Hostels are the perfect option for those who want to explore the city without blowing the budget before they’ve even arrived – and proof that staying in London needn’t cost the earth. From swanky hotel-hybrids to backpacker hotspots with a great social atmosphere, this is Culture Trip’s selection of the best hostels in Central London.
Whether you’re after a social atmosphere where you can easily make new friends, or simply a low-cost accommodation option, hostels are great places to base yourself on any trip to London. An increasingly competitive market has seen many up their game – with rooftop bars, mini libraries and dedicated games rooms some of the standard facilities you can come to expect. To make your life easier, we’ve narrowed this list down to just a few that make the grade as one of the best hostels in Central London.
Courtesy of SoHostel / Hotels.com
Based in the heart of London’s coolest central neighbourhood, Soho, this hostel is perfect for people who want a party atmosphere. The on-site bar runs plenty of good-value drinks deals, and often puts on popular live-music and karaoke nights. Rooms range from en-suite doubles to six-bed dorms, so there’s something to suit all budgets, and everything is decorated in bold, loud colours. There’s also a roof terrace, a games room and even a pamper room with Hollywood mirrors and hairdryers.
With its enormous underground bar, hammock-strewn terrace and lounge area, this place is by no means lacking in communal spaces where like-minded travellers can meet and mingle. The cavernous bar comes equipped with table football and a pool table and hosts beer pong tournaments at night. Both dorms and private rooms are sleek and modern in style, with personal charging points and reading lights in each bunk. For a unique experience, opt for a double in the dorms – housed within an arch, it’s like sleeping in your own personal pod. With Tower Bridge on your doorstep, and Spitalfields and Shoreditch a short stroll away, this hostel puts you in a prime location for exploring the city.
Rest Up’s cool roof terrace is an excellent selling point, but the homely vibe and friendly staff certainly help seal the deal. Its interiors have been artfully put together and have a contemporary-meets-Victorian vibe, featuring glazed tiles in British racing green, panelled ceilings, wood floors and chesterfield sofas. It’s within walking distance of the Tower of London, Tate Modern and Ministry of Sound, so this hostel is ideal for anyone who wants to be out and about. Rooms have key card access and security lockers, and some come with en suites at no extra cost. There’s also a cheap all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, and the hostel has a great travel desk to help you plan your trip.
Located near King’s Cross and Euston train stations, this hostel has been open for an impressive 20 years and has seen millions of backpackers pass through its doors, so the staff really know a thing or two about what guests are looking for. So, although you shouldn’t expect to be blown away by the decor, everything is clean and modern and there are plenty of useful touches, such as individual reading lights and USB charging ports beside each bunk bed; discounted tickets and tours are also on offer at reception.
This social hostel is a great place to meet new people. The Notting Hill location is beautiful and close to local markets and sights such as Kensington Palace. Those who are new to the city will appreciate the friendly staff, who happily take guests on tours of local attractions before rounding off the day with a trip to local bars and pubs. But the ultimate plus? A free dinner for guests every evening.
The clue is in the name, but when you look out of the window of your dorm or private room, it’s plain to see: the British Museum – the nation’s biggest museum – stands proudly across the street and is free to explore. Oxford Street is just a stroll away, too, making this hostel a popular choice for history buffs and shopaholics alike. Its fully equipped kitchen is a great place to meet fellow travellers over dinner, while the enclosed terrace feels a little like something out of Alice in Wonderland (don’t forget to look up!). Housed in a Georgian townhouse, the hostel doesn’t look or feel out of place in the shadow of such an historic museum, adding a quintessential touch to your stay in the UK capital.
If sightseeing is number one on the to-do list, then location is key. The London Bridge branch of St Christopher’s Inn puts you mere moments away from the bridge itself, Borough Market (foodie heaven) and Tate Modern. Inside, rooms are monochromatic with whitewashed walls and odes to the city in the way of canvas prints of some of London’s iconic sights – think Big Ben and classic red telephone boxes. The 16th-century building is also home to a pub of the same name – if you’re interested in sampling a local brew or two, wander inside for special guest discounts before heading off to explore London’s world-famous nightlife.