The largest capital in Europe, London is a must-visit multicultural metropolis that combines the best of old and new. This is a place where visitors can hop from world-class museums to Victorian pubs to craft markets in minutes. Its 32 boroughs each have their own distinctive character, from colourful Camden to leafy Richmond, spliced through the centre by the River Thames, the lifeblood of the city. With so much on offer, the pressure to find a base that combines location, affordability and style can be overwhelming.
Thankfully, London’s hostel scene is booming. No longer the domain of thrifty backpackers, a new wave of dynamic, stylish hostels offering private rooms and smartly designed bars, restaurants and rooftop terraces are popping up all over the Big Smoke. From sleek pads at the foot of West End landmarks to suburban homes-away-from-home, there’s a hostel for every traveller’s fancy. To help narrow it down, here are ten of our favourite London hostels with private rooms.
Wombat’s The City Hostel, The City
Located ten minutes from the delights of London Bridge, Wombat’s City Hostel is a lively and affordable base from which to explore the city. Inside, it’s all exposed brickwork, mid-century furnishings and 500-year old oak wood. The underground WomBar is well worth a visit for affordable pre-drinks or a nightcap, while a communal kitchen offers everything you’ll need to cook up some decent grub. Private rooms are spacious, with a king-size bed and crisp linen, and an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower. For sunnier London days, guests can relax in one of the many hammocks lining the sun-filled courtyard.
Rooms from £64 per night/ Book at HostelBookers.com
Saint James Backpackers
This cool central London hangout in Earls Court feels more like a houseshare than a hostel. The Victorian townhouse offers a range of well-priced shared and private rooms, some with en-suites. Bedrooms are simply decorated, all with wardrobes, televisions and shelves. A generous continental breakfast is included in the rate, and each morning guests can put their name down for a free communal dinner at 8 pm. There’s a spacious garden patio with an outdoor gym, as well as a lounge with an 85-inch Ultra HD TV with Netflix and PS4. Guests can also use the modern communal kitchen to cook their own meals, avoiding those South Kensington restaurant prices.
Rooms from £39 per night/ Book at HostelBookers.com
Boasting a W1 postcode, the SoHostel is a three-minute walk to Oxford Street and five-minutes to the West End. Inside, there’s a cheerful bar serving affordable cocktails and happy hour from 5-7 pm daily, as well as a Hawaiian rooftop terrace for snatching up those elusive sun rays in the summer. The Larder offers hot food, cakes and coffee throughout the day, with profits donated to The Arlington, a Camden-based homeless hostel. Double rooms are basic, but stylish, with electric blue and fuchsia pink feature walls, a sink area and access to a shared bathroom.
Rooms from £50 per night/ Book at HostelBookers.com
Historic Burlington Residence offers an affordable base for exploring London, south of the river. The Wandsworth-based hostel is a 10-minute stroll from Balham station, and walking distance to two of the city’s best-loved parks Clapham Common and Tooting Bec, as well as Tooting Bec Lido. There is a range of private rooms to choose from, but the Deluxe Suite is the most exciting, featuring exposed brickwork arches, stained glass windows, a queen-size bed and a living area with a sofa bed. There isn’t a bar or restaurant onsite, but with the vibrant network of restaurants, clubs and pubs on the doorstep, as well as the 24-hour tube into central London, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Rooms from £45 per night/ Book at Booking.com
Park Villa Hostel
Set in a 300-year old Georgian Regency villa in the old East End of London, Park Villa Hostel has been lovingly restored to create a space that combines old-world charm with modern convenience. Private bedrooms are tastefully decorated and spacious, with bright white walls, a desk and wardrobes or drawers. Some feature en-suite bathrooms and all are fitted with twin-beds that can be connected to create a large double. In the reception, guests can find itineraries, hand-drawn maps, earplugs, toiletries and bicycles — all for free. A buffet breakfast of pastries, cereals, eggs and bread is available in the communal kitchenette for £3.
Rooms from £68 per night/ Book at HostelBookers.com
The Walrus Bar & Hostel
Set above The Walrus Bar, a Lower Marsh institution, this independent hostel offers shared and private rooms for travellers looking for proximity to fun. Interiors are contemporary but characterful; bright white walls and steel bed frames meet panelled walls, gilt mirrors and flock wallpaper. Private bedrooms are all twin rooms, with vintage-inspired furnishings and a shared bathroom. There are no communal spaces, but guests can slip downstairs to the always-lively bar, where they get a discount on an excellent selection of craft and international beers on tap.
Rooms from £40 per night/ Book at Booking.com
Mama Shelter Shoreditch
Millennial favourite Mama Shelter is gaining a cult following — and for good reason to. Combining the sociable atmosphere of a hostel with stylish interiors and upmarket amenities, it’s the ultimate flashpacker destination. Private rooms are impeccably designed, with kitsch carpets, fringed lamps and velvet cushions, as well as boutique hotel amenities including flat-screen televisions, hairdryers and a mini-fridge with complimentary filter water. Metro-tiled ensuite bathrooms are fitted with walk-in rainfall showers, with complimentary eco-friendly toiletries too. The wine bars, speakeasies and pubs of Hackney Road and Colombia road are a short stroll away.
Rooms from £48 per night/ Book at Booking.com
A spruced up Victorian townhouse in leafy Islington, Prime Backpackers offers an affordable, social base for exploring the city. Guests can choose from four cosy private rooms with a shared bathroom. There’s a communal lounge with a 50-inch TV and a large, fully equipped kitchen too. While there isn’t a bar in the building, Upper Street’s staggering range of cocktail bars, pubs and restaurants are within spitting distance, and Shoreditch’s late-night clubs are a few minutes away by bus. The hostel regularly hosts movie nights, games nights and barbeques on the terrace, and guests also have free reign of the drum kit, guitars and Sonos sound system if they’re feeling creative.
Rooms from £48 per night/ Book at Booking.com
Green Rooms describes itself as a ‘social enterprise and arts-led hotel’, promising a beautiful setting that inspires creativity. The former 1920s showroom succeeds on that front, with its ornate stonework, art deco facade and original stucco features. There are two large dormitories and a host of private rooms, ranging from standard twin bedrooms with shared bathrooms to studio rooms with living rooms and kitchenettes. The top floor is reserved for events, while downstairs the open-plan restaurant hosts residencies from up-and-coming chefs — Japanese Oita is currently serving up delicious, affordable sushi. The artsy enclave offers special rates for visitors working in the creative industry too.
Rooms from £85 per room/ Book at HostelBookers.com
London Backpackers Youth Hostel Hendon
This no-frills youth hostel is consistently voted one of the best in London. A two-minute walk from Hendon Central Station in Zone 4, it’s well-connected, while being far enough from the city centre to promise a sound night’s sleep. Interiors are eclectic, with kooky mock bookshelf wallpaper, tin road signs and a wall-size map of London that wraps around the entire reception. Guests looking for a private room have the choice of single, double and twin rooms, each with a TV, a writing desk and an ironing board. Bathrooms are shared and there’s a huge communal kitchen, assuring plenty of space for cooking meals.
Rooms from £30 per room / Book at HostelBookers.com