For most backpackers, traveling revolves around two things: budgets and beers. While London has absolutely no shortage of pubs and clubs, the budgeting part might get a little bit tricky. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, you’re going to need to make sure your money stretches out as far as it can. Logically, that means London should basically be a no-go zone.
But just not go to London? That’s just wrong. London is one of the world’s most historically and culturally significant cities. It is vibrant and full of life, buzzing with activity at all times of day. It is a melting pot of cultures and peoples, a city that shines despite its omnipresent cloud cover. One does not simply just miss out on London.
So you’re going to have to compromise. I can’t imagine very many luxury travelers read my blog so I’ll just cut to the chase instead of dillydallying trying to accommodate and reason with everyone.
You’re going to be staying in a hostel.
There are an abundance of hostels in London but you are going to want to stay with St. Christopher’s Inns. There are eight different locations in London, giving you various tastes of the different neighborhoods of the bustling English capital.
The most ideal location for first-timers in London would probably be one of their two London Bridge hostels. It puts you right in the midst of it all. You are within walking distance of a ton of attractions, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern, the Shard, everything along the River Thames, and my favorite place in all of London, Borough Market. If you’re lazy like me, you can figure out the Tube system which is less than a five minute walk away and makes the whole of London a lot smaller.
All the iconic London spots are at most four or five underground stops away. Just a heads up, Big Ben is under mad construction and is looking ugly as hell right now and will be looking ugly as hell for the next couple of years. It’s better if I set you up for disappointment now anyway.
Oh yeah, let’s get to the beers part of being a backpacker. Each St. Christopher’s has a Belushi’s Bar attached to it. The nightlife practically comes to you. St. Christopher’s guests get big discounts on food and drinks, making it the most economical way to pre-game aside from buying a bottle of gin from Sainsbury’s and drinking alone in the room. If that’s your thing, then more power to you but I can promise that Belushi’s has more atmosphere than your 8-bed dorm.
As far as nightlife goes, St. Christopher’s Camden location might be where you’ll want to drunkenly pass out. Camden is one of London’s quirkier neighborhoods. There’s a strange vibe to it but it’s hard to deny that it definitely has a lot of character. The sheer number of pubs and clubs and other watering holes that don’t really fit any category will amaze you.
That’s not to say that the rest of London is devoid of nightlife. London might be one of the most nightlife-heavy cities I’ve ever seen. Everyone is always drinking. It can be freezing out and there will be at least 20 people drinking outside any given pub. Whichever St. Christopher’s you’re staying at, there’s definitely going to be a nightlife scene but some will be more exciting than others. Again, with the Belushi’s Bar below, you’re always going to have a good spot to meet other travelers and locals alike.
Backpacking London on a budget is far from easy but it can be done. Thankfully, London has a ton of incredible free things to do. From the Tate Modern to the British Museum to simply wandering aimlessly through the beautiful and diverse boroughs, you hardly ever have to spend money to fill up your days in London.
*cough cough* the London Eye is overpriced and overrated *cough cough*
But that’s just my opinion. Do your thang. Do whatever you want. London is a city for everyone. Whatever scene you’re into, staying at a hostel gives you honest, local knowledge about what to do and not do in a city like London. On a backpacker’s budget, there’s no better place to stay than at St. Christopher’s Inn.