The Best Hostels in London: Top Picks for Budget Travellers in 2024

Written by: Chris Richardson

London’s hostel scene caters to various travellers, whether you are a solo adventurer, digital nomad, or in a group looking for a communal experience. With options ranging from the quaint and quiet to the lively and social, the city holds an array of accommodations that offer more than just a place to sleep. Hostels in London have become destinations in themselves, providing you with opportunities to engage in organized activities, enjoy meals, and connect with fellow globetrotters.

Colorful buildings line a bustling street in London, with signs advertising the best hostels. Tourists and locals mingle in the vibrant atmosphere

Hostels like Wombats City Hostel and Onefam Notting Hill stand out among the plethora, offering unique experiences that go beyond the basics. At Wombats City Hostel, you’ll find comfort and style, while Onefam Notting Hill becomes memorable for its warm, inclusive environment and free homemade dinners. For budget-conscious travellers, London offers hostels like Prime Backpackers in Angel, where affordability does not compromise quality or safety.

Party seekers might gravitate towards St. Christopher’s Inn at The Village, renowned for its vibrant nightlife and social scene. Meanwhile, digital nomads may prefer The Walrus, known for its amenities tailored to those who need to work while they wander.

Whatever the preference, London’s best hostels provide a snapshot of the city’s diversity, wrapping up comfort, convenience, and culture into memorable stays for their guests.

How to Choose a Good Hostel in London

Colorful hostel signs line a bustling street in London, with tourists comparing prices and amenities through open windows

When selecting a hostel in London, you should prioritize several key factors to ensure a pleasant stay.

Location: Central London locations near major attractions and transport links can save time and money. However, quieter neighbourhoods might offer a better local experience.

  • Transportation: Proximity to the Tube, buses, and train stations
  • Attractions: Distance to landmarks like Tower Bridge and Covent Garden

Price: London offers a range of hostels for various budgets.

  • Affordability: Compare prices across platforms to find the best deals
  • Inclusions: Check if breakfast or social events are included

Amenities: Hostels vary widely, and one’s amenities can significantly impact your comfort and convenience.

  • Wi-Fi: Free wifi is essential for digital nomads and keeping in touch
  • Kitchen: Useful for budget travellers who prefer to cook
  • Security: Lockers and the 24-hour reception can enhance safety

Social Environment: Depending on traveller preferences, a social hostel with organized activities can make for a memorable trip, whereas others may offer a more tranquil experience.

  • Quiet: For those seeking rest and comfort
  • Social: For solo travellers looking to meet others

Reviews: Reading recent reviews can provide insight into the current quality of the hostel.

  • Cleanliness
  • Staff Friendliness
  • Overall Experience

You should also consider whether you are looking for speciality hostels, such as those catering to solo travellers, couples travel, or digital nomads. 

The Best Hostels in London

The bustling streets of London showcase the best hostels, with colorful facades and welcoming signs, drawing in travelers from around the world

London boasts a variety of hostels catering to all types of travellers, from those seeking a vibrant party atmosphere to those needing a quiet base for exploration. The hostels mentioned herein have consistently ranked high on cleanliness, location, amenities, and guest satisfaction.

Wombats City Hostel

Wombats City Hostel stands out for its central location and modern facilities. It has earned recognition for being the Overall Best Hostel in London due to its favourable balance of price, comfort, and sociability. Guests appreciate the hostel’s clean rooms and the onsite bar as a social hub.

The Walrus Hostel

Located near the iconic Tower Bridge, The Walrus Hostel appeals to digital nomads and budget-conscious travellers for its work-friendly environment and great location. Common areas are well-equipped, promoting a blend of productivity and social interactions.

Hostel One Notting Hill

Hostel One Notting Hill caters primarily to solo travellers looking to connect with others. With an inclusive social atmosphere, it frequently organizes events, allowing guests to mingle and explore the city, a staple experience for many staying in a London hostel.

St. Christopher’s Village

For those looking to experience London’s nightlife, St. Christopher’s Village is the top pick. This party hostel offers themed nights, live music, and discounts at its on-site bar, making it a magnet for the spirited traveller.

Clink 261

A modest and cozy option, Clink 261 provides a tranquil refuge without sacrificing location. With amenities like self-catering facilities and comfortable common areas, it offers a convenient base near King’s Cross for travellers keen on exploring various parts of London.

These hostels are responsive to different preferences and needs, confirming London’s status as a city with some of the best hostels in the world. HostelWorld, among other platforms, typically provides many reviews and bookings for these sought-after accommodations.

Amenities and Services

A bustling hostel lobby with cozy seating, a vibrant social atmosphere, and a helpful reception desk. Guests enjoy a variety of amenities such as free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and a communal kitchen

When selecting a hostel in London, potential guests must consider the amenities and services paramount to their stay. It determines the level of comfort and convenience they will experience. Top hostels in London distinguish themselves through exceptional amenities and keen attention to the well-being and privacy of their guests.

Comfort and Cleanliness

Cleanliness is a crucial aspect of hostels. Many hostels offer a communal kitchen, allowing guests to prepare their meals and fostering a home-like atmosphere. For those seeking a hassle-free start to their day, hostels like Wombats City Hostel often provide complimentary breakfast, ensuring guests can explore the city on a full stomach.

Security and Privacy Options

Security features prominently in travellers’ choice of accommodation. Hostels typically offer lockers for securing valuables, with some also providing options for private rooms to cater to guests’ needs for privacy and tranquillity. For those requiring extra privacy, options such as capsule beds in shared dorms offer a secluded space to rest. Safety is further reinforced through gender-specific dorms, with some establishments providing female-only dorms alongside mixed dorms, ensuring all guests feel secure and respected.

Hostel guests in London can typically expect a blend of communal experiences and personal comfort underpinned by a commitment to cleanliness and security.

Locations and Neighborhoods

The bustling streets of London, with colorful row houses and cobblestone alleys leading to the best hostels in the city

Selecting the right hostel in London means considering its location relative to the city’s myriad attractions and the convenience of transportation links. This ensures travellers can maximize their time and enjoy easy access to London’s historical and cultural highlights.

Proximity to Major Attractions

London’s rich tapestry of neighbourhoods offers hostels near grand-scale landmarks and museums. Hyde Park and Kensington Palace are nestled within the affluent area of Kensington, with several hostels providing a stone’s throw away convenience to these serene havens. The iconic Tower Bridge and the historic Tower of London sit along the River Thames, with hostels nearby giving visitors the chance to witness the timeless allure of London’s history.

Art and history enthusiasts can stay near the world-renowned British Museum and the Natural History Museum, ensuring a culturally immersive experience.

For those looking to indulge in the city’s royal heritage, Buckingham Palace stands as a beacon of tradition, with nearby accommodations available. Meanwhile, shopping devotees will appreciate hostels near Oxford Street, where high-street to high-end brands await.

Transportation and Walkability

The significance of transportation options cannot be overstated. Areas like Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square are prime spots for sightseeing and hubs for London’s extensive public transport network, including buses and the Underground, facilitating ease of movement across the city. Hostel dwellers can navigate the expanse of London, from the bustling food stalls of Borough Market to the business district of Canary Wharf, all connected through an efficient transit system.

Walkability is a prime factor for travellers who wish to explore on foot. Areas like Whitechapel offer an authentic slice of London’s diverse urban landscape within pedestrian-friendly environs. Here, visitors can discover an assortment of eateries, markets, and galleries. In contrast, locales like the South Bank, home to attractions like the London Eye and a promenade bursting with street performers and artisans, highlight the city’s vibrant cultural scene within a pleasantly walkable area.

Budgeting for Your Stay

Travelers budgeting at a desk with a map and guidebook in a vibrant London hostel common area

In London, the range of hostel accommodations caters to all sorts of budget travellers, from backpackers to solo explorers. Managing finances can be daunting, but a strategic approach to booking and selecting hostels can significantly impact a traveler’s budget.

Cost-Effective Options for Travelers

For those on a tight budget, shared dorms in hostels offer a cost-effective alternative to private rooms, with prices varying based on the number of beds per room. Budget travellers typically find that dorm rooms with more beds are priced lower.

A list of cheap hostels in London with consistent reputations for quality and affordability could include Astor Museum Hostel, Astor Hyde Park Hostel, and Wombats City Hostel.

For example, prices for a bed in a shared dorm may start as low as 20 GBP, while a private room in the same hostel could be around 50 GBP per night, demonstrating the variance in cost based on privacy and comfort level. 

Hostel Price Comparison:

  • Shared Dorm: From 20 GBP
  • Private Room: From 50 GBP

But keep in mind prices vary greatly due to the time of year and location among other factors.

Booking Tips and Best Times

Booking hostels in London can be influenced by seasonality, location and special events, affecting both price and availability. For instance, booking during the off-peak season or weekdays can lead to cheaper accommodations due to lower demand. Tools like HostelWorld can help you track hostel prices. It’s also imperative to consider the best location for your itinerary to save on transportation costs. Hostels located centrally tend to be more expensive but save travellers time and money commuting to popular sights.

Travellers are advised to book early, particularly when planning to visit during peak tourist seasons or around holidays. 

Budgeting for your stay is a delicate balance of cost, convenience, and comfort. By opting for shared dorms, capitalizing on off-peak times, and using price comparison tools, travellers can stretch their finances further while enjoying the vibrancy of London.

Frequently Asked Questions

A bustling hostel in London, with travelers chatting in the common area and staff assisting guests at the reception desk

Selecting the right hostel can significantly impact the experience in London. Below you’ll find some common queries to help make informed decisions.

What features should I look for in a hostel when travelling alone in London?

When travelling alone, look for hostels offering community events, secure storage options, and common areas conducive to socializing. Hostels like Onefam Notting Hill are favoured for their sociable atmosphere and organized activities.

Can you recommend hostels in London that offer private rooms?

Yes, many hostels provide private rooms for those seeking more privacy. Wombats City Hostel and SoHostel are examples of places to book private accommodations, offering a blend of the hostel experience with personal space.

Which hostels in London are considered most suitable for female travellers?

Female travellers often look for hostels with dedicated female-only dorms for added comfort and security. Hostels like St. Christopher’s Inn and The Walrus offer female-only rooms and prioritize safety.

What is the best area to book a hostel?

The best area to book a hostel depends on the traveller’s preferences and itinerary. Central locations like SoHo or Notting Hill are popular for accessibility to major attractions. Locations like Prime Backpackers Angel offer a balance between connectivity and affordability.

What are the typical costs associated with staying at a London hostel?

Hostel prices in London can range from under 30 GBP to over 40 GBP per night, with variations depending on location, amenities, and time of year. Budget options like No.8 Willesden Hostel London cater to travellers looking for affordability.

What amenities do the more luxurious hostels in London provide?

Luxurious hostels in London may offer on-site pubs or restaurants, en-suite bathrooms, complimentary events such as free dinners at Onefam Notting Hill, or more upscale common areas for networking and relaxation.