London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but you can find budget-friendly hotels near Holborn, one of the city’s most eclectic and interesting districts.
Although not as elegant as some of its neighbours, Holborn is hard to beat for historic interest. Charles Dickens wandered these streets late at night looking for inspiration. Sweeney Todd and plenty of equally terrifying newspaper editors once prowled Fleet Street. Hatton Gardens is still the centre of the city’s diamond trade, and every weekday Leather Lane is filled with the smell of delicious street food. It’s also within walking distance of pricier areas such as Covent Garden, Leicester Square and the Clerkenwell design district.
Straddling the line between Central London’s business district and the bright lights of the West End, this aparthotel is a trusty choice for business travellers and families. You’ll struggle to find better value for four this side of the Thames than their one-room apartments with moss-green sofa beds. Ditch your car in the underground car park and explore Theatreland on foot. Don’t miss Benjamin Pollock’s, which is the last of the original shops in Covent Garden Market and has been selling handmade toy theatres for more than 100 years.
With a historic Georgian façade and brutally modern interiors, this fun-loving hostel captures something of London’s unerring ability to surprise. Dormitories range from four beds to 16, but if you’re after a quieter night, opt for the basic rooms which are located in an annex a minute’s walk from the main building. Once you’ve finished getting your retail fix on Oxford Street or culture fix at the British Museum, there are always fellow travellers up for mingling over beers in the sun-trap courtyard. As an added bonus, breakfast is extremely cheap.
Blonde floorboards, an open-plan layout and mid-century furnishings are just a few of the touches that give this handful of sleek, serviced apartments a Scandinavian edge – although the glass arch of Covent Garden Market (just 500m away) grounds you firmly in London. Luxurious details, such as Nespresso coffee machines and Rituals toiletries, give this hotel a luxury feel for an affordable price.
Fans of Charles Dickens will adore wandering Holborn’s historic streets, spotting the sights that inspired his work, including the sombre towers and manicured lawns of the Inns of Court. The Holborn branch of this chain is as smart and functional as the rest, plus it has the added appeal of being within five minutes’ walk of three major tube stations. Rooms are cool and compact with handmade beds, coffee stations that feature Galaxy hot chocolate sachets and powerful showers (accessible rooms also have baths).
Located less than five minutes’ walk from the Royal Opera House and with views over St Paul’s church, also known as “the actor’s church”, this city-centre hotel makes a great base from which to explore Theatreland. Press the buzzer, and the imposing gates swing open to reveal a secret courtyard, so you’re guaranteed to feel like you’re staying at an exclusive address. Blackout blinds ensure undisturbed shuteye, while a complimentary wine-and-cheese buffet served in the tiled café means you’ll start every evening feeling like a star.
You’ll find one of London’s most millennial-friendly hotels through a neon-lit doorway that looks like the entrance to a nightclub. “Less of the chill and more of the thrills” is Assembly’s mantra, and there are thrills aplenty in the form of a rooftop cocktail bar, splashes of colour that nod to Stella McCartney (who trained at nearby Central St Martins) and marshmallow-pink bunny stools – the bedroom accessory you didn’t know your Instagram needed.
If the phrase “digital nomad” was a hotel, it would probably look something like these serviced studio apartments overlooking the River Thames. There’s everything you need for a real home-away-from-home experience – a Smeg kitchenette, dining table, communal laundry facilities, co-working space and a gym, as well as a killer location practically opposite the Tate Modern. Regular events and classes are an easy way to meet like-minded types, if you’re staying longer and fancy a bit of community.