The aim of this article is to help the reader to find a cheap accommodation in expensive London according to her / his individual ideas.
Cheaper accommodation in London
London is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Unfortunately, London is one of the most expensive cities in Europe when it comes to overnight stays. For many tourists, accommodation eats up more than half of the holiday budget. It is difficult to find a simple room with bathroom in London for less than 100 Euros, a good room in a modern hotel can quickly cost 200 Euros and more. We see four main ways to reduce these costs:
- Tip: It usually helps to book very early (longer than one month before arrival). You can find many hotels on the Internet that you can cancel for free for a certain period of time. But don’t forget to cancel, otherwise you’ll find unpleasant surprises on your next credit card statement! Early bookers can save 20-40 %. In winter, the prices in London for early bookers are usually lower than in summer.
- Tip: You can also book accommodation that does not offer the usual comfort, even if it reduces the quality of your holiday. For example, you can book a room without your own bathroom, which will quickly save you 30%. There are also an incredible number of hostels in London. These are approximately private youth hostels (there are also many official youth hostels). In private hostels in London, you usually do not need a membership card. Of course, sharing a room with strangers is not an alternative for every London traveller.. At least you usually get to know a lot of new people. There are many other possible restrictions that can lower the price. For example, you can choose a hotel further away from the nearest underground station (it can only be reached by bus), a hotel without a lift (carry your suitcase up the stairs), a room without TV, without WI-FI and much more.
- Tip: The third possibility is to take a hotel far away from the center. A travelcard for public transport, for example for zone 6 (this corresponds to Heathrow Airport) costs only about two pounds more per person per day (off-peak, from 9:30 a.m., than a card for the city centre only). However, you should keep in mind that the underground only runs until about midnight. It is difficult to take a night bus for so far outside. Also, the journey to the center is partly long. One should in any case pay attention to the area. Especially the cheapest hotels are often in run-down and dangerous areas. One should also make sure that there is a subway near the hotel. Taxi driving is expensive in London. Hotels outside of London are usually 20-50% cheaper than near the centre of London.
- Tip: You can search for accommodation for a long time. This often helps. Important: Hotels and hostels with good ratings (with a high number of ratings) on this Booking.com are usually much better. On this website you should read the ratings of other hotel visitors very carefully.
Our excursion tip
Hotels, Pensionen, Bed and Breakfast in London
In London, the name of the last quarry stand is hotel. Other names like “Pension” or “Guesthouse” are rare. My favourite area is the area around St Pancras and Kings Cross. On the one hand, it is not the finest area, which lowers the prices a little. You have very good undergound connections and the center is only 2-3 kilometers away. In the area around St Pancras there are many small and simple hotels. But beware: Some are very simple (dirty, run down …). When booking at Booking.com always pay attention to the ratings. Not every room in the simple guesthouses has its own bathroom. Here you also have a good chance to find an affordable room on the spot. Especially for those who travel from Germany by train (Eurostar), the area is ideal. All trains from the continent arrive at London St Pancras station. Unfortunately, there is hardly a chance to find a simple room with a bathroom under 60 pounds in this area (as of 2017).
Bed and Breakfast is very common in London. Actually Bed and Breakfast is nothing more than a hotel with breakfast. Breakfast is usually an “English Breakfast” with sausages, bacon, eggs and beans. Those who don’t like this can often choose a “Continental”, which is basically toast with butter and jam. Every breakfast is accompanied by coffee or tea. The English tea tastes excellent almost everywhere. Usually there is also a glass of orange juice. A real breakfast buffet is rare, mostly only in better hotels. A Bed & Breakfast is often not too big, sometimes a real family business with nice, sociable people.
Hostels (Youth Hostels)
There must be about 100 hostels in London. These are mostly private hostels, sometimes affiliated to the official association. All have dormitories with several beds. Mache also have single and double rooms. These are about as expensive as rooms in cheap guesthouses. If you book only one bed, i.e. share the room with others, this usually costs about 10-25 pounds depending on season, location and quality. In London, one does not only find young people in hostels. In England, many people over 50 stay in hostels because of the high prices.
One of the popular excursions in London is to the film studios, where the Harry Potter films were shot. The location of the studios is about 30 kilometres north of London near the town of Watford. The tour includes a bus transfer from London and has very good reviews. A “must” for every Harry Potter fan on holiday in London. The trip by bus and the visit to the film studios takes around 7 hours. You should book early, the popular Harry Potter excursion from London is often sold out. The alternative journey by public transport is not so easy. The excursion to the Warner Brothers Studios is for many London holidaymakers the highlight of their trip.