Cheap hotels in London
Get slap bang in the middle of town without forking out extortionate prices. Generator is a vibrant hostel with dorms (from £22) and private rooms (from £78) on offer. There's quirky lighting everywhere, a agames room, bar and a graffiti painted piano. Add to your culture intake with a short stroll to the British Museum, Piccadilly Circus and other prime sightseeing spots nearby.
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to sleep in a prison cell, you can find out at Clink78. The hsotel building is an old courthouse and the old cells have been turned into cell-themed dorms. Don't worry if that's not your bag, though, because there are plenty of other rooms (private and shared) decked out colourfully. Dorm beds start from £15, with breakfast an extra £2. It's located conveniently close to the Eurostar, about a 20-minute walk from the British Museum and there's a free London walking tour leaving from reception daily.
Whatever you think you know about the Youth Hostels Association, forget it. This is YHA like you've never seen it before. Think stylised colour-block furniture, a sleek bar/pizza joint and fussball. The 100-odd beds are a bit more basic, but with prices that start from £25, you'd be getting an absolute bargain. Especially considering the Fitzrovia location.
Sleek Scandi style and great savings from this Dutch hotel firm. Qbic, who are based in Amsterdam and Aldgate East, design their rooms on the 'cubi' concept, so each room is like a self contained little cube. A stay here starts from £60/n and comes with a bed (obvs), flat screen telly, USB ports and an en suite. There's an elegant cafe/bar downstairs, but given the hotel's proximity to Brick Lane and Shoreditch, you'll have your pick of some of the best food and drink options in the city.
As far as locations go, you can't beat a stay in Soho. The theatre district, major museums, shops, restaurants and bars are all within walking distance. Usually this convenience comes at a (high) price, but Z Hotel have rooms available for as little as £70/n. Unsurprisingly, you won't gte a lot of space for your money, but you do get all the essentials: en suite, toiletries, flat screen TV and free wifi.
Eclectic is probably the best way to describe Pavilion. But that's not in an OAP-run seaside B&B sense, more of a magazine shoot sense. The rooms are all themed differently with heavy curtains or floral wallpaper or inky ceilings covered in stars. If you like minimalism, you'll hate it; this is one for fans of kitsch. Rooms start at £63, including breakfast.
Situated in the heart of party town, and above a bar no less, The Dictionary Hostel is perfect for late-night revellers. All the best clubs and drinking joints of Hoxton, Old Street and Shoreditch are within strolling distance. Then in the day cafes and vintage shops take over. There's also a cafe and laundrette below the hostel, plus a modest courtyard and roof terrace. Beds start from £11 and include breakfast (with bagels from Brick Lane).
This family-run bed and breakfast is set in a converted factory in the conservation area of De Beauvoir in Islington and has four en suite rooms that surround a stylish loft space. A self-service breakfast in a shared dining room-lounge area, free run of the kitchen, and a courtyard garden make it feel homely, though if you want to explore, you have a whole of Dalston’s cafés and restaurants around the corner.
For a chance to explore west London without paying west London prices (rooms start at £72), try this independent, family-run hotel on a pretty Victorian street, a stroll from Notting Hill and Hyde Park. Rooms in this grand terraced house have a bright, modern feel and (other than the small ones) plenty of space. The lounge, with its wood floor and leather furniture, is a great place to kick back after a trek through the park after a West End matinee or shopping spree.
The futuristic decor might seem a little incongruous on a street of terraced properties: once inside it’s all royal blue curtains, aluminium panelling and illuminated glassware that looks like something out of the Starship Enterprise. All rooms are clean and well-appointed, and have en suite pod bathrooms, but for a little more space and privacy, try Stylosuites, which are just around the corner above a pub. Rooms start at £85.
Decked out in bright primary colours, beanbags, funky London murals and its own roof terrace, this hostel is a strong contender among London's budget accommodation. SoHostel certainly has a lot going for it with its light, spacious, nicely priced dorm rooms, twins and doubles (starting at £69). After a long day of strolling around the sights, you can enjoy a tipple at the guest-only bar and soak up the views from the roof garden. There's also free wifi and breakfast is only a fiver. But it’s the location that can’t be beaten. You could spend a week exploring central London from your base here on Dean Street and never have to set foot on – or have to pay for – public transport.
There’s little danger of missing your Eurostar at this family-run B&B, seeing as it’s practically across the road from St Pancras station, albeit perched on a peaceful, attractive corner in Bloomsbury. Rooms start at £85 and there’s tea and coffee, cable TV, wifi and full English breakfast (all free) and, unusually, there’s also the option of secure parking in a nearby underground car park (from £20 - and you need to call ahead). Some rooms are en suite, others have shared bathrooms.
Craftsman José Raido is behind this attractive and original family-run hotel near Camberwell Green. A Hispanic theme dominates: think funky bathroom tiles in the bright, high-ceilinged bedrooms, for example, and imported Mexican film posters, while the bed frames were forged by José himself. A good breakfast is included in some rooms and there’s an honesty bar too, not to mention plenty of local buzzing options to whet your appetite. Single rooms start at £70.
Despite the corporate-sounding name, Safestay Holland Park is, in fact, one of the city’s leafiest hostel options, with beautiful gardens and a terrace partly built in a Jacobean mansion within Holland Park. Accommodation options run from twin rooms to 33-bed dormitories (with bunk beds with reading lights and privacy curtains, from £16 per night), there’s 24-hour reception and even a cash machine on site. Elephant and Castle has another branch.
Built around a pub – the King William IV – this friendly hostel keeps its target audience happy with a big bar, free wifi, generous buffet breakfasts and a Thai restaurant. Mixed dorms (from £21), some with en suites and balconies, are clean and comfortable, with bedside lockers for valuables. There are laundry services and plenty of free stuff including soft drinks, sweets, towels and even earplugs.
If you’re after classic Georgian style that’s just the right side of homely, head to this Bloomsbury stalwart, which looks like it could have featured in Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The Jenkins has been a hotel for almost a hundred years, though it was refurbished in 2013 and features everything you might expect in terms of amenities, including free wifi. The buffet breakfast is free too and the location, overlooking Cartwright Gardens in Bloomsbury, is as convenient as it is pretty.
Wombat’s 120 rooms, including dorms, twins and doubles (from £29) are all en suite. There’s a bar, a terrace with hammocks and free wifi throughout. Its location is great, both for the galleries, shopping and bars of the East End, but also for the river and sights to the south like Tower of London and Borough Market and The South Bank. You’re stumbling distance from the excellent curry houses south of Brick Lane, though there is a communal kitchen on site as well.
Sixty modern en-suite rooms across four Georgian townhouses, plus a characterful lounge bar and great location – a stone’s throw over Euston Road from King’s Cross and St Pancras stations – make this bed and breakfast a great option. The rooms, though on the small side, are clean and colourful, with new wood panelling and simple decor jazzed up by individual artworks or wall coverings. The bar area and lobby retain much of the buildings’ original architectural features, melded with art deco touches in the form of mirrors and lighting. And come on, when else are you going to be able to say ‘I’m staying at the hotel California’?
A new addition to London’s affordable hotel scene is always good news for London’s visitors, especially when it’s in the heart of lively Soho. Mimi’s contemporary rooms cram everything you need into a range of rooms – beginning with ‘minis’ which squeeze in a double bed with Frette linen, a rainforest shower and Molton Brown products in the bathroom, plus free newspapers and bottled water. The hotel has its own stylish bar that morphs from breakfast area to cocktail lounge, and beyond all that, Soho beckons. A ‘mini’ double, including free Wi-Fi, starts from £144.
Here at the Grange Langham, you’re more likely to bump into overnighting BBC staff than celebs being put up at the more famous Langham, but the striking Grange Langham Court is almost as close to the BBC TV Centre as its more famous namesake, and double rooms start at less than £100, so it’s perfect for a weekend of shopping and sightseeing. The 56 modern, airy rooms feature free Wi-Fi, luxury marble and granite bathrooms, there’s a stylish French brasserie, and the distinctive black and white exterior makes it very easy to find.
Virtually opposite the Savoy and so at the heart of Covent Garden and Theatreland, the grand old Strand Palace, in business since 1909, is a bargain (‘cosy’ doubles can be had from £100) for the area, and comes with modern, comfortable rooms. Free wifi, a gym, gin palace and Indian restaurant all add to the appeal.
Forget cabbing it to Gatwick at an ungodly hour, book a room here instead. Bloc opened at Gatwick’s South Terminal in 2014 and offers 245 rooms that are pitched halfway between a Japanese pod hotel and a design hotel, but at prices far below normal airport prices (rooms start at £77). There’s free wifi, king size beds, HD TVs and monsoon showers, and while there’s no restaurant on site, discounts are available from eateries in the terminal. Plane nerds (and honeymooners) should plump for the Runway Suite.
From booking the room to dimming its lights, to working out what to do in the area, everything at Hub is controlled via an app on your phone or tablet, and it’s clearly working as Hub now has five branches in London. Rooms at this branch on Brick Lane are mini but well designed, with beds high enough to fit your suitcase underneath and a little desk and en suite shower. Prices – from £69 – are very reasonable for the location.
Find all the best things to do in the city
London is a treasure trove of brilliant days out and activities worth boasting about. Find great new ways to fill your free time with this list of our favourite things to do in the capital.