How to stay in London on a budget


Are you looking to stay in London but find the hotels too expensive? This guide will show you how you can find cheap central London accommodation either for short-term or long term stays from as little as £8 per night!

Consider staying in a hostel

If you don't mind sharing a dormitory with other people, then hostels are the cheapest form of accommodation. Hostel rates start from £8 per person per night. The number of beds in a dormitory can vary from 4 to 24 or more - the more beds there are in a dormitory, the cheaper the rates per person per night. Some hostels even offer private rooms if you prefer to stay in a room of your own or with a friend. The dormitories can be mixed dormitories, men only, or women only.

If you looking to stay long-term (for example, if you are studying or working in London), you can get even cheaper rates as many hostels offer discounted rates for stays of a week or more. Inquire at the desk to find out more.

The bathrooms are usually shared bathrooms though some hostels do offer en-suite bathrooms with a private room. Private rooms with ensuite bathrooms are usually the most expensive rooms in a hostel but these can still be cheaper than a bed and breakfast room or a hotel room.

Breakfast is sometimes included in the room rates. This is usually a continental breakfast. Some hostels even offer cooked meals.

If you need access to the Internet, most hostels have computer terminals for Internet access and most offer Wi-Fi Internet access (Wi-Fi may or may not be included in your room rate)

Many of these hostels are located right in the heart of London and are great options if you are going to spend most of your stay out of your room. You may even make some new friends as there are travellers, students and working people from all over the world staying there.


The LHA (London Hostels Association) group of hostels offer the best bang for your buck in this author's opinion. Namely:

  • Hostels are centrally located in key London hotspots such as Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Notting Hill, Portobello Market, Royal Albert Hall etc. They are also close to key Tube / Underground stations.
  • Rooms range from private 1-2 bed rooms to 5-bed dormitories.
  • Shared bathrooms and ensuite bathrooms in selected hostels.
  • Catered hostels include continental breakfast, weekday evening meals, and a cooked breakfast and main meal for Saturday and Sunday. Self-catered hostels provide fully-equipped kitchens and dining areas.
  • Laundrette facilities onsite
  • Free Wi-Fi Internet and cable Internet in selected hostels
  • Allows short-term and long-term stays. Rooms start from about £12 per person per night (depending on the hostel location) if you are staying for 2 weeks or more.

LHA Hostels website

Hostelworld website

Bed and Breakfast (B&B) or Budget Hotel

Hostels are not for everyone. If you are travelling with your family or your other half, you might prefer more traditional, quieter and less busy and private environs of a bed and breakfast accommodation or a budget hotel.

Rooms in these B&B's and hotels usually start from £20 per person per night and they can be room-only, include breakfast (continental or cooked), or self-catering. website

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