The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Central London

Staying in central London doesn’t have to break the bank
Staying in central London doesn’t have to break the bank | © Alexander Spatari / Getty Images
Photo of Abigail Malbon
25 August 2021

Central London is home to some of the most historic and expensive hotels in the world, with household names such as the Ritz and the Savoy. But if you’re on a tighter budget, a stay in the capital is still possible. Here are the best budget-friendly hotels in the centre of London – all bookable on Culture Trip.

Hotel prices in central London can be eye-watering, and frugal travellers may assume that a stay in Zone 1 is off the table. But with a little research, it’s possible to get a slice of the high life at a wallet-friendly price. Below, we round up our favourite low-cost hotels that are still big in personality. Stay within walking distance of Trafalgar Square, Brick Lane and Covent Garden without breaking the bank (and save on transport costs).

The Buxton

4.8/5 (11 Reviews)
Courtesy of The Buxton / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $120 per night
This independent bolthole, at the crossroads where bustling Brick Lane ends and the quieter Osborn Street begins, is named after a Victorian social reformer who invested in textiles here in the 1800s and later owned the Truman Brewery (which still exists, a couple of minutes’ walk away). This heritage is honoured in design touches throughout: exposed brick in the small but airy bedrooms, leather-crafted key tags and vintage furniture in the downstairs restaurant. Innovation continues throughout the Buxton, particularly in the responsibly sourced (and utterly divine) dinner menu; the food served on highly polished, wood tables or at the marble-topped bar. Try a starter of pollock ceviche served with slices of blood orange, or the oyster mushroom gnocchi garnished with gently wilted baby kale. Many ingredients are plucked from the rooftop vegetable and herb garden, which, incidentally, is the hotel’s crowning glory – a tiny suntrap high above street level, only for guests.
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Assembly Hotel London

4.3/5 (1411 Reviews)
Courtesy of Assembly Hotel London / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $111 per night

This budget hotel in the West End is fast becoming one of the most talked-about places to stay in the city. This isn’t surprising, considering what you get for the price. Funky, minimalistic decor pops with neon pink accents, inspired by London fashion greats Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Gareth Pugh. There’s a youthful, fun vibe throughout, thanks to quirky touches such as bunny rabbit chairs. The orange tree-lined Bourne & Hollingsworth restaurant on the roof terrace is exceptional, both for its elegant food plates and photogenic living bar, which is lush with plant life.

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Point A Hotel London Liverpool Street

4.2/5 (1096 Reviews)
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Courtesy of Point A Hotel London Liverpool Street / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $64 per night

Liverpool Street is one of the most accessible areas in London thanks to its mainline train and Tube stations, so it makes sense to base yourself here if this is your first visit to the city. Point A is a basic, affordable hotel that still manages to be cool – in part thanks to its hip location near Shoreditch, Brick Lane and the Old Spitalfields Market. It’s the little comforts at this hotel that take the stress out of your stay: power showers, ultra-cushy Hypnos beds, air conditioning and an ironing room, so you always step out looking fresh.

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Rough Luxe London

Boutique Hotel, Budget Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Rough Luxe London / Expedia

The name nods to the vibe of this concept hotel. Shabby-chic in style, the rooms are decked in contemporary artworks and intentionally left a little raw around the edges, with exposed concrete, stripped back walls, vintage furniture and plush textiles. The budget-friendly boutique puts you in the middle of London’s hustle and bustle – King’s Cross St Pancras Station is across the road, and nearby Coal Drops Yard has established itself as a gastronomic and boutique shopping hub. Some of the best-loved eateries in the capital – both new and old – are on the doorstep, such as tapas bar Barrafina and grilled-cheese outlet Morty & Bob’s. The hotel staff can even get you reservations at the best nearby restaurants.

New Road Hotel

4.3/5 (373 Reviews)
Courtesy of New Road Hotel / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $89 per night

Housed in an old textile factory, New Road Hotel is a chic budget accommodation option that retains all its former industrial glory. Different sized rooms flaunt exposed brickwork, Crittall windows and deep-stained parquet flooring. One, simply called Loft, features a balcony complete with sweeping views and an al fresco hot tub – perfect for a sunset soak. The hotel eschews mini bars and coffee-making kits in favour of free vending machines on every floor – each one offers unlimited tea, coffee and hot chocolate. But the restaurant, Mr White’s English Chophouse, is what really sets this place apart. Helmed by chef Marco Pierre White, it has a menu of steaks dripping in garlic butter and gnocchi gratin bubbling with emmental cheese and truffle sauce.

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  • Z Hotel Covent Garden

    The budget-friendly Z Hotel Covent Garden is affordable luxury at its finest
    Courtesy of Z Hotel Covent Garden /

    Z Hotels specialise in pared-down luxury at affordable prices across the city of London. This Covent Garden iteration is no different. Rooms focus on space maximisation and hi-tech arrangements where no inch goes to waste. Blackout blinds and big, comfy beds ensure a deep night’s sleep – exactly what you’ll need to prepare you for a packed day of exploring the adjacent Covent Garden. The hotel is within strolling distance of hidden alleyways with historical pubs, the Royal Opera House, West End theatres and some of the best restaurants in the UK.

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    The California Hotel

    3.9/5 (990 Reviews)
    Courtesy of The California Hotel / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $108 per night

    Sleek design and impeccable service are the key assets of the California Hotel. Inside, bright and geometric wallpapered walls give the rooms an arty look and feel, while the common areas stick to a vintage vibe. And if your super-soft double bed isn’t sumptuous enough, you can always upgrade to a floating bed – the first of its kind in the UK – in one of the California Rooms. Next door, sister hotel the Megaro is renowned for its spongy buns and buttery pastries, while the hidden basement speakeasy is the go-to for a sneaky nightcap.

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    Point A Hotel King’s Cross

    4/5 (1746 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Point A Hotel King’s Cross / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $63 per night

    The whitewashed rooms of Point A King’s Cross make you feel like you’re sleeping in a cloud: think plush white beds, mirrored walls and wide windows that flood the rooms with natural light. Then there are the hi-tech features that bring you back down to earth, such as mood lighting, power showers and plasma TVs. Just a minute’s walk from King’s Cross train station, the hotel gives easy access to all of London’s top attractions, as well as other destinations further afield. Direct trains depart from here to York, Cambridge and Edinburgh, or you can even go on to Paris and Amsterdam from the adjacent St Pancras International station.

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    La Suite West

    4/5 (751 Reviews)
    Courtesy of La Suite West / Expedia
    Unavailable for the next 3 months
    Minimalist, all-black furniture and wooden shutters give the rooms at La Suite West the air of a Zen Japanese apartment – a deliberate effect masterminded by renowned interior designer Anouska Hempel. Outside, the verdant, landscaped terrace feels more like a Parisian boulevard than a central London street, and it makes the perfect place to sip tea and eat vegan scones in the British sunshine. For something a little more substantial, there’s a vegetarian restaurant inside that offers more vegan choices, including a full English breakfast.
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    The Pilgrm

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of The Pilgrm / Expedia

    Housed in a Victorian building, the Pilrgm strikes the perfect balance between old and new London. It has been meticulously renovated, preserving many original features while sparing no expense on modern facilities. The reception is built around a grand mahogany staircase, lit by brushed brass modernist lighting – a taste of what’s to come inside the rooms. Subtle touches such as Marshall speakers, indie magazines and popular novels add a sense of personality to the monochrome, old world rooms. Meanwhile, the in-house eatery kick-starts each day with freshly brewed coffee and burrata on toast for breakfast – and sets the tone for a memorable night out with a dirty martini or two.

    This is a rewrite of an article originally by Molly Codyre. Additional reporting by Florence Derrick.

    For an alternative London experience, book a stay in one of the best spa retreats in the West End or a luxury hotel in Soho, now bookable with Culture Trip. Then, embark on an action-packed film and TV tour of London before visiting one of the capital’s best outdoor cinemas. Cap your adventure with a pint or two in one of the best pubs in town.

    These recommendations were updated on August 25, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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