King’s Cross St Pancras and Euston stations are huge hubs for train travel across the country and beyond. Choosing a hostel in the area means you’ll be perfectly placed for day trips outside the city, within minutes of several major Tube lines and save plenty of money that you can then spend on sightseeing. It’s also one of the best locations in London for budget-conscious travellers, thanks to its abundance of cheap restaurants and wide range of hostels – here’s our pick of the best.
PubLove @ The Exmouth Arms
There’s no better way to experience the quintessence of British life than bedding down in a pub, a cornerstone of the country’s social life since the Middle Ages. At PubLove @ The Exmouth Arms, you’ll invariably find a lively, sociable crowd alongside craft beers and gins and towering burgers. Its location – right next to Euston station – puts you a short walk from multiple Tube stations, giving you easy access to the Northern, Victoria, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Bakerloo lines. Rooms are simple, but clean, spacious and a bargain for the central location.
A no-frills approach to hostelling, YHA London St Pancras doesn’t have flashy extras like a games room or hip bar. But thanks to a refurb in mid-2019, it’s colourful and welcoming with fun, travel-themed murals splashed across reception and brand-new bathrooms. The focus here is on helping you make the most of your stay in the city, so the hostel has a packed calendar of social events, including group trips to West End shows, free walking tours and Sunday roasts, plus plenty of discounted tickets to attractions such as the London Eye and the Tower of London.
Clink261’s laid-back vibe is more about post-sightseeing relaxation than partying | Courtesy of Clink261 / Hostelworld
Offering clean (if quite compact) rooms, a comfy lounge area and an affordable all-you-can-eat breakfast every morning, Clink261 has done everything it can to create a home away from home. Social without being a party hostel, its laid-back vibe is more about low-key movie nights than raucous drinking games – perfect for anyone looking for a place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. But if you are in the mood for a lively night out, directly over the road you’ll find The Water Rats bar, an intimate music venue that has hosted icons such as Bob Dylan and Oasis, and where you can discover a range of up-and-coming bands.
A hostel chain that has been making waves across Europe, the Generator brand began at this London branch. Rooms are decorated with bold, rainbow-hued geometric shapes, and the huge bar is an offbeat combination of statement, London-themed feature walls, tartan and futuristic light fixtures (it also has a pool table and a daily happy hour). The bathrooms feel far more luxurious than the average hostel’s, there’s a great on-site café, free Wi-Fi in rooms and a dedicated “travel shop” helmed by a team of experts who will point you towards the capital’s least-visited sights.
Though you won’t find artfully designed rooms or quirky murals at Keystone House, it makes a comfortable and convenient home base. There are twin, double and triple private rooms plus dorms with as many as 16 beds. Facilities are basic – and some of the cheaper private options are internal cabin rooms that don’t have windows – but bathrooms have been updated in recent years, and when you’re staying in such a central location (roughly three minutes’ walk from King’s Cross) you’ll hardly want to hang around in the rooms. There’s no café on-site, but King’s Cross is a gold mine of affordable dining options, many of them BYOB, and guests of Keystone get 10 percent off at The Scottish Stores – an ale and craft beer house next door.
This branch of Clink has character in spades. Housed in a former courthouse, its private rooms are in old holding cells, and the common areas are in the atmospheric wood-panelled courtrooms. As a listed Victorian building, original features have been left untouched: sofas in the TV room have been cleverly fitted in and around witness stands and solicitor’s benches, and the cell rooms still have heavy metal prison doors. None of this is at the expense of practicality and comfort, however. There are USB ports at every bed, complimentary Wi-Fi, a coin-operated launderette and free walking tours. The hostel also has a huge kitchen, and the basement ClashBAR (named for The Clash, who stood trial here) has a roster of live music and DJs, a pool table and great pizza.