Where to Find Affordable Summer Accommodation in London

by Oliver Stallwood  |  Published June 19, 2024

London can seem prohibitively expensive for a lot of people to stay during a vacation – but shop around and there are some bargains to be had. 

(Photo: Pedro Szekely via Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0)

Let’s not beat around the bush – London can be a very expensive place to visit, especially in summertime. The UK capital consistently ranks as one of the pricier places to vacation in the world, which can mean that a lot of people cross it off their travel wish list. But that would be a mistake. If you know where to look London can be fairly affordable – a supermarket sandwich can be had for little more than £1 for example – and the same goes for accommodation. Outside of the standard hotel booking sites there are a number of options for cheap places to stay, from unused university accommodation to spare rooms in host houses. Here is where to find affordable summer accommodation in London.


While hotels and Airbnbs are the go-to accommodation options for anyone visiting London, not many people know that you can stay in university accommodation for a bargain price. Started over 20 years ago, UniversityRooms is a global website that links tourists to short-term (and long-term) bookings in university accommodation in more than 100 cities around the world. The university-owned and independently-owned student rooms would often otherwise be empty and so filling them with people who want to do a vacation on a budget means everyone is a winner. There is a choice of twin, single and even family rooms on offer, many benefiting from ensuite bathrooms and are available on a bed and breakfast or self-catering basis. 



Hostels have come a long way since the eighties and nineties when they were very much a basic place to crash while travelling. Like many cities, London has a great selection of hostels, ranging from the (very) cheap and cheerful to more boutique offerings that still have the classic dorm beds available, as well as single and double rooms, and shared kitchen areas so that you can save a bit of money by popping to the supermarket. Hostelworld was launched in 1999 and has hostel partners in over 180 countries, with 63 different properties available in London. The website is clear and easy to use, even giving options of filtering sustainable hostels. 



Homestay was founded in 2013 and now has a selection of over 63,000 rooms in over 176 countries. The thinking behind the website is to offer quality rooms at affordable prices, giving host families the chance to rent out spare rooms for short- and long-term accommodation. As a visitor, not only do you get a wallet-friendly place to stay, you also get to live with a local, with all the tips and authentic experiences that come with it. There are currently 377 rooms in and around London, with some starting at as little as €16 per night.