On my very first trip to London, I – like many young, broke travelers – stayed in a hostel. I did a ton of research and – not knowing much about London – booked myself a hostel out in Canary Wharf. It was affordable, within walking distance of public transit, and seemed like a good spot to base myself that wouldn’t be too crazy since it was a bit further from Central London.
Big, big mistake.
If you know anything about London, you know that Canary Wharf is literally miles from Central London and all the fun things to do there – and all the money I saved was spent anyway on additional fares to ride the DLR to/from the hostel each day. On top of that, travel times were so long that I didn’t want to return to my hostel except at the end of each day; I spent the entire day out and about rather than going back and forth to drop things off or rest at all.
Admittedly, it was my first international trip and my first time staying in a hostel – I’ve since learned a lot about London, the accommodation options you have there, and how to screen good hostels for price, location, and convenience. With all that knowledge, I decided to put together a list of the best hostels in London, for budget-conscious travelers (nicer than saying “broke,” am I right?).
Ready to explore the entire list? Below you’ll start with a list of the top 10 best hostels in London and then I have a detailed list of the top 25 with more information about each one. All this to say – you’re gonna know exactly which hostel(s) you want to stay at in London when you’re there!
The 10 Best Hostels in London (Table)
To come up with my list of the best hostels in London, I used a bunch of data to determine the final ranking. First, I looked at the scores each hostel reviewed on both Google and Hostelworld, then I weighted those review scores by price and popularity (total number of reviews), and gave extra points for being in Zone 1 since it’s so much more convenient than staying in other parts of London.
Based on that formula, here’s my final rating of the 10 best hostels in London:
|Rank||Hostel Name||Starting Price||Accolades||Booking Link|
|1🥇||Astor Museum Hostel||£17.10||1️⃣, 📈, 👨👩👧👦||Link|
|2🥈||Astor Hyde Park||£18.00||1️⃣, 📈, 👨👩👧👦||Link|
|3🥉||Wombats City Hostel London||£25.58||1️⃣, 📈, 👨👩👧👦||Link|
|4||The Walrus Hostel||£10.12||1️⃣, 📈, 👨👩👧👦||Link|
|6||PubLove @ The White Ferry||£18.00||1️⃣||Link|
|8||Hostel One Notting Hill||£22.00||1️⃣,📈||Link|
|9||PubLove @ The Rose and Crown||£15.00||1️⃣,📈||Link|
If you’re curious to learn more about these great London hostels and the other ones that made my list to round out the top 25, read on.
1. Astor Museum Hostel
An award-winning hostel, the Astor Museum Hostel has been in the accommodation scene since 1977. Many travelers consider it the best cheap London accommodation as it offers excellent value for the money, starting with its privileged location right in the heart of Central London.
If you’re an arts and culture vulture, you’ll be thrilled to learn the British Museum is literally on its doorstep (it’s just across the street!) Other iconic attractions like Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and Covent Garden are a short walk from the hostel. The rooms are pretty simple but comfortable and spacious. There’s also a lounge and kitchen area, where they offer breakfast for just £1. Hosts also provide free dinners frequently. It’s not as quaint as their Hyde Park branch, but I find this location better.
Beds start from £17.10, book on Hostelworld
2. Astor Hyde Park
The Astor Hostels chain also has another branch close to Hyde Park. While the location isn’t as central as the Museum Hostel, the decoration and enchanting building of Astor Hyde Park make up for it. It is one of the best hostels in London for those who want a more stylish stay.
The rooms are enormous and feature lovely wooden décor. They also offer their affordable £1 breakfast. The staff is accommodating and can help you arrange tours and activities. Despite its quiet location, you’ll find many pubs and restaurants, as well as the Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert, and Science Museum within walking distance.
Beds start from £18, book on Hostelworld
As hostels go, the Wombats City Hostel is one of the best London hostels for social butterflies. The staff organizes lots of activities (day and night), like karaoke and walking tours, where you can meet fellow travelers. The building is also beautiful and has an interesting story. Before it became one of the best hostels in London, it served as a seaman’s hostel, which explains its wooden bunk beds and hardwood floors.
You can book three types of rooms, mixed, single-sex dorms and en suite. There’s also a kitchen, laundry facilities, and their famous WomBar where you can socialize, play pool, dance, or drink. The hostel has an excellent location, close to attractions like the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and City Hall.
Beds start from £25.58, book on Hostelworld
4. The Walrus Hostel
The Walrus Hostel is the best hostel in London in terms of customer service and facilities. Their staff is incredibly helpful, going to great lengths to ensure you have everything you need for a lovely time in London. The hostel has a fully equipped kitchen where backpackers can cook their meals. There’s also a communal room with many tables, where travelers sometimes work or check their email.
As for the rooms, they’re quirky and boast an Old-English vibe, with wallpapered rooms and antique-style furnishings. The hostel has its own pub downstairs, where locals and travelers go for a drink (it has great discounts for guests!). Its location is perfect, only a short walk to the Thames, and is a 9-minute walk away from Tower Hill tube station.
Beds start from £10.12, book on Hostelworld
5. Astor Kensington
Some travelers are obsessed with the Royal Family. If you’re one of them, then you’ll love staying at the Astor Kensington (yet another great property in the Astor hostels family). The lovely hostel sits right in the center of Kensington, which means you’ll see Kensington Palace (William’s and Kate’s home) pretty much every day.
Besides monarchy enthusiasts, the Astor Kensington is one of the best hostels in London for female travelers. The hostel has female-only dorms for girls who wish to have a little more privacy –although they still have to share the bathroom. They also have shared dormitories and private rooms.
Beds from £18, book on Hostelworld
6. PubLove @ The White Ferry
As the name suggests, PubLove is a pub and hostel chain that recovers the British pub tradition. Each one of its branches has a lovely pub downstairs, and the White Ferry is no exception. The stunning ﬂat iron building has its own pub, which hosts quiz nights every Thursday – rumor has it their pub serves one of the best burgers in town!
As for the rooms, they are comfy with triple bunks, and you have a locker for personal belongings (you can buy one at the reception.) There’s also a washroom and kitchen. Another perk of staying here is its location is super close to Victoria coach station and Victoria train station.
Beds from £18, book on Hostelworld
7. Barmy Badger
The Barmy Badger Backpackers, or “the Badger,” as travelers and locals affectionately call it, is a hostel designed for travelers by travelers. Liz and Ken opened it in December 1997 after traveling the world and wanted to create a hostel that catered to backpackers’ needs.
An adult-only hostel, the Badger has enough room for only 48 people. Unlike many other hostels on the list, it doesn’t have a bar, so you don’t have to worry about noise at night. The rooms have some of the most comfortable beds you’ll ever experience, with memory foam mattresses and cushy pillows. While the atmosphere isn’t as social, the staff occasionally host BBQ parties and other events. They also offer free breakfast, and there’s free coffee and tea all day.
Beds from £21, book on Hostelworld
8. Hostel One Notting Hill
Located in Notting Hill, this Hostel One location checks all the boxes of a budget-friendly hostel: it offers free breakfast, free dinner, free wi-fi, and rooms for as cheap as £ 12.60. The hostel defines itself as an incredibly social hostel, so it’s an excellent place to meet people. The staff is very friendly and organizes activities each night to bring fellow travelers together. They also offer free daily tours around the city. While their three common areas are spacious and boast a lovely atmosphere, the rooms are on the smaller side and can feel cramped.
Beds from £22, book on Hostelworld
9. PubLove @ The Rose and Crown
Another from the PubLove family, The Rose & Crown, sits in buzzing Central London. The hostel is incredibly well-equipped when it comes to facilities. It has a lovely terrace with city views, a bar, and a garden. The pub downstairs offers 10% off all food and drinks for guests.
Considering the price, the rooms feature excellent design, with bold colors and vintage furniture. They are also clean and have incredibly comfortable bunks. It also has a fantastic location, with the London Bridge and Borough Market not too far from it. The hostel also has excellent transport connections.
Beds from £15, book on Hostelworld
Generator is a huge hostel chain with an impressive portfolio of hostels all over Europe. Housed in an old police station, their London hostel was the first building they opened. For many travelers, the Generator is the best cheap accommodation in London. It’s easy to see why.
First, it excels when it comes to facilities. There’s a bar, a kitchen, a restaurant, numerous chill-out areas, a pool, and a foosball table. The bedrooms feature modern décor and comfortable beds. They also offer female-only dorms. Second, you can’t beat its location. It is near King’s Cross Station and a short walk from Regents Park, Covent Garden, and the British Museum.
Beds from £16.74, book on Hostelworld
11. PubLove @ The Steam Engine
The Steam Engine is an award-winning hostel – another one from the PubLove chain. It’s comfortable, clean, and in an excellent location. However, what really makes this place special is the atmosphere it has created. The hostel features a 24-hour pub. It is an excellent place to meet people and has a good choice of beer and food.
As for the rooms, the hostel offers modern shared and private rooms. Shared rooms feature comfortable bunks, each one with their power sockets and white linen. Their washrooms are a pleasant surprise considering the price. They are private and offer shampoo, shower gel, and plenty of hot water.
Beds from £15, book on Hostelworld
12. Park Villa
Park Villa stands out for many reasons: its customer service, facilities, and lovely building. Housed in a gorgeous restored Georgian-era villa, Park Villa is a boutique hostel that combines the laid-back atmosphere of a hostel and the modern comfort of a hotel.
Their dorms feature exquisite oak wood floors, customized bunk bed pods, very comfortable mattresses (they have high ratings for their comfy beds in Booking), and luxurious cotton bedding. Unlike other alternatives, Park Vila welcomes families in their family rooms, which feature shared bathrooms and full-size baths.
As for the location, it isn’t the best place to stay if you don’t want to spend money on public transportation as it is in Mile End Old Town. Popular sights like Kensington and Baker Street are 30 minutes away.
Beds from £18.40, book on Hostelworld
13. Smart Hostels – Hyde Park Inn
Hyde Park Inn Hostel is one of the most popular branches of the Smart Hostels chain. Located in the heart of Central London, the hostel receives many travelers every day. While it’s a wonderful place to meet new people, it can get uncomfortable when using common areas, like the kitchen or laundry area.
The same happens with dorms. Their rooms are very compact and sometimes sleep more than ten people. That’s why I would suggest opting for a six-bed dorm or lower since the bigger ones can get quite congested, and the bathrooms are harder to maintain due to more people using them. All beds have curtains and panels for travelers who want more privacy.
Beds start from £9.53, book on Hostelworld
14. Smart Hostels – Hyde Park View
Another from the Smart Hostels family, Hyde Park View has one of the best locations on the list. It is just 350 feet away from Hyde Park and has access to numerous bus and underground stations. The hostel is suited to single and couple travelers. All the rooms feature en-suite facilities, with their own shower and toilet facilities.
The beds have curtains and panels to provide more privacy during your stay. They also have a lovely kitchen, washrooms, and a bar. While the hostel is family-friendly, the rooms are not really suitable for families as it is all dorms.
Beds from £11.61, book on Hostelworld
15. St. Christopher’s Village
St. Christopher’s Village defines itself as the “party hostel for London’s young, fun and hip.” So, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Located in the middle of historic London, St. Christopher’s Village is all about socializing. They religiously organize tons of activities at night, with beer pong nights, karaokes, and musical performances.
They also have a wonderful terrace and chill-out room where guests can socialize. While you might not use them, the hostel has incredibly comfortable beds. The bedrooms feature pod-style beds – the first in a London hostel. The shared toilets and showers are excellent, too, with high pressure even on the upper floors.
Beds from £14.90, book on Hostelworld
16. Smart Hostels – Russell Square
Smart Hostels Russell Square branch offers excellent bang for the buck. It has a brilliant location, being only a 3-minute walk away from Russell Square’s Underground station, a 6-minute walk from the University of London, and a 7-minute walk from the British Museum. You also have Russell Square Tube or Metro Station minutes away.
Like other branches, Russell Square has rather small rooms and beds that get crowded fast. You can choose between mixed-sex and en-suite dorms. All rooms are key card locked and feature security lockers. The hostel’s common room features a large TV, and shared kitchen facilities. They also have self-service laundry facilities and an internet cafe.
Beds from £12.03, book on Hostelworld
17. PubLove @ The Exmouth Arms
If after a few days in London you’re catching the Eurostar train to mainland Europe, The Exmouth Arms is a perfect place to call home. Located in Camden, the hostel is super close to London St Pancras station and its Eurostar Terminal. It’s also close to Euston Station so you can easily access the rest of the city from here.
Each dorm and room at The Exmouth Arms has heating, access to a shared bathroom, power sockets, and wi-fi. The washrooms are private and offer shampoo, shower gel, and plenty of hot water. Common rooms feature simple décor, with wooden floors and comfortable furniture. While the hostel has its own pub, don’t miss the chance to explore Camden’s buzzing nightlife.
Beds from £15, book on Hostelworld
18. PubLove @ The Green Man
The last one from the PubLove family, The Green Man, was the first hostel the British chain opened in 2007. The rooms are roomy, clean, and well equipped, with luggage cages and lockers. They also feature power and USB ports next to each bed. The showers are also decent, with good water flow. The only downside is that there’s no kitchen or common areas besides the pub downstairs where you can chill and meet other guests.
Its location is excellent– it’s right on Edgware Road just beside the Edgware Road Bakerloo line station. While the location is great, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep if you’re a light sleeper as the street is quite busy at night.
Beds from £16, book on Hostelworld
19. No.8 Willesden
No.8 Willesden is another excellent alternative for young travelers. The hostel welcomes only guests with ages ranging from 18 to 48. The hostel has tons of fun activities and amenities for travelers, as you can imagine. There’s a games room with the pool table or darts, a pub and beer garden where you can fire up the BBQ, and a common area with a TV.
Regarding the dorms, you can choose to stay in a private room or a bunk in a mixed room. All rooms feature fresh linen and shared bathrooms with hot showers. You’ll also find secure lockers in every room. Since the hostel is in Willesden, North West London, you’ll have to rely a lot on public transportation to visit the city.
Beds from £7.45, book on Hostelworld
Although not quite as funky as the nearby Clink78 – which is currently under renovation –, Clink261 is one of London’s most stylish hostels. The hostel’s building used to be a former Student Union, and the architects have retained much of its original facade, with its brick walls and cool Britannia interior design. Their location is hard to beat. It is just a five-minute walk from King’s Cross Underground.
As for the rooms, they offer private and shared bedrooms and girls-only dorms. The toilets are clean, and the showers are nice with steaming hot water. There’s also a kitchen and common area where the staff hosts movie nights regularly. Oh, they also offer a free walking tour every day.
Beds from £12.38, book on Hostelworld
21. Safestay London – Elephant & Castle
Tucked in off the Walworth Road, Safestay’s Elephant & Castle hostel celebrates traveling and friendship like no other hostel in London. The staff is super courteous and helpful, inviting everyone to meet each other. There’s also a bar area with happy hours between 4-7 pm every day. Currently, they’re doing weekly specials and two-for-one offers on cocktails.
When it comes to facilities, they have a wide selection of rooms: shared bathrooms, en-suites, private twins, and dormitory rooms with 4-12 bunk beds. No matter the room you choose, each bed features personal reading lights and personal power sockets right next to it. The hostel also has a buffet area open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Beds from £21.25, book on Hostelworld
To wrap up this list, there are a few more of the best London hostels I wanted to include; these ones didn’t score as highly as others on the list – and all of them have “sister” properties already on the list. All that to say, if you look at a hostel higher up on this list and they’re sold out, these honorable mention hostels are a good alternative.
22. Safestay London – Kensington Holland Park
Holland Park is a smaller park near Kensington Park, and this hostel is located right on the edge of the park – perfect if you want to have a little bit of green space right outside your door. Beds start from £21.25 per night, and you can book your stay on Hostelworld.
23. PubLove @ The Crown
As you can tell from the rest of this list, PubLove has some great properties, and The Crown is just one more to consider. Located in the heart of Battersea, this hostel is a bit far from Tube access but has tons of personality. Beds start from £13.35, and you can book your stay on Hostelworld.
24. Smart Hostels – Camden Inn
For another option from Smart Hostels, check out the Camden Inn. A little south of Camden Town, this is a great location for walking to plenty of North London sights and you have loads of transport options in the area too. Also, it being Camden and all, there’s tons of nightlife to enjoy if that’s your travel style. Beds start from £12.86, and you can book your stay on Hostelworld.
25. No.8 Seven Sisters
This is definitely the furthest hostel from Central London on this list; it’s all the way out in Zone 3 (all of the others are in Zone 1 or 2). As such, it’s a lot cheaper than others, starting at just £7.45, but comes with a lot longer transport times than others. Despite its distance, it’s a cool spot and much quieter than others on the list. (I would put this as a last-ditch choice simply because of those travel times, speaking from experience!)
Now you know the best hostels in London – ranked so you can be sure which ones are really the best. Have any questions about these top hostels in London? Let me know in the comments or join the conversation in my London Travel Tips Facebook community.