London Doesn’t Come Cheap, but Hostels Can Help
Budget travelers using London as their gateway this summer can expect to pay a hefty $26 to $35 for a bed in seven of the city’s major youth hostels.
Here are the seven Hostelling International locations:
* The City of London Hostel is at 36 Carter Lane (opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral); telephone 011-44-171-236-4965. In the former choir school for the Cathedral. Tube station: St. Paul’s.
* The 154-bed Earl’s Court Hostel is at 38 Bolton Gardens; tel. 011-44-171-373-7083. Take the Tube to Earl’s Court.
* The suburban Hampstead Heath Hostel is at 4 Wellgarth Road, Golders Green; tel. 011-44-181-458-9054. You’ll need to take a 20-minute Tube ride from central London to Golders Green Tube station.
* Holland House Hostel is at Holland Walk, Kensington; tel. 011-44-171-937-0748. It’s in a former Jacobean mansion, walking distance from Kensington Palace; Tube station: Holland Park.
* Oxford Street Hostel is at 14 Noel St.; tel. 011-44-171-734-1618. In the middle of the lively Soho area; Tube station: Oxford Circus.
* The modern Rotherhithe Hostel is at 20 Salter Road; tel. 011-44-171-232-2114, a riverside location in London’s Docklands; Tube station: Rotherhithe.
* The new St. Pancras International Hostel is at 79-81 Euston Road; tel. 011-44-171-388-9998. Tube station: King’s Cross.
The rates quoted are for members of Hostelling International. You can get details on membership by calling (310) 393-6263. Nonmembers can use the facilities but are charged a small additional guest fee that can be applied toward membership. With the exception of Hampstead Heath, the least expensive hostel, these rates include breakfast. If you are between 18 and 25 and traveling independently with valid student identification, you are eligible for a $1.65 discount for each night’s accommodation.
After digging deep into your pockets for accommodation, you’ll want to watch your sightseeing expenses. Fortunately, there are quite a few facilities you can visit for free, including the British Museum on Great Russell Street (see the Rosetta Stone and copies of the Magna Carta), the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square (one of the world’s top collections of European paintings), the National Portrait Gallery on St. Martin’s Place (portraits of famous people) and the Tate Gallery on Millbank (see works by Matisse, Picasso, Dali, Monet and notable British artists).
Students are always free at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The following sites are free to travelers during specific hours (4:30 to 6 p.m.): the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, the Science Museum at Exhibition Road and the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road.
Budget travelers visiting Scotland this summer should ask at tourist information offices for a free copy of the new “Independent Backpacker’s Hostels Scotland” leaflet. This network of independent budget accommodation facilities now has about 90 members, 50 in Highland areas. There are no membership requirements for guests and most facilities have kitchens that guests can use. The hostels vary from 10 to 100 beds and rates average from $10 to $20 per bed, per night.
Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. She can be reached at https://www.izon.com.