Finding short-term accommodation in London

Need to find some short-term accommodation in London? Whether you’re preparing to move to London or have already arrived and need a place to crash while you set up – there are plenty of options for every budget.

The housing market in London is fast. If you’re lucky, you could be moving into your new flat within 2 weeks of arriving in London. Sometimes it can take a little longer though, so be sure to budget for your move before you arrive. So what do you do until you find your own place to call home? Depending on your budget, there are plenty of options for short-term accommodation in London to choose from.

Here’s a quick guide to finding a place to stay when you first move to London.

For how long will I need short-term accommodation in London?

I’d recommend booking accommodation for three weeks to begin. If you make flat hunting your top priority (alongside other important life admin like setting up a bank account and NIN number), then it’s likely you’ll find somewhere more permanent in this time. If you need longer, you can extend your stay as you go. Most flats in London are advertised about 2 weeks before they’re available to move into, so the rental market moves quickly.

Image Source: Airbnb: Bright airy clean overlooking square

Short-term sublets

Airbnb is a personal favourite. I basically use Airbnb in every city that I visit around the world. It’s a cheaper, more convenient way to travel. Plus, you have access to everyday house things like a kitchen and laundry. It’s also a lot cheaper than a hotel and in my opinion – more fun! Airbnb is based on people renting out their existing spare space to guests, whether it be a whole flat or just a spare bedroom. It not only gives you a more authentic experience, it’s also a great way to meet new people and get a local’s insight when you first move to London.

If you’re new to Airbnb, you can get £25 off your first stay here.

HomeStay is an alternative to Airbnb when it comes to short-term accommodation in London. You can book a room in a local’s home on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. The key difference is that the host is always present during your stay – so essentially you have a flat mate from the get go. It’s such a nice way to be introduced to London because you can make the most of your host’s knowledge and hospitality, feeling at home as soon as you arrive. Homestay try to match guests and hosts who ideally share similar interests, so it’s also a fantastic way to make new friends and of course, it’s cheaper than renting a hotel room. Check out what London rooms are on offer here.

Finally, when Londoners go away on holiday a lot of them sublet their room to help cover the rent. Most of these are advertised on the websites below:

**As with any big city, lots of scams exist when it comes to renting a room from websites like Gumtree and Craigslist. Never transfer any money unless you’ve seen the room and are 100% sure that it actually exists. If you can’t view it in person, organise a Skype call or ask to meet the flatmates.

Image Source: Green Rooms Hostel in London


Hostels have gotten a bad rep over the years. That’s not to say they haven’t sometimes deserved it, but lately they’ve really upped their game. So much so, that I recently wrote an article about ‘Why everything you thought you knew about hostels is wrong’.

London has a lot to offer when it comes to hostels. There are plenty of party dorms out there (I’m looking at you – Generator), but there are also plenty of boutique hostels that could easily be mistaken for a 4* hotel. If you’re on a seriously tight budget, you can rent a bunk bed in a shared dorm from about £20 p/night, sometimes less. Those with a few more ££’s to spend can invest in a private or twin room. A lot of hostels also offer free wifi, free breakfast, a nice common area where you can meet other travellers, a cheap-ish bar and a shared kitchen.

Here are a few of the best hostels in London:

    • Green Rooms in Wood Green:Green Rooms, Wood Green
      This creative space is much more boutique hipster hotel than hostel. They offer the usual dorms and doubles, as well as long stay apartments. Big bonuses include hot-desk space (for all your flat- and job-hunting), a cool bar and restaurant downstairs and it’s pet friendly! 12-bed female dorms start at £24 per night.

      Book your stay here.

    • SoHostel, Soho
      Found right in the heart of London, this bright, modern and colourful hostel has 4-bed mixed dorms for £28 per night. An absolute bargain for the middle of Soho!

      Reserve a bed here.

    • Wombats London, Whitechapel
      Around the corner from Tower Bridge, this super modern hostel with a huge bar, courtyard and communal area has beds in a female dorm starting at £29 per night. Book your stay here.
Image Source: Linton Apartments Self Service. From £75 p/n on

Self Service Apartments

If your budget allows you to spend a little more on short-term accommodation in London then a self-service apartment is great option. It’s a nice half-way point between a hotel and your own flat. These apartments generally come with a decent kitchen to cook in and a little more space to move around. have a great search engine for serviced apartments in London. If you book in advance, you can find something for as little as £40 per night. That’s kind of amazing considering a 12-bed dorm costs £30 per night! Take a look at some options here

Wotif are another good search engine for serviced apartments in London. Just key in the dates then filter results by ‘Apartments’ to see what’s on offer. Just note that results are in Australian and New Zealand currencies!

Image Source: CitizenM Shoreditch


Finally, if budget permits then there’s always trusty ol’ hotels. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of hotels to choose from in London. They’re not exactly cheap if you’re staying for 2-3 weeks, but there are a few nice hotel chains that offer both quality and value for money. Take a look at some of these mid-price hotels in central London…

  • Citizen M Bankside – This creative yet affordable hotel chain offers great, stylish rooms at decent prices (considering, well.. London!) The Bankside location is a quick walk to London Bridge and the famous Borough Market. Or there’s the Shoreditch hotel which is in the trendiest part of London. They both have a great bar/restaurant and are very laptop-friendly. Rooms start at £119 p/night. Book your stay here
  • Z Hotel Shoreditch – The Z Hotel Shoreditch is part of a popular, affordable chain of hotels in some of the most central locations in London. The compact but stylish luxury accommodation is a good option if location is important to you. Rooms start at just £50 p/night – although they’re pretty teeny, so make use of all the local cafés and parks. Book a room at Z Hotel Shoreditch here
  • Garden Court Hotel – This family-run hotel is a bargain given it’s location in West London. A quick stroll from Notting Hill and Hyde Park, rooms start at just £72 per night. Book a room here
  • Grange Langham Court Hotel – You can find a double room for under £100 at this modern and stylish hotel in Fitzrovia. Check room rates from here
  • Jesmond Dene Hotel – Around the corner from St Pancras station, this B&B has rooms starting at £85 which includes free tea and coffee, cable TV, wifi and full English breakfast (all free!). Book your stay here
  • View all best deals on hotels in London

Do you have your own short-term accommodation in London recommendations from your move to London? Share them with other London New Girls in the comments ?

14 thoughts on “Finding short-term accommodation in London

  1. I also found this to be an informative & useful post. I am looking for my wife and I. We are empty nesters with kids in college and so are planning to stay during the fall semester in London but be home for Christmas. Any thoughts on a 4 month rental?

  2. This is a a great guide, and especially for someone, as I once was, who was super new to London and was daunted by all of the options for short term rentals until I found somewhere more permanent. But you forgot co living options- some of them have a six month minimum, but some have only a month minimum. They usually have different locations, different sized apartments and they are all usually fully-furnished so they are great for finding your feet in a new city. They also tend to build up great communities, and plenty of opportunities to find friends, build a tribe- even if it’s just a short term stay. I travel a lot for work, and it is so great to be able to slot right into like minded communities, even if only for a month or several months at a time. You can visit for co living options.

  3. I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I found this during my search for something regarding this.

  4. Short term rental options are often more considerable as it is more cost effective and convenient. Thank you for sharing these short term rental options operating in London; this is a really helpful blog. I have seen similar information at one place, you can also see on

  5. Hi!
    So, is it possible to obtain a NIN number staying at hotel/ Airbnb accomodation? I mean, they ask for some proof of residence – booking confirmation from reservaion portal will be enough?

  6. Hi, I am looking for furnished rental accommodation for one person as close to the city as possible for a period of three months

  7. I am doing an internship for 3 months starting at the end of September in London and would need a furnished room. Are the options above also suitable for such stays?

    1. Hi Anna,
      Yes of course! Take a look at all the options I’ve put under ‘Short-Term Sublets’. Looking for 3-month sublet somewhere like SpareRoom would be your best bet. It might be tricky to get one Airbnb for 3 whole months, but you could book a couple of 1-month or 6-week stays instead – good excuse to try living in two different parts of London. Good luck!
      K x

    1. Hi Abiola, try one of the links in the article above. There are plenty of options in there to choose from 🙂 Unfortunately you won’t get any direct accommodation offers through these comments.
      All the best x

  8. Very informative & useful post. It really helped me. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful info particularly the last part . I care for such information a lot.
    I was seeking this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck…….

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