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.
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.
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: 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 in 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 in 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.
- Safestay Holland Park in Kensington: This bright and friendly hostel is right in the middle of one of London’s most prestigious parks. A 9-bed female dorm stay will set you back £22 per night. Reserve a bed.
- Meininger Hyde Park in Kensington: Found in one of the wealthiest boroughs in London, beds at this trendy hostel start at £22 per night. Reserve a bed here
- The Generator in Russel Square/Kings Cross: Clean, secure, lively and atmospheric. The Generator has a rep for being a bit of a party hostel, but the amenities and location make it worth considering. A 12-bed female dorm is £27, while a private single room costs £121.50 per night. Book your stay here.
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.
Booking.com 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!
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 Booking.com 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 ?