Visiting London and looking for somewhere a bit different (and cheap) to sleep? We’ve previously rounded up several cheap accommodation options from budget hotels to couch surfing, but a cheapo’s work is never quite done, so we’ve found five unique London accommodation options to get some shut eye while you’re here.
Fancy a night or two in an old courthouse where members of The Clash stood trial? How about a room above a music venue? For something less rock n’ roll, you can stay in historic buildings for minimal coinage and even find a low-budget nature retreat a short distance from Central London.
1. Clink78 (the old courthouse) – King’s Cross
The verdict on this colourful hostel is that it’s both cheap and weird. Keeping the judicial theme alive, some of the court panelling and seating are interior features along with neon ‘Guilty’ signs on the wall.
It may be a little claustrophobic for some, but adventurous travellers can pay for a jail cell for the night. Private single or double rooms are in the £42.00 to £52.00 range.
Dorms range from 4 to 14 in size with rates starting from as low as £10.00 a night. It’s definitely aimed at a young, sociable crowd and has a bar and plenty of comfy communal space. Guests can make use of the self-catering kitchen or have the buffet breakfast for £3.00. There is free wifi throughout the building, free daily walking tours, and discounted tickets for London attractions from the Clink78 travel shop. See rates for Clink78.
2. Safestay (The old Georgian political hangout) – Elephant and Castle
This Zone 1 hostel is located in the 18th-century former Labour Party headquarters. The exterior definitely looks like it would place host to Georgian gents more so than contemporary cheapos, though inside all is pretty modern, with the exception of some bowler hats dangling from the reception ceiling. Safestay is actually a chain, but this is its first and all of their hostels are in historic buildings because why not stay in place with a bit of character just because you’re on a budget?
It looks more like budget chain hotels than backpacker hostels, and also has a mix of private rooms and dorms, cots are available too if you’re travelling with small children. This is probably a better option than livelier alternatives if you want somewhere quiet sleep too.
Safestay Elephant and Castle has communal spaces and courtyard garden too, though the Kensington branch has even more beautiful grounds. Facilities include free wifi, an ATM, a cycle store, and a launderette. See rates for Safestay, Elephant and Castle.
3. Hootananny Hostel (the raucous music venue) – Brixton
Music and hotels have been infamous bedfellows for a long time, while it may not be the Chateau Marmont, Hootenanny Brixton has had its fair share of talented guests passing through. The hostel is above an Edwardian pub turned live gig venue, and Brixton is a fun place to explore especially for eating out and nightlife.
As you might expect from pub rooms, the dorms are fairly basic but there is free wifi, free breakfast, bike storage, a common room, laundry facilities and even a book exchange and plenty of live entertainment if that’s your bag. See rates for Hootananny Hostel.
4. Rest Up, London (the hostel veterans) – Elephant and Castle
Based in Driscoll House, Elephant and Castle, Rest Up has been a hostel for over 100 years. When it opened in 1913, it was just for women and children, but anyone can stay there now.
It’s pretty impressive as a space, though they’ve gone a little overboard with the Union Jack decor (it’s everywhere), and there is a massive military drum in the corner of the lounge.
That aside, it’s a pretty smart, contemporary place inside an old building with airy communal spaces, a decent-sized courtyard garden space, plenty of bean bags to nap on, a big lounge and views of landmarks like the Shard which is close by.
Accommodation here is private rooms (twin bunk or double), and quad- or multi-dorms. There aren’t many amenities but there is free wifiin common areas, an onsite restaurant and bar. See rates for Restup.