked right into the heart of Central London, where hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tours whiz past Nelson's Column and Big Ben. That's also where you'll be able to discover the mind-boggling menagerie of priceless artefacts and relics and paintings that combine between the National Gallery and the British Museum – both of which are totally free to enter. Meanwhile, nightly pub crawls in those parts can be a ticket to the raucous Irish bars, comedy clubs and dance venues of Piccadilly and Soho. Staying somewhere like the Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage could mean seeing a different side to the metropolis, out where long walks across Hampstead Heath meet wild encounters in ZSL London Zoo.