To breathe the air of London, you’re going to be shelling out more than you would in European capitals on the continent (excepting perhaps Paris). Except for East London’s Hoxton, standard hotels are out of the budget range, starting at over £120 per night. Thus, for most travelers, it’ll be a merry hostel life where, out of three categories (central location, markedly cheaper prices, and good amenities), you get to pick two.
If you’re in the city for a few days on a round-the-world tour, Bloomsbury, Paddington, and the South Bank have some good options that aren’t that too far away from the main museums. If you’re staying longer, West London and North London hostels (especially Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage) reliably boast facilities like laundries and kitchens. For the light sleeper or introvert, there are a few B&Bs and budget hotels whose rates start around £50 for a single, and if you’re traveling in a group, these hotels offer doubles, triples, and quads that go for just a little bit more than hostel rates.
YHA St. Pauls
*Tube: St. Paul’s. Go right down New Change, turn at the cathedral onto Cannon St., then take a left onto Carter Ln. Wi-Fi available on ground floor £1 per 20min., £5 for 24hr., £9 per week. Breakfast £4.99. Evening meals £6. Laundry facilities available. All dorms single-sex. 6- to 11-bed dorms £22-28; triples, quads, quints, and sextets all around £25 per person. Reception 24hr. www.yha.org.uk
The Monkeys in the Trees
*Tube: Shepherd’s Bush Market. Cross Uxbridge Rd. and make a right, then a left onto Becklow Rd. It’s about a 15min. walk. Alternatively, take bus #207 or 260 to Galloway Rd. Free luggage storage. Dorms £13-20. www.monkeysinthetrees.co.uk
St. Christopher's Hammersmith
*Hammersmith. Right above Tube entrance on Hammersmith Broadway. Female-only dorms available. Dorms £16-24; £5 more on weekends. www.st-christophers.co.uk
Queen Mary University Campus Accommodations
*Tube: Mile End. Turn left down Mile End Rd. The campus is across the canal, on the right. The accommodations office is at point 4 on the campus map, on the main road. Breakfast included with B&B prices. Flats cleaned weekly during longer stays. B&B single £51-56; twins £72-77; weekly singles £182, with bath £203. Credit card only. www.accommodation.qmul.ac.uk
*Tube: Old St. Veer right at the roundabout, go down ØOld St., then turn right onto Great Eastern St. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. 1hr. of free international landline calls per day. Room £59-199, depending on when you book. www.hoxtonhotels.com
Palmer's Lodge Swiss Cottage
*Tube: Swiss Cottage. Take exit 2 from the station, turn left onto Eton Ave., then right onto College Crescent. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. 18+. 4- to 28-bed dorm £18-37; doubles from £70. www.palmerslodge.co.uk
St. Christopher's Camden
*Tube: Camden Town. Turn left onto Camden High St. (walking away from the market). Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. 6- to 10-bed dorm £22-29. www.st-christophers.co.uk
Astor Museum Inn
*Reception 24hr. www.astorhostels.com
*Bar open 6pm-2am or later. Happy hour 6-9pm. www.generatorhostels.com
*Tube: St. Paul’s. Go right down New Change, turn at the cathedral Directions and Info: Bayswater. Take a right onto Queensway, left onto Bayswater Rd., then left onto Queensborough Terr. Wi-Fi £5 per day. Free luggage storage (bring your own lock). Laundry facilities. £10 deposit required for key and towel. 1 female-only room available. Ages 18-35 only. Dorms £16-26; twins £40 (for the room). Reception 24hr. www.astorhostels.com
Equity Point London
*Tube: Paddington. Make a right onto Praed St. and a right onto Westbourne Terr. Wi-F £5 for 3-day pass. Continental breakfast included. 4- to 8-bed dorms £26-49; doubles £99; triples £120. www.equity-point.com
Hyde Park Hostel
*Tube: Bayswater. Take a right onto Queensway, a left onto Bayswater, and then a left onto Inverness Terr. 16+. 1-week max. stay. Linens included. 4- to 24-bed dorm £10-26. Reception 24hr.
*Tube: Notting Hill Gate. Exit north, take a right onto Pembridge Rd., and turn left onto Ladbroke Rd. Breakfast and dinner included, though serving hours are limited. Lockers and laundry facilities available. 2- to 3-bed dorm £27.50- 30.50; singles £32.50. Weekly dorms £125-155 per week; singles £194. Min. 2-week stay for weekly rates to apply. www.lhalondon.com
Astor Hyde Park
*Tube: High St. Kensington. Turn right onto Kensington High St., then right onto Queen’s Gate. Ages 18-35 only. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. Laundry available. Dorms £22-33; doubles £80-100. www.astorhostels.co.uk
*Tube: High St. Kensington. Turn right onto Kensington High St. and left onto Kensington Church St., which, perplexingly, turns into Vicarage Gate. Take the 2nd right, which is also named Vicarage Gate. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. Single £65, with bath £110; doubles and twins £110/138; triples £140/180; quads £152/200.
St. Christopher's Village
*Tube: London Bridge. Walk down Borough High St. with the bridge at your back. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. Luggage storage included. 4- to 22- bed dorm £12-37; doubles around £80. www.st-christophers.co.uk
PubLove @ The Steam ENgine
*Tube: Lambeth North. Exit down Kennington Rd. and turn right onto Cosser St. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. 9- and 12-bed dorms in summer M- £20- 25, Sa-Su up to £40; fall, winter, and spring M-F £16-18, Sa-Su up to £28. www.bestplaceinns.com
*Tube: Victoria. Upon exiting the station, turn left onto Buckingham Palace Rd., then left onto Belgrave Rd. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. Female-only dorms available. 4- to 8-bed dorm £20-28; singles £40-45; doubles £80-100.
*Metro: Victoria. Upon exiting the station, turn left onto Buckingham Palace Rd., and left onto Belgrave Rd. Free Wi-Fi. Breakfast included. Singles generally £60-85; doubles £85-150; triples £110-160. www.victorhotel.co.uk
Fox & Anchor
The six rooms on top of this elegant pub are what a Victorian gentleman’s bachelor pad must have looked like (admittedly, with more cigars and less flat screen TVs). Larger rooms—the “Superior” ones and the suites—have old-fashioned bathtubs right in the bedroom, and all are done up with luxurious fabrics and beautiful prints of the London skyline. With all the amenities of a luxury option, this hotel caters to more of a professional crowd. However, if you’re just in London for the weekend, the rooms are a steal compared to weekday rates.
*Tube: Barbican. Turn left onto Aldersgate St., left onto Charterhouse St., then right onto Charterhouse Sq. Book at least a few weeks in advance for the weekend. Free Wi-Fi. On weekends, standard fro £117; superior from £140; suites from £188. Weekday rooms £205-280. www.foxandanchor.com
YHA Oxford St.
*Tube: Oxford Circus. Turn left down Regent St., then left onto Noel St. Wi-Fi available in the lounge and some rooms £5 per 24hr., £7.50 per 3 days. Breakfast included. Book 2 months in advance for the summer. Laundry available. 4-bed dorms £30-36; doubles £86; triples £117. www.yha.org.uk
*Tube: Covent Garden. Turn right onto Long Acre, right onto Drury Ln., and right onto Broad Ct. Free Wi-Fi. Single £90-100; doubles £140-180, depending on demand. www.thefieldinghotel.co.uk