Posted: 03/03/20 | March 3rd, 2020
London is one of my recent favorite cities in the world. I always liked London but it wasn’t until I spent a few weeks there last summer that I fell in love with London.
I didn’t want to leave.
London is a sprawling city, covering 607 square miles, and home to over eight million people.
I’ve been visiting London for a decade and have stayed in dozens upon dozens of places. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a hostel. The top four when picking the best hostel in London are:
- Location – London is huge and, while the metro does go everywhere, it can take some time to get around. Pick a place that is central to the sites and nightlife you want to see. All the hostels listed here are in central locations.
- Price – In London, you really get what you pay for, so if you go with a really cheap one, you’re probably going to get a hostel that is small, cramped, and doesn’t offer great service.
- Amenities – Every hostel in the city offers free Wi-Fi, and most have a free (or cheap) breakfast, but if you want more than that, be sure to do your research to find the hostel that best meets your needs!
- Staff – All the hostels listed here have amazing staff! They are super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you don’t end up staying at one of the places listed below, be sure to look up reviews to ensure you end up somewhere where the staff is helpful and friendly! They can make or break a hostel!
To help you plan your trip, here is my list of the hostels in London that I like the most. If you don’t want to read the longer list below, the following hostels are the best in each category:
Best Hostel for Budget Travelers: The Walrus Hostel
Best Hostel for Families: SoHostel
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers: Wombats City Hostel London
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads: The Walrus Hostel
Best Hostel for Partying: St. Christopher’s Village or Clink78
Best Overall Hostel: Hostel One Notting Hill
Want the specifics of each hostel? Here’s my comprehensive list of the best hostels in London:
Price Legend (per night)
- $ = Under $30 USD
- $$ = $30-40 USD
- $$$ = Over $40 USD
This location is Generator’s first hostel (it’s now a huge chain spread all over Europe), and it’s housed in an old police station. You can’t go wrong with this chain. Like most of their hostels, Generator London has lots of modern, upscale fixtures, a huge common area, a bar, and a restaurant (no common kitchen though). There’s also a pool and foosball table. The beds are plush but there are not many charging plugs in the walls, so you’ll have to fight for space. It’s one of the cheapest hostels in London, which is rare considering its location near King’s Cross Station. It’s a short walk from Regents Park, Covent Garden, and the British Museum.
Generator at a glance:
- Huge common room for mingling and hanging out
- Bar and restaurant on-site make it easy to meet people
- Convenient location near King’s Cross Station
Beds from 25 GBP ($32 USD). Privates from 80 GBP ($104 USD).
Fun fact: Clink78 is housed in an old courthouse building in King’s Cross where British rock band The Clash once stood trial. Some of the rooms are even former jail cells! There’s a huge downstairs kitchen/bar area where you can work, eat, socialize, and drink. They host a lot of unique events, like solo traveler meet-ups and DJ + Bingo nights. The dorms are kind of cramped (that eight bed really should of been a six bed) but they have curtains on the side, individual lights and outlets, and lockers. Bathrooms are super clean too. I really liked this hostel. It’s one of the better ones in London.
Clink78 at a glance:
- Organizes lots of events (DJ nights, Bingo, solo-traveler meet-ups)
- Party atmosphere makes it easy to meet people
- Bar for socializing and hanging out
Beds from 17 GBP ($22 USD). Privates from 60 GBP ($78 USD).
3. Astor Hyde Park
This hostel is in a quiet neighborhood right off Hyde Park, and within walking distance to some of London’s best museums like the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert. There’s a great party vibe, and the friendly hotel staff will help you arrange tours and activities. Plus the 1 GBP breakfast can’t be beat! I love the old wooden décor of the building as you feel more like you’re in a home than a hostel. The dorms are huge and there’s plenty of room to sprawl out. Try to avoid the rooms on the upper floors as the hostel has no elevator.
Astor Hyde Park at a glance:
- Party vibe makes it easy to meet people
- Close to some of the city’s best museums
- Super affordable breakfast (1 GBP)
Beds from 16 GBP ($20 USD). Privates from 70 GBP ($89 USD).
4. Wombats City Hostel London
The Wombats City Hostel is located in a beautifully refurbished building that used to be a sailor’s hostel. This led to the current décor and the wooden bunk beds that are, unfortunately, a bit squeaky. The rooms are a nice size, and there are activities planned most nights of the week (like walking tours and karaoke). The hostel’s central location is one of its best features – it’s super close to London’s main attractions like the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and City Hall. It’s got a good vibe to meet people in but it could use a kitchen!
Wombats City Hostel at a glance:
- Organizes tons of activities (karaoke, walking tours)
- Convenient location near Tower Bridge and the Tower of London
- Great place for meeting other travelers
Beds from 20 GBP ($25 USD). Privates from 110 GBP ($140 USD).
5. Astor Museum Hostel
This award-winning hostel is right in front of the British Museum and a few minutes from Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and Covent Garden. The rooms are basic, but it’s a good value, and there’s a cozy lounge and kitchen area. Partake in breakfast for just 1 GBP. Free dinners are also offered frequently. It’s not as quaint as their Hyde Park branch but I find this location better!
Astor Museum Hostel at a glance:
- Hosts regular free dinners
- Laid-back lounge for hanging out and meeting people
- Affordable 1 GBP breakfast
Beds from 18 GBP ($23 USD). Privates from 75 ($95 USD).
6. The Walrus Hostel
This hostel close to Parliament and Big Ben has a busy pub downstairs where hostel guests get a discount! The breakfast is simple but free and there’s a decent sized kitchen to cook your own food. The entire place has a quaint Old-English feel, with wallpapered rooms and antique-style furnishings. Request a room on the lower level if you don’t want to climb too many stairs as this place also has no elevators! The common area with its eclectic mix of furnture is my favorite part of this hostel.
The Walrus Hostel at a glance:
- Pub on-site with discounts for guests
- Free breakfast (and a kitchen if you want to cook your own meals)
- Great place for meeting people
Beds from 15 GBP ($19 USD). Privates from 60 GBP ($76 USD).
7. St. Christopher’s Village
This hostel chain has eight London locations, but I like the Village venue the best — especially for being so near the Borough Market (an absolute haven for foodies). It’s also a short walk to the London Eye and Tower Bridge. This is a pretty big party place, with an outdoor terrace, regular beer pong nights, and musical performances. There are a ton of social events to get you well acquainted with your fellow travelers! It’s the first hostel in London to have cozy pod-style beds. They are actually super comfortable and provided one of the best sleeps I had in the city!
St. Christopher’s Village at a glance:
- Party hostel with beer pong nights
- Fun outdoor terrace makes meeting people easy
- Organizes tons of activities
Beds from 19 GBP ($25 USD). Privates from 75 GBP ($97 USD).
8. Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage
The owners have repurposed a beautiful old house into this hostel. The interior has traditional English décor in the lobby area (including a decorative knight in shining armor). The beds are comfortable and have privacy curtains. There is an elevator, but the top floors can get hot in the summer so I’d avoid them. Though it is small, the kitchen has everything you need, and the downstairs bar is great to sit and have a beer. I’m a huge fan.
Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage at a glance:
- Vintage decor makes this hostel feel like home
- Privacy curtains so you can get a decent sleep
- Bar on-site for mingling and meeting people
Beds from 17 GBP ($22 USD). Privates from 64 GBP ($81 USD).
9. YHA London
YHA has six London locations, but the Earls Court and Oxford Street locations are my favorite. These hostels both have dorms and private rooms. The rooms are typically very clean and safe, and both locations host activities every week (including free walking tours and movie nights). The Earls Court location is in a recently refurbished Victorian building. The Oxford Street location is colorful and cheerful, but not great for families, as it does get pretty loud in the evenings.
YHA London at a glance:
- Organizes lots of activities (movie nights, free walking tours)
- Social atmosphere so it’s easy to meet people
- Bars on-site for minging and hanging out
- YHA London (Oxford Street) – Beds from 18 GBP ($23 USD). Privates from 45 GBP ($57 USD).
- YHA London (Earls Court) – Beds from 17 GBP ($22 USD). Privates from 55 GBP ($70 USD).
10. Hostel One
This hostel is awesome. Guests get a free homemade dinner each night and can join in on organized activities (including drinking games). It’s a very social hostel with friendly staff and a good vibe. The rooms are a bit cramped and pillows a bit flat but the vibe here more than makes up for the beds! There are two locations (one in Camden and one in Notting Hill).
Hostel One at a glance:
- Free homemade dinners
- Organizes tons of events
- Great place for meeting other travelers
- Hostel One Camden – Beds from 20 GBP ($25 USD). Privates from 80 GBP ($102 USD).
- Hostel One Notting Hill – Beds from 19 GBP ($24 USD). Privates from 92 GBP ($117 USD).
11. Barmy Badger
I’ve always had a good night’s sleep here. It may be the memory foam mattresses or the cushy pillows, but this hostel has most everything you need. The beds each have reading lights, USB plugs, and power sockets. A nice breakfast of cereals and fresh fruit is included, and there’s free coffee and tea all day. They sometimes host BBQ parties and other events.
Barmy Badger at a glance:
- Lots of free perks (free breakfast, free coffee/tea all day)
- Organizes lots of events (like BBQs)
- Great beds so you’ll sleep well
Beds from 22 GBP ($28 USD). Privates from 60 GBP ($76 USD).
12. Park Villa
Park Villa is a boutique hostel in a grand Georgian Regency style estate in the Mile End Old Town of London. It looks amazing from the outside, and there are nice common spaces; the rooms have comfy beds, but are nothing special. It’s a bit farther from the city center, but it’s quiet, clean, and well maintained. There is a kitchenette and you can pay 3 GBP for a continental breakfast. Free tea and coffee are usually available, and the staff is knowledgeable and provides great London sightseeing tips. You can easily get to Oxford Circus, Holborn, and Tower Hill from here.
Park Villa at a glance:
- Quiet hostel away from the noise of downtown
- Free coffee/tea all day and a 3 GBP breakfast
- Spacious common areas make it easy to meet people
Beds from 19 GBP ($24 USD). Privates from 57 GBP ($72 USD).
This large hostel (I kept getting lost in the hallways) is in Soho with a rooftop “tiki”-style bar, nightly drink specials, quiz nights, live music, and karaoke. They have a big common space too with a restaurant has some cheap food (like 5 GBP pizzas) and beer. The beds are comfy and the showers super clean. It was an awesome place to stay and I even extended my time there. If you book directly with them, they often have special rates.
SoHostel at a glance:
- Organizes tons of events (drinking games, karaoke, quiz nights)
- Great place to meet people
- Discounts if you book direct
Beds from 25 GBP ($32 USD). Privates from 55 GBP ($70 USD).
London has a lot of hostels but instead of spending hours trying to figure out where to stay, this list of the best hostels in London will save you time and ensure you got a great place to stay.
My all time best hostel in London on this list is Clink 78 or SoHostel.
Got a hostel not on this list? Add it in the comments!
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Book Your Trip to London: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
If you’re wondering what part of town to stay in, here’s my neighborhood breakdown of London!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Need a Guide?
London has some really interesting tours. My favorite company is Take Walks. They have expert guides and can get you behind the scenes at the city’s best attractions. They’re my go-to walking tour company!
If you want a bike tour, use Fat Tire Tours. They have the best and most affordable bike tours in the city.
Want More Information on London?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to London for even more planning tips!
Photo credits: 2 – Generator Hostels, 3 – Clink78, 4 – Astor Hyde Park, 5 – Wombats City Hostel London, 6 – Astor Museum Hostel, 7 – The Walrus Hostel, 8 – St. Christopher’s Village, 9 – Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage, 10 – YHA London, 11 – Hostel One, 12 – Barmy Badger, 13 – Park Villa, 14 – SoHostel