A ‘budget’ or ‘cheap’ hotel in central London costs on average £60–£100 a night for a double room. For that price, you have a choice of two types of hotel:
Budget chain hotels
These have sprung up like mushrooms over the past 10–15 years. Most are purpose built, but some are converted office blocks or 150–250 year old buildings. They offer good rates if you book in advance, and it’s possible to find a double/twin room for £50 a night, especially on the outskirts of central London.
Breakfast is available, but not usually included in the price of the room. Two of the biggest chains, Travelodge and Premier Inn, allow two children per paying adult to eat for free.
- Premier Inn – from 2pm
- Travelodge – from 3pm
- Ibis Hotels – from 12pm
- easyHotels – from 3pm
- Tune hotel – from 3pm
Something worth bearing in mind if your arrival is before the check-in time — budget chains aren’t very flexible when it comes to storing your luggage. Some won’t store your bags at all (Travelodge). Others will charge a fee.
Traditional B&B hotels
If you want less of a ‘chain’ atmosphere, then a traditional B&B hotel is more suitable. These are simple hotels with 10–40 rooms in old buildings, and although they might be family owned, they probably won’t be family run. You won’t get room service or any fancy facilities. Central London’s not really the place experience a true English style B&B. Wait until you leave London.
Breakfast is included, and will either be a light ‘Continental’ style (cereal, bread or toast & jam) or a more filling cooked English breakfast. If you don’t want breakfast, there’s no discount.
Check-in varies. It’s usually between 12–2pm.
B&B hotels are more flexible than budget chains and if you arrive early, most will happily store your bags until your room is ready.
Rooms and bathrooms are small
If you’re used to North American hotels, rooms sizes in London can come as a surprise, especially single rooms. Many traditional style hotels were not built as hotels. They were originally homes for wealthy London families that were converted into hotels, and bathrooms are squeezed into already small rooms. Showers are more common than baths.
Budget chain hotel rooms are usually bigger and if you’re a solo traveller, you’ll probably get a double or twin-sized room.
Ask for a room on one of the lower floors if you have mobility problems
Most B&B hotels are in older buildings and many do not have lifts (elevator).
Ask for a room at the back of the hotel if you’re a light sleeper
London can seem noisy if you’re not used to big cities. Earplugs are a good idea.