Youth Hostels, a cheap, short-term solution

Article reviewed: 2013/01/17 | Next review due: 2014/08/05

One of the hardest things to do in London is finding a place to live, but fortunately, as well as the thousand's of adverts placed on the internet or on newspapers, there are also many sites that offer alternative housing, such as youth hostels, couch surfing, room sharing and flat sharing.

A youth hostel is a safe an inexpensive way to get a room when you first arrive in London while your looking for somewhere more permanent. Located at key points throughout the city, youth hostels offer a comfortable, if spartan, room. There is usually a choice of double rooms or dormitories with up to five beds. All rooms have electricity points and a safe in which you can store your belongings. The better hostels may also have televisions and kettles. Bathroom facilities are usually shared with other residents.

Emily, 23, a marketing student chose St Paul's Hostel in the heart of the city,

I arrived in the morning, having booked the room online while I was in France. I came from Paris to study marketing in London and chose to stay in the YHA because it was the cheapest way to stay in a central location close to public transport.

With cheap food, internet access and TV lounges you can stay in a place with the comforts of home, whilst also meeting people from all over the world who are all arriving in a new city.

Raphael, 19, is soon to be joining art school,

I slept here last week and I've already met to Israelis, one Polish person and three French people who were all just starting out in London. It's cool because we can help each other out, letting each other know if we find good deals for a cheap lunch or if we hear of any jobs going.

If you want to book into a hostel before you arrive in the city, you will need a credit card to make an online or telephone booking. A 10% non-refundable deposit will be taken, with 90% of the remaining cost to be paid either by credit card or cash once you arrive.

Receptions are typically open 24/7, and the bill includes breakfast (served between 7:30 and 9:30). Sheets, blankets and pillows are provided with clean each room.

From £10 per night, a youth hostel is a clean, friendly option for you first stop in the city, but it is important to book ahead, particularly during peak times of the summer months or during weekends.

Generally, you can't stay in a hostel for longer than a month, but some hostels do extend this period, for example, the Kilburn hostel extends this period to three months.

Tooltip information:

  • YHA: Youth hostel association
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