If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve probably come across a lot of budget travel articles and backpacking posts especially in my section about Europe and Middle East. Of course, as you well know, one secret to effectively cut costs is to stay in hostels.
European countries are not cheap places to travel around so staying in hostels is a popular alternative in terms of accommodation, especially for backpackers, due mainly to the cost-efficiency they offer compared to hotels. Cheap rates are the result of eliminating additional amenities usually provided by hotels like your own shower room, television and mini refrigerator.
There are hostels, however, that are unique, which in turn entice a lot of vacationers even without the aforementioned ‘extra perks’. In this post we will run through some of the more unique hostels in London, which you should consider when you next visit the capital of England.
For The (Even More) Budget-Conscious
Given that London placed 6th among the cities with the highest cost of living, as of April 2016 based on a report by CNN, some travelers may have to watch their budgets even more when in this uber expensive city.
In this case, checking in at Palmers Lodge: Swiss Cottage is a favorable option. This hostel is just minutes away from a slew of iconic tourist spots such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. With the addition of a free breakfast, and a BBQ area open for use, you can save some money on transport and meals.
The Walrus Hostel is another good choice for the similar reasons. The place offers free breakfast, tea, or coffee, and you can reach the London Eye or Big Ben by foot in around 10 minutes or so.
For the Youth
If you see yourself as somewhat of a hipster, you’ll love staying in The Dictionary. Located in Shoreditch – the place where the London hipster scene began, this youth hostel was the first in the area. It has its own self-catering kitchen, and a café perfect for making new friends.
In terms of the nightlife and parties, Generator Hostel in Bloomsbury is a great and affordable option. Housing a lounge and a bar, guests can have fun all night without leaving the safety of their temporary home.
For Culture Buffs
Safestay London in Elephant and Castle is situated inside an 18th-century building, the area houses British artwork, thus creating a highly cultural atmosphere for guests.
Clink 78 is another hostel within an old structure. The building is said to have been the stomping ground of the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens. He is said to have written Oliver Twist in the building. It still retains its original style, providing a wonderful example of Victorian architecture.
Some Reminders for Foreign Travelers
Considering that the city has been experiencing a tourism boom for many years now, City A.M. suggests you plan your travel arrangements with additional factors in mind. For instance, you may want to check the local rush hour periods, as these may be different from your home country.
Note that London’s international airports are among the busiest in the world. To put things in perspective, Gatwick Airport is so unique that it caters to all three main airline business models namely, full service, budget and charter flights. Thus, it’s the British airport that has flights to the most number of destinations, and this poses congestion problems in terms of both passengers and vehicles.
To work around this, there are strategically placed car parks close to airport terminals like Gatwick Airport’s short stay parking area, which is situated in the middle of its two terminals. Parking4Less mentioned that it’s only a short walk from either terminal, allowing arriving passengers to easily pick up their pre-vacation parked vehicles or rental cars. Bargain deals from car rental companies can be obtained and if that’s what you’re considering, options such as the aforementioned are advisable.
Alternatively, there are now hostels which partner up with shuttle companies. If you have arranged a transfer with a hostel that has the service available, contact them at least 72 hours prior to your arrival to make sure everything is set. It’s crucial to coordinate with the hostel constantly, or else you might experience problems like the horrible encounter in Madagascar I’ve shared before!
Otherwise if you’re commuting, allot more time if you need to get somewhere at a specific time. When going to and from the airport, public buses or trains are on set schedules, hence, the possibility of time constraints and delays are high.
To close things off, hostels are also grounds for building long lasting friendships and sharing stories with fellow travelers aside from being places to stay, so interacting with other guests is a good way to exchange experiences and learn more about traveling.
Have you been to other interesting hostels in London? Leave your insights below in our comments section.