Partying, Sightseeing or Long-Term? Our Guide to the Best London Hostels

If you want to know where to stay in London, use our handy accommodation guide to help you pick the best London hostels for your trip. Whether you are visiting the capital to party, looking for some cheap long-term accommodation, need a family-friendly hostel with easy access to the best London attractions or need to find cheap accommodation for the Olympics, we have it covered…

Don’t forget to check out HostelBookers Summer Sale 2012 for cheap London hostel deals!


Best New London Hostel

Safestay in Elephant and Castle is a brand new hostel just a few minutes on the Northern Line on the London Underground away from all the sites and attractions in the Big Smoke. The beautiful 19th century Georgian building is just south of the River Thames and has plenty of cool bars, museums and cafes just a stone’s throw away. It’s secure, stylish, comfortable and funky and there’s even a heated and illuminated garden for you to relax in.

Cool accommodation in London

Best Party Hostels

St Christopher’s Inn – Camden

Camden is one of London’s most colourful neighbourhoods. There are plenty of pubs and bars hosting live music as well as more established London nightclub venues such as the Electric Ballroom, Koko and the Jazz Café which host popular bands and artists. For the morning after, the hostel offers a free breakfast and you can spend a nice morning browsing round the boutiques and cafes at Camden Market beside the canal. The hostel itself has the on site Belushi’s bar screening international sports events on the widescreen TVs, offering cheap drinks and pool tournaments. They have twin rooms, mixed 6, 8 or 10-bed dorms as well as female-only dorms.

Generator Hostel London

It has made something of a name for itself on the backpacker scene with a lively bar open until 2am. It hosts events every night including themed parties, pool competition, quizzes and karaoke. So there are plenty of opportunities to meet fellow travellers. They have everything you need to get your night off to a good start with knowledgable staff who can point you in the direction of the best London nightlife and they serve cheap dinners of pizzas and burgers. Also see ‘Best for Groups’.

Best Atmosphere

Palmers Lodge-Swiss Cottage

A great place to head home to after a busy day of sightseeing. Palmers Lodge is housed in an elegant Victorian grade II listed building which was once the home of Samuel Palmer from Palmers Biscuit Empire. They have sturdy bunks with drawers underneath, pretty privacy curtains and the whole place retains much of its historic charm. There is also a nice intimate bar but it is in the basement so you can still get a good night’s sleep. They offer a hearty free breakfast, cosy TV lounge and free internet. Hampstead Heath, Regent’s Park and two cinemas are close by.

Best for the Olympics

The Great Eastern

Just a few minutes walk from Mudchute station, the DLR can have you in Stratford and at the Olympic Village in 25 minutes. They offer both female only and mixed dorms, private rooms and prices include breakfast and Wi-Fi. The pub downstairs is a great place for celebrating victories (or commiserating losses!) and if you are partial to some London sightseeing, guests can walk to Greenwich, the Cutty Sark Museum and the Royal Observatory.

YHA London Thameside

Alternatively, the YHA London Thameside hostel can have you at the Olympics village in under 20 minutes but you will need to change from overground to the tube halfway. Just across the water from the Tower of London and London Dungeons it’s a great base for exploring the city.Both shared and private rooms are en suite and they have an on site bar, self-catering facilities and a restaurant.

Best for Long-Term Stays

Palmers Lodge – Hillspring at Willesden Green

Although a little out of town, Palmers Lodge is great for guests looking for long-term accommodation in London. You can book male or female only 4-bed dorms each with their own sink, mirror, reading light, private lockers and comfy (non-squeaky!) wooden bunks. They offer a free breakfast, free Wi-Fi as well as 6 internet computer kiosks which are free for guests to use. They have self-catering and laundry facilities as well as a nice terrace and stylish onsite bar serving drinks and meals. It is a 5-minute walk to the underground station and just 15 minutes to central London while buses stop right outside the hostel.

A more central solution would be the Travel Joy Hostel which is reviewed below in ‘Best View’ or the Walrus at Waterloo for up to 4-week stays in ‘Best for Culture’.

Best for a Flying Visit

YHA London Central

One of our top-rated hostels in London, YHA London Central ticks so many boxes. If you are short of time, this place boasts a great location close to lots of tube stations, bus routes and also the Eurostar and mainline services at King Cross Station. All facilities are modern, the rooms are spacious and stylish and everything is clean and tidy. There are self-catering facilities, lockers in dorms, a 24hr reception and an on site bar.

Best for Sightseeing

Astor Hyde Park

South Kensington is home to some of the most popular London museums. Astor Hyde Park is round the corner from the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Guests are also 5 minutes from the lovely Hyde Park complete with art gallery, boating lake, lido and cycle paths. The free breakfast offered by the hostel will set you up for the day, and after a busy day of sightseeing, you can return and relax in the TV lounge complete with SKY TV package, pool table and internet kiosks. There are self catering facilities – perfect if you fancy packing a picnic for the park, and a nice dining area.

Best for Peace & Quiet

YHA London Holland Park

A great choice for the summer months, YHA London Holland Park boasts a lovely leafy and well-to-do location and is housed in a picturesque Jacobean mansion. Rooms overlook Holland park and you can enjoy breakfast or an evening drink in the garden from the bar. From the hostel you can walk to the popular Portobello Road Market and the quirky boutiques, cinemas and eateries around Notting Hill. The Westfield Shopping Centre and Hyde Park are also nearby.

Best for a View

Travel Joy Hostel

Overlooking the River Thames, the Travel Joy Hostel has a lovely terrace where you can enjoy the view. It’s great place for a jog on the morning or why not walk to one of the best London galleries, Tate Britian. The hostel is housed in a lovely English pub and, with live music at weekends, it is a great place to socialise. The super fast Wi-Fi internet is perfect for Skype calls in the lounge or bar area where you can also enjoy Thai food. They offer a free breakfast, linen and towels, secure storage facilities while a 24hr bus stops outside the hostel and takes you to the London West End. Pimlico (Victoria line) is a 5-minute walk.

Best for Culture

Walrus at Waterloo

The South Bank is an exciting hub for the arts in London. Here, beside the River Thames, you can find the National Theatre, the National Film Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery and plenty of waterside bars and restaurants. The Walrus at Waterloo is a short walk from the South Bank and also the popular Young Vic and Old Vic theatres and some lovely local cafes and boutiques along Lower Marsh Street. The hostel is housed above a nice local pub – not too busy but great for meeting people and hanging out on an evening. They have self-catering facilities, a free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and 4, 6 or 16-bed dorms with private lockers.

Best for Families

Equity Point

Housed in a charming Georgian building, all the facilities are new and the decor is bright and stylish. They offer dorms but also private and family en suite rooms with cots available on request. Guests are ideally located in central London to visit Hyde Park, Madame Tussauds and since you are just around the corner from Paddington Station, you have easy access to Heathrow Airport on the express train. There are self-catering facilities, a free breakfast, a common area with TV and Wi-Fi, a games room and also a tours and travel desk.

MEININGER Hotel London Park

Alternatively, MEININGER Hotel London Park is close to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, Buckingham Palace and Harrods – so little legs don’t have far to travel for their daily dose of sightseeing! Everything is clean, bright and modern and the hostel sells tickets for public transport, breakfast, internet terminals, underground parking and a free city tour. Private en suite rooms have TVs and all linen and towels are included. Parents can put their feet-up in the laid-back lobby bar which serves drinks, muffins, sandwiches and cookies.

Best for Groups

For tailor-made group travel arrangements you can contact our Group Travel Team.

School or college groups: Head for Equity Point in Paddington (see review above in ‘Best for families’) which offers large en suite dorms.

If you are in London to party, the Generator Hostel London has a lively bar and offers 8-bed dorms so check out ‘Best Party Hostels’ for the full review of this hostel.


With a huge number of room types including up to 16-bed dorms, female-only rooms, and en suite dormitories, Clink78 caters for a huge number of travellers. It is housed in a former courthouse but is fitted with all the mod cons including high-tech pod beds, reading lights, personal lockers, an internet courtroom and TV courtroom with 60 inch TV. There is also a self-catering kitchen, bar area hosting live bands, quizzes, pool competitions and drink offers and they provide a free breakfast. Clink78 hostel is round the corner from Kings Cross Station with mainline, tube and Eurostar services and plenty of bus routes so coordinating group travel is very convenient.

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