The Best Cheap Hotels in London for 2023—Around £100 a Night
If there's one thing we understand at Frommer's, it's that for many travelers, being able to visit places affordably is the only way to visit them at all.
In 1957, Frommer's burst upon the publishing scene with the now-iconic Europe on 5 Dollars a Day, a blockbuster travel guidebook written for people with limited means. That $5 in 1957 would be worth more than $50 today, whch wouldn't be enough to meet the cost of travel now. But we still understand that most travelers aren't made of money, and lots of people still have to stick to lean budgets in order to experience expensive cities like London.
The following London budget hotels are clean, safe, and respectable, and all cost a mere £100 a night (about US$124 or CA$165)—sometimes even less. The competition charges many multiples of that.
All of our inexpensive hotels are located within an easy walk or Tube ride of the attractions you go to London to see, so high transportation costs won't be part of your expenses either. You probably won't see any interior design breakthroughs, you might find the spaces are tight (which is typical for London in general), and you may see some signs of normal wear in your room.
But so what? With what you save on accommodations, you'll have more money to spend on West End shows, tours, shopping, museums (here's a list of the free ones), and meals in one of the greatest cities in the world.
Frommer's has recommended the comforting Alhambra for more than 60 years, ever since Europe on 5 Dollars a Day. A rapidly dwindling number of hotels in central London are still family-run, but this one, which is located near St Pancras station and the Eurostar train, has had staying power because it owns the land it stands on and takes pride in staying fresh and pleasant. Picture simple, small, but dignified rooms squeezed into old spaces. Rooms have built-in desks with chairs, flat-screen TVs (but no phones), free fiber-optic Wi-Fi, and safes—all rarities for this price point. Guests who stay in the cheapest rooms will share a bathroom, but there are plenty of those to go around. From £75 single, £82 double, alhambrahotel.com
A few doors down from the Alhambra—and just as convenient for St Pancras, King's Cross, and the new developments nearby—the Hotel Meridiana has occupied a former Victorian residence since the 1950s. This is what a value hotel should be: not lavish but well-tended for the extreme low price. Walls can be thin, rooms truly teeny, and the cheapest "basic" double room is in the basement. But everything is tidy, refurbishments are regularly made, and maintenance is reassuringly consistent. Heating and hot water are reliable, too, which isn’t always the case in buildings of this age. You’re unlikely to get as much value for this price elsewhere. From £40 single, £70 double, hotelmeridiana.co.uk
The Jesmond, not far from the British Museum, is a family B&B in a 1780s townhouse; ask proprietor Glyn Beynon about the building's history—he grew up here. The hotel delivers far beyond the expectations of its tariff range. Glyn recently installed new bathrooms with all-new piping, accounting for the larger-than-average showers. He also soundproofed the front windows to keep out the roar of Gower Street traffic. And he converted the former parlor, with its antique (nonworking) fireplace, into room no. 2, a spacious double. The Jesmond is a classic (four units share bathrooms), and has been a Frommer’s selection ever since Europe on 5 Dollars a Day, when a room cost $3.20. Just as the Tower has its trusty ravens, London's affordable hotel class wouldn't be the same if the Jesmond wasn't there. From £87 single and £110 double, jesmondhotel.org.uk
Because this hotel is practically next door to Leicester Square in the West End, London's most exciting evening pursuits will be at your feet, no commute required. Rooms are wee and sparse, to be sure, but they’re clean and modern (blond wood, charcoal carpet, subway-like tile in the little bathrooms), and many have pleasing views of the city. You won’t get a phone, a desk, or even a lobby to speak of, but do you really need those? To compensate for the lack of TVs, the Wi-Fi is perfect, whip-quick, and free. You get a hip rooftop bar/restaurant with a splendid east- and south-facing panorama that you won’t find at luxury hotels five times the price. The very cheapest rooms (“Snug”) may not have a window, so pay another £20 to bump up to “Nest” for a window and 30% more space. Double from £139, assemblyhotels.com
A friendly fixture (in various forms) of London's affordable hospitality scene since 1970, the Luna Simone has consistently earned Frommer's recommendation for decades. A protected townhouse building with old metalwork on the banisters and oddly sized guest rooms, it has thoughtful service that attracts many return budget guests. This is one of the last family-run inns near Victoria Station to still serve a complimentary (albeit simple) English breakfast. There’s no elevator or air-conditioning, but also no sharing of bathrooms. Cheap and cheerful, as London used to be famous for. From £109 single, £149 double including breakfast, lunasimonehotel.com
It's surely not the pinnacle of luxury, but this East End find is an affordable, clean crash pad surviving in an economic environment that’s increasingly hostile to those. Though frills are few, you'll find little touches that distinguish the place as a standout in its price category—double-glazed windows (to muffle the Shoreditch weekend revelry that many guests come for), quality toiletries, and roomy quarters. Bonuses: It’s in the middle of the party action (you can walk to Dalston, Hackney, or the City), and the front rooms overlook the yard of a church from 1740. Doubles from £141, shoreditchinn.com
Few other family hoteliers put as much heart into making sure guests are acclimated to London by answering questions, obliging special dietary requests, and filling bellies with a cooked breakfast so enormous (try the banana yogurt) that lunch might become optional. The Celtic Hotel feels like a home, the way London B&Bs used to. It has devoted regulars—some of them going back more than 60 years, from the period when the same family owned a beloved budget place nearby, St Margaret’s Hotel. Their move to the Celtic over a decade ago retained the quirky features fans love: Rooms don’t have TVs or phones, furniture is endearingly mismatched, and the lounge is a hub for socializing with fellow guests. Add about £25 if you don’t want to share a shower or toilet. From £72 single, £99 double, celtichotel.com
This quirky design hotel, opened in 2013 as Qbic, is a wacky antidote to other formula budget hotels. Everything you need—bed, outlets, TV, bathroom with rain shower—is part of a prefabricated bed/bathroom structure that dominates your space. This isn't a capsule hotel, just one that fills sometimes-small rooms with that multipurpose bed unit. Your lamp is made out of petrified garden hose, your clothing rack a strange ladder/planter of some sort—it’s freaky and unique. The cheapest units, called “Snug,” don’t have a window—did you need one? Because Snug units can be less than £75 if you snag them first. You’ll be within walking distance of Spitalfields/Shoreditch (15 minutes) and the Tower of London (15 minutes). Rooms from £73, thecornerlondoncity.co.uk
The sole London branch of a German budget brand, Motel One is basic (no drawers, no closet, no phone, few hangers) and service can be machine-like, but the dignified design conforms to contemporary trends in architecture and interior decor, and the views of City buildings from many of the rooms can be splendid. Your quarters will be modest (16 sq. m/172 sq. ft.), soundproofed, and equipped with TV and air conditioning—amenities you often have to check for at this price point. The Tower of London, Whitechapel, and Spitalfields are short walks away, and there's a small bar in the lobby. Motel One may feel corporate, but the price is right and London could use a few more locations of this value choice. Open more, please. Doubles from £129, motel-one.com
The Seven Dials is basic in the extreme, but over the years that simplicity has endeared it to students, splurging backpackers, and other visitors on tight budgets. Here, everything is little and no-frills: the stairway, the rooms, the charm. There’s usually barely enough storage space, a simple writing desk, teeny clean bathrooms, and firm beds. Basement rooms don’t have windows, and there's no elevator. To compensate for all that, the hotel has an enviable footing on Monmouth Street in the heart of the West End's good stuff, near a rainbow of pubs, boutiques, and food clustering around Covent Garden (light sleepers be warned). You might never have to pay for the Tube. Dump your bags and go play, because these rooms are just for sleeping. From £90 single, £100 double, sevendialshotel.com