East London is home to some of London’s most exciting places to visit – Shoreditch, Hackney and Wapping to name but a few. Loaded with history, culture and excellent food and drink, it’s a great choice for first-time visitors to the capital looking for a truly authentic experience. Though there are plenty of hotels to choose from, those after simpler, more budget-friendly accommodation are well catered for, too – here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best B&Bs in East London.
40 Winks, Hotel, East London
The decor at 40 Winks has the sort of elegant attention to details that’s only possible in small hotels. It’s opulent without being over the top, with eclectic vintage furniture and treasures and trinkets littering surfaces: a pile of carefully curated books here, an antique lamp there. There are just two impeccably designed bedrooms at this boutique B&B – a single and a double – and they share a bathroom, which has a luxurious roll-top bath in place of a shower. Breakfast is served in the elaborate kitchen where you can chat with the memorable owner who is brimming with insider tips; a rarity in London, a stay here feels truly personal.
Hackney – the bustling heart of East London – is home to the Old Ship Inn, a cheap and cheerful pub and hotel next door to the famous Hackney Empire theatre. Brightly decorated, and suitably rustic downstairs, the pub offers plenty of local ales and hearty grub as well as accommodation in the form of single, double or deluxe bedrooms that are fairly basic, but modern and clean and with everything you need for a comfortable night’s sleep. Nursing a hangover after last night’s gig? The pub does an excellent cooked breakfast and Sunday roast – ideal for perking you up again.
Right in the centre of Shoreditch, The Dictionary Hostel is a hub for millennial travellers who want to experience life in an arty London neighbourhood. Though your dorm-sharing days may be behind you, there are a few doubles, complete with private bathrooms, and the common areas – where there is always plenty going on if you’re a solo traveller keen to make some new friends – echo the offbeat atmosphere of the area with murals and framed contemporary art. Breakfast is basic – toasts and cereals – but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s free and filling, plus the cool little coffee shop next door makes a mean oat milk latte.
The Railway Tavern has been accommodating guests since the 2012 Olympics and continues to be a popular budget-friendly choice for those after accommodation close to Stratford Westfield and the surrounding canals. You’ll find nine twin and double rooms, decorated simply but with fluffy bed covers and modern bathrooms, and the great pub downstairs serves a full English or continental breakfast to all guests each morning. It’s also close to the O2 arena, making it ideal if you’re in town for a gig.
There’s an unexpectedly rustic feel to The Culpeper, where luxurious rooms are all about roughly hewn carpentry, shearling rugs and bare plaster walls that reveal patches of exposed brickwork. It feels more farmhouse than townhouse, and breakfast is served up on the rooftop greenhouse and garden. Its polished ground-floor pub is just as welcoming and popular with the after-work crowd thanks to its abundance of greenery and comfortable seating (and unusual cocktails based off herbs grown on the roof).