London boasts world-class entertainment and restaurants, an avalanche of culture from museums to galleries, grand architecture hosting treasures and marvels from around the world. It’s a city where it’s impossible to be bored.
With all this going on in the vastness of London, it can be tricky to decide where to stay – plus London can be very expensive, so hostels are a good choice. But if the idea of a grubby London backpackers hostel comes to mind, think again!
To make it easier for you we’ve scoured the best hostels in London to find the best and most relevant hostels for both your budget and your itinerary.
Thankfully there there’s a lot that you can choose from, including a couple of world-famous hostel chains like Generator and St Christopher’s Inn. So let’s dive into the world of the coolest London hostels and see what’s on offer!
Editor’s note – Discover beyond England’s capital and check out our 16 best day trips from London!
The Best Hostels in London: Round-up
Best Overall Hostel in London – Hostel One Camden
Best Party Hostel in London – Generator Hostel London
Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in London – Barmy Badger Backpackers
Best Hostel near Big Ben – The Walrus Hostel
Best Hostel near Hyde Park – Astor Hyde Park
Best Hostel near Tower of London – Wombats City Hostel London
Best Hostel near Heathrow Airport – Atlas Hostels
Best Hostel near Gatwick Airport – Astor Victoria
Best Hostel near St Pancras International Station – YHA London St Pancras
Best Hostel near Waterloo Station – The Horse and Stables
Best High-end Hostel in London – Palmer’s Lodge Swiss Cottage
Best Budget Hostel in London – Smart Russell Square Hostel
Best Hostel with a Private Room in London – Meininger London Hyde Park
Quick Summary: The Best Hostels In London
Hostel One Camden
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Generator Hostel London
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Barmy Badger Backpackers
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The Walrus Hostel
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Astor Hyde Park
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Wombats City Hostel London
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YHA London St Pancras
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The Horse and Stables
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Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage
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Smart Russell Square Hostel
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Meininger London Hyde Park
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32 Best Hostels in London
#1 – Hostel One Camden
• Best Overall Hostel in London •
Why we like Hostel One Camden…
Situated in the traditionally backpacker-y area of Camden, this London backpackers hostel makes the top of our list because of its all-round awesomeness. The location, the amazing staff, the incredibly social atmosphere – it all adds up to a great place to stay in general and the best overall hostel in London.
Hostel One Camden is perfect for…
If you’re travelling by yourself, or equally if you’re with some friends, you’ll love meeting new people at this very sociable top hostel in London. Really, though, it’s the staff that makes this place; it’s something that makes all the difference if you feel welcome when you’re travelling to a big city that you’ve never visited before – and this place does it effortlessly.
• Best Party Hostel in London •
Why we like Generator Hostel London…
We’re already fans of the stylish Generator chain of hostels, so this London branch already has an advantage in our eyes. We love that it’s one of the coolest hostels in London, of course, with its funky decor and stylish furnishings, but we love the lively bar, the free city tours and pub crawls just as much.
Generator Hostel London is perfect for…
Party people! Obviously. If you’re looking for the best party hostel in London, this branch of Generator Hostels is more than just a safe bet. The staff know how to conduct a good atmosphere and the bar is good enough alone to keep you entertained – and that’s before you even begin to explore London’s vibrant nightlife.
• Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in London •
Why we like Barmy Badger Backpackers…
We love that this place isn’t simply in-your-face socialising: the staff are friendly, welcoming and full of recommendations, the area is safe, the common areas are conducive to meeting and getting to know other guests, the atmosphere is overall warm and accommodating. All of this adds up to the best hostel for solo travellers in London.
Barmy Badger Backpackers is perfect for…
If you want to chill, or if you want to sit and chat with fellow people, this London backpackers hostel will allow you to do either without making you feel like you’re missing out or being forced to join activities or anything like that. If you like a laid-back atmosphere and a great, knowledgeable team running the show – here’s the place.
#4 – The Walrus Hostel
• Best Hostel near Big Ben •
Why we like The Walrus Hostel…
Just across the River Thames from London’s most iconic landmark, the clock tower of Big Ben, is this little gem of a hostel. We say gem because it’s set in a pub and we love that fact. Not only that, but this top hostel in London is very near to the buzzing area of Southbank, which is a bonus, plus it’s also probably the best hostel near Buckingham Palace, too.
The Walrus Hostel is perfect for…
Being the best hostel near Big Ben you can expect an easy walk to this symbol of London. Sightseers (and especially anglophiles) will love the location, of course, which also includes a cluster of monuments like the Houses of Parliament and the storied building that is Westminster Abbey, which played host to Prince William and Kate’s wedding a few years ago.
#5 – Astor Hyde Park
• Best Hostel near Hyde Park •
Why we like Astor Hyde Park…
Though we really love the £1 all-you-can-eat breakfast at this London backpackers hostel, what we like the most about it is the ace location: it’s probably the best hostel near Hyde Park, London’s largest Royal Park which is genuinely a great place to explore. The building, and interior, is practically oozing with charm, too.
Astor Hyde Park is perfect for…
Those wishing to be slightly off the tourist trail will enjoy staying on the edge of Hyde Park – plus if you like green spaces and historic areas of cities filled with grand, historic buildings, you’ll find a lot of that in this area of London (partway between the affluent districts of Kensington and Belgravia).
• Best Hostel near Tower of London •
Why we like Wombats City Hostel London…
Formerly a seaman’s hostel, this youth hostel in London is a fantastic place to stay. We love that it’s a great all-rounder: comfy beds, great location, stylish decor, equally good for party people as it is for those that want to chill and explore the city. It’s also the best hostel near Tower of London (and the iconic Tower Bridge), which we also love.
Wombats City Hostel London is perfect for…
If you’re interested in being in a part of the city that isn’t often stayed in by tourists – tending to stick more to the western and central areas – this London backpackers hostel will suit you. Travelling around on the tube is easy and the cool areas of Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and Hoxton are a breezy few minutes’ north.
#7 – Atlas Hostels
• Best Hostel near Heathrow Airport •
Why we like Atlas Hostels…
Being the so near to the iconic Paddington Station – a 19th-century structure that’s also home to Paddington Bear – also means that it’s the best hostel near Heathrow Airport and we can’t help but love this convenience. Why? The Heathrow Express from this London station goes all the way to the airport for a bargain price: winner.
Atlas Hostels is perfect for…
Those wanting to be within easy reach of London Heathrow Airport, because of an early flight, or because you don’t fancy trekking through sprawling London trying to find your hostel when you first arrive, will love the location of this hostel. Not only that but lovers of history and style will enjoy the old building as well as the historic Talbot Square, which it faces.
#8 – Astor Victoria
• Best Hostel near Gatwick Airport •
Why we like Astor Victoria…
Another hotel near one of London’s major railway stations, another cheap direct route to one of the city’s major airports: Gatwick. This handy setting alone makes us really like this top hostel in London, but it’s the chilled and friendly staff – plus the sights of the surrounding area – that make this the best hostel near Gatwick Airport.
Astor Victoria is perfect for…
If you love being within walking distance of some iconic sights – we’re talking Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster – then you’ll adore this recommended hostel in London. On top of that the prices aren’t bad for this part of town, making this a solid option for a budget hostel in London, too, which is very backpacker-friendly.
• Best Hostel near St Pancras International Station •
Why we like YHA London St Pancras…
The best thing about being the best hostel near St Pancras International Station is the bonus that comes with it, since King’s Cross is located on the same site, serving towns outside of London for onward travel. Being YHA also means that t’s a budget hostel in London, which we can always appreciate!
YHA London St Pancras is perfect for…
Travelling to or from France via the Eurostar? Then you’ll love staying somewhere so near St Pancras – it definitely makes rolling up to your hostel an easy, hassle-free experience. This youth hostel in London has a friendly, accommodating team who’ll make you feel welcome, which is always good if you’re travelling by yourself, too.
#10 – The Horse and Stables
• Best Hostel near Waterloo Station •
Why we like The Horse and Stables…
We have to say, we love the location of this hostel – being close to arguably London’s busiest and most famous station is a bonus for anyone looking to travel south, or to the iconic Hampton Court just out of town. It’s the best station near Waterloo and all its connections to further afield.
The Horse and Stables is perfect for…
Being set above a traditional London pub, this top hostel in London provides an authentic experience downstairs without having to trek anywhere, which is great for first time visitors. The prices in the bar are good, and so are the dorm costs, making this a great option for a budget hostel in London, as well.
• Best High-end Hostel in London •
Why we like Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage…
We love that this London backpackers hostel offers both standard and superior dorms – this gives you the option of basically cool or very cool dorm beds, all done with vintage-feeling wood in tastefully designed and laid out surroundings. For this reason it’s easily the best high-end hostel in London. The bar downstairs is pretty fun, too.
Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage is perfect for
People looking for a more classy stay than in other youth hostels in London should make a beeline straight to Palmer’s Lodge; though relatively far out from the centre it’s easy to get to more buzzing areas, though affluent Swiss Cottage is great for a morning stroll.
• Best Budget Hostel in London •
Why we like Smart Russell Square Hostel…
It’s obvious, since this is the best budget hostel in London, but we really do love the prices at this place. Combined with that you get a spacious common room, comfy and cool dorm bunks, a clean kitchen and nice staff in a location that’s near to some major sights. Value for money is the modus operandi here.
Smart Russell Square Hostel is perfect for…
If you’re on a tight budget there’s no place better suited to your needs than this budget hostel in London. It’s right near Russell Square tube station, which practically opens up the city to you in terms of getting around the capital; Paddington, if you’re arriving from outside the city, is also nearby.
Editor’s note: Save a bit of cash in London with our guide to budget hostels in London!
• Best Hostel with a Private Room in London •
Why we like Meininger London Hyde Park…
This is German hostel-slash-hotel chain Meininger’s first foray into the UK and we love it. The affordability of the hotel-quality private rooms here – coupled with minimalism, cleanliness and a convivial hostel atmosphere – easily puts it top of the list for the best hostel with a private room in London. The location is also ace.
Meininger London Hyde Park is perfect for…
Looking for privacy without breaking the bank? This hotel-esque London backpackers hostel, set in the historic Baden Powell House, has you covered. Combine it with a location just south of the sprawling green space of Hyde Park – and directly opposite the Natural History Museum – and this feels like a fantastic place to stay in London.
Editor’s Note – Have you seen our guide to the most underrated and coolest neighborhoods in Leeds?
More Best Hostels in London
#14 – YHA London Oxford Circus
Why we like YHA London Oxford Circus…
We especially love the location of this youth hostel in London, which is set just off the iconic Oxford Street and all of its shopping opportunities. Nearby is the buzzing cosmopolitan area of Soho, packed full of restaurants, bars and clubs. On top of that it’s also a bargain – what’s not to love?
YHA London Oxford Circus is perfect for…
People looking for a great London experience away from the traditional tourist sights will enjoy staying in this hostel. The location definitely makes it. Since it’s YHA this place isn’t exactly the coolest hostel in London, but those on a budget looking to explore arguably the most authentic central areas of London will do themselves a favour by staying here.
Why we like St Christopher’s Inn London Bridge…
Without doubt we utterly adore the fact that this London backpackers hostel is set in a 16th-century building (complete with pub). We also love that this is the flagship hostel of the world-famous St Christopher’s hostel chain, meaning that you’re pretty much guaranteed quality – which is certainly what you get. London Bridge is also a great area for eating and drinking, too.
St Christopher’s Inn London Bridge is perfect for…
If you want to stay in a historic building that isn’t just a hostel but a bar and live music venue, then here’s a great place for you. Whilst it’s not the best party hostel in London this one is still up there – the lively pub downstairs is a great place to party and soak up some traditional London nightlife.
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#16 – The Finnish Church
Why we like The Finnish Church…
It’s certainly a unique experience to be able to stay in an actual, still-functioning church – and a Finnish one at that – so for one of the coolest hostels in London (for its originality in that sense) we love this place. We also love the huge common areas and the fact that this place serves up genuine Finnish food – yum!
The Finnish Church is perfect for…
People looking out for a chilled, non-party hostel in London with a little bit more character than your average budget hostel in London should definitely check out The Finnish Church. This top hostel in London is a great fit for people looking for a unique experience – oh, and did we mention the free-to-use Finnish sauna?
#17 – The Dictionary Hostel
Why we like The Dictionary Hostel…
Although it isn’t the best choice for a budget hostel in London, it certainly comes close to being the coolest hostel in London; set in a Victorian-era warehouse, The Dictionary Hostel is dripping with cool industrial chic in an area that’s just as hip to match. And that’s why we love it.
The Dictionary Hostel is perfect for…
Hipsters! Yes, if you’re looking for a edgy yet stylish place to stay in the UK capital, we’d recommend at least having a look at this cool hostel in London. If alternative areas are your thing then you’ll love staying in this place: Shoreditch is a hub of hip in London’s East End.
#18 – Pickwick Hall
Why we like Pickwick Hall…
We love the setting of Pickwick Hall in a Georgian townhouse in the historic area of Bloomsbury – this also means that other more happening areas of London like Soho, Chinatown and Covent Garden, for example, are only about ten minutes away. The rooms are basic and not the cleanest, but for the price (and the location) it’s a good choice for a short stay.
Pickwick Hall is perfect for…
Sightseers and city explorers! With such a central location in the city, this budget hostel in London is a solid option for those looking to seek out London’s famous landmarks and most buzzing yet historic areas. It definitely will also suit people who aren’t fussy about their accommodation ‘looking the part’.
#19 – SoHostel
Why we like SoHostel…
The vibrancy of this London backpackers hostel is difficult to not love – colour seems to be popping out at almost every opportunity and it makes for a more cheerful and arguably more welcoming environment than the sometimes quite severe industrial trend that is sweeping hostels all across the world as of late.
SoHostel is perfect for…
If being in Soho is something that’s already on your list of things to be doing in London, then staying here would fulfil that wish. With LGBTQ-friendly bars and establishments dotting the area, as well as a plethora of international, independent restaurants, it’s a fun and accepting cosmopolitan area to be in.
#20 – Strand Continental
Why we like Strand Continental…
We very much enjoy how wallet-friendly this budget hostel in London is: there’s a free breakfast, the room rates are very affordable. Sure, it comes at the expense of the interiors feeling somewhat basic, but being so close to the theatre-land of London’s West End and the buzzing area surrounding it is not traditionally this cheap.
Strand Continental is perfect for…
Interested in the flashing lights of Piccadilly Circus? Wandering around the packed Leicester Square? Catching a new play at one of the many historic theatres in this area? Prefer substance over style? Then staying at this no-frills youth hostel in London may just be for you.
Why we like Destinations at The Rose and Crown…
The thing we like most about this budget hostel in London is its setting: with cosy dorm rooms situated above a traditional London pub, not too far from the bustling Borough Market, it couldn’t get more ‘London’ if it tried and we love this place for that. How could you not?
Destinations at The Rose and Crown is perfect for…
People who aren’t necessarily interested in the biggest sights and tourist areas of London – most of which are located north of the River Thames – staying south of the river pays off for a different experience of the city. But, for when you do want to venture north, the location of this hostel means you’ll be there in a flash. Plus if you like pubs this place is probably for you!
Why we like PubLove @ The Crown, Battersea…
This branch of hostel chain PubLove is newly refurbished, so everything here feels very brand-new and clean – always a plus. The style of the place is also something we love: exposed brickwork, metal-frame beds, wooden floors – it’s all very cool and quite possibly among the coolest hostels in London. Plus it’s above a pub and we like that, too.
PubLove @ The Crown, Battersea is perfect for…
Want an area alternative to central London? Battersea is a southwestern district that features the iconic Battersea Power Station, plus the large green spaces of Battersea Park and Clapham Common all within comfortable walking distance. The parks are fantastic to stroll around on a weekend when the sun is shining and locals are out enjoying their time off.
Why we like Palmers Lodge – Hillspring at Willesden Green…
Another place that eschews a central location for something arguably more authentic and interesting, we love the out-of-centre setting of this cool London hostel. It’s also very easy to love the robust and comfy wooden bunks, complete with privacy curtains, as well as the free breakfast. There’s a tube stop just a few minutes’ walk away, too.
Palmers Lodge – Hillspring at Willesden Green is perfect for…
Open-minded wanderers! If residential areas away from touristy areas and obvious attractions sounds like your sort of thing, you ought to give this award-winning top hostel in London a try. It’s stylish, welcoming, comfy and a quiet place to come back to after a spot of exploration.
#24 – YHA London St Pauls
Why we like YHA London St Pauls…
This youth hostel in London is quite lovable for its iconic setting at St Pauls Cathedral. We love the surrounding area, which is a very historic area of London; just going for a walk around this part of the city with no particular aim is a great way to experience a grand London of the past.
YHA London St Pauls is perfect for…
If you’re a serial sightseer, you’ll love this place. It’s not only the location, which is great for checking out some nearby landmarks, but the hostel itself offers discount tickets to various London attractions, making it a lot easier to see the sights of London on a budget.
#25 – London Waterloo Hostel
Why we like London Waterloo Hostel…
It’s relatively basic, but what we do love about this place is that it’s clean, affordable and right near Waterloo station, meaning travelling out of the city (or into the city) is easy and doesn’t involve a lot of tube or bus navigation with a hefty backpack. The staff are also super helpful and friendly.
London Waterloo Hostel is perfect for…
If you’re not too fussy about somewhere being the coolest hostel in London, and instead prefer to favour location and helpful staff over minimalist design (or whatever it may be), then this simple hostel is a good fit for you. It’s a showcase of value for money.
#26 – Safestay Holland Park
Why we like Safestay Holland Park…
We absolutely love the history of this London backpackers hostel. It’s set over three buildings that date back a few centuries to the Jacobean era. This alone is something that we like about Safestay Holland Park – as well as its proximity to the park itself, complete with Japanese garden and beautiful woodland trails.
Safestay Holland Park is perfect for…
History buffs! Easily the best choice for a top hostel in London for those who love the splendour of the past, this hostel is set in a building right in the middle of Holland Park that has seen visits by ultra-famous people like Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Lord Byron. The high-quality renovation means that the modern facilities fit harmoniously with the heritage building.
#27 – London Backpackers
Why we like London Backpackers…
We really like the local experience that you can have wandering around the surrounding area of this London backpackers hostel. Located relatively far north of the centre in Hendon (near affluent and leafy Golders Green), it’s a great place to retreat to having braved a day of London’s crowds and public transport.
London Backpackers is perfect for…
If staying at a ‘traditional’ hostel is your thing (this top hostel in London has been at it for over 30 years) then London Backpackers is probably the place for you. Equally if you’re open-minded and uninterested in tourist sights the surrounding area will interest you – though it is still easy to reach central from here.
#28 – Park Villa
Why we like Park Villa…
Park Villa shines as a beacon of both well considered, interesting interior design and the alternative side of London that isn’t all about central sights and Oxford Street shopping – and that’s why we love it. The location, near Victoria Park and the adjacent canal, shows off a very cool part of London that not many tourists get to see.
Park Villa is perfect for…
If being away from landmarks, iconic sights and all the hustle and bustle of tourist attractions sounds like a dream to you, then this top hostel in London will suit you very well. If hip design and a chilled atmosphere also sounds like you, well, what are you waiting for?
#29 – Astor Museum Inn
Why we like Astor Museum Inn…
Location, location, location! This place is located right opposite the cultural powerhouse that is the British Museum; its also not too far (i.e. within easy walking distance) of Russell Square tube station. Plus strolling around the historic Georgian streets of Bloomsbury feels like something out of a British rom-com, which is always fun.
Astor Museum Inn is perfect for…
If you’re here for culture, great. If you’re here for shopping, that’s great too. If you’re here for architecture and parks, that’s also great. If you’re here for great food and bars – well, that’s just great! There’s a lot within walking distance of this London backpackers hostel and it’s a great showcase of what central London has to offer.
Why we like St James Backpackers Hostel…
We really like the idea of combining Victorian-era architecture with modern facilities – and that’s what you get with this London backpackers hostel set in a lovely heritage building. What else do we like? The free breakfast, of course, as well as the very friendly staff and well placed common areas, making this a social place to stay.
St James Backpackers Hostel is perfect for…
If you’re looking for a good, all-round hostel experience with a classic hostel atmosphere that’s conducive to meeting new people, this youth hostel in London is a great choice for you. The bonus is that there’s a tube station located just a five-minute walk from here, putting you in a prime position for exploring London.
#31 – Clink78
Why we like Clink78…
The cool thing about Clink78, and the thing that we like the most, is the fact that it’s located in a former courthouse where Charles Dickens used to work; what could be better than staying in such a slice of history as this London backpackers hostel? We also love the location: King’s Cross/St Pancras is easily walkable for travel links.
Clink78 is perfect for…
If you’re into the idea of staying somewhere quite unique, then a repurposed courthouse with well over a century of history will probably sound good to you. The bar at this hostel, located downstairs, cultivates quite a party atmosphere, but at the same time the dorms upstairs remain relatively quiet for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Why we like St Christopher’s Inn Liverpool Street…
The private rooms at this top hostel in London may not be the cheapest (not by a long shot), but we do love how stylish they are. And, as for the rest of the interior at this yet another branch of St Christopher’s Inn, it’s easily one of the coolest hostels in London.
St Christopher’s Inn Liverpool Street is perfect for…
If you want to be surrounded by skyscrapers, close to the trendy bars of East London and one of the city’s most bustling business districts – as famous for Jack the Ripper as it is for its modern architecture – the hustle of bustle of all that is just outside the door of this London backpackers hostel.
Conclusion to the best backpacker hostels in London, England
So there you have it. We’ve been looking in such detail at the best hostels in London, so we’re fairly sure you’ll be able to find something to suit your personality (and your wallet) on our extensive list.
London also parties hard – and our EPIC list of the 11 best party hostels in London will help you find the perfect hostel to party like a rockstar! Need to stay near Kings Cross in London? Our list of the 17 best hostels in Kings Cross is designed to help you find a great hostel – no matter your budget!
We wouldn’t want you to miss out on one of the coolest cities in the world now, would we?
Hostels are an important way to travel, especially in London which is a city that can be dreadfully pricey. So we hope that you’ll still have some budget left to explore the rest of the UK after your stay at whichever cool hostel in London you may pick.
And don’t forget our overall top choice, Hostel One Camden. But whichever hostel you choose, we hope you enjoy your stay!
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