London is expensive and if you prefer to spend your cash on the incredible experiences the city has to offer, rather than on a place to sleep, you’ll be looking for a great deal on cheap or budget family accommodation in London. This could be hotels, hostels, apartments, B&Bs or other family accommodation. Budget and cheap are two different things, one person’s budget could be another person’s expensive so here we have some of the best places we’ve stayed in central and outer London, recently along with tips and ideas on budget accommodation in London. They include family rooms, hotels, hostels and apartments. We spend a lot of time in London and we hope you can give you an idea on what to expect at the budget end of the market. These days apartment rentals and budget hotels with included breakfasts are giving us our best experiences and best deals, apartments with washing machines are particularly great for families. We do luxury too, the budget accommodation is just for when we’re keeping our cash in our pockets!
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Budget London Family Hotel, Apartment or Hostel?
Tips for Finding Budget Accommodation in London
Think a little outside the box, you may be able to find free London accommodation, not just cheap.
- Join Couchsurfing.
- Join AirBnb – Use our link to get credits off your first stay, it may even cover your first night!
- Join the YHA for discounted Youth Hostel rates.
- Use regular hostels – Search ” London Hostels” on Booking.com here.
- Use Hotels Combined to search multiple online booking sites at once.
- Consider House Swapping – Check out Love Home Swap
- Consider becoming a House Sitter.
Here’s a little video we made. Some London highlights and inspiration.
What Do We Look For in Budget Family Accommodation
When it comes to budget family accommodation, London isn’t a complete fail, you will find bargains, but you need to compromise somewhere, time your stay precisely or just get lucky. The criteria below are what we look for when we’re finding a budget hotel, hostel or apartment.
Is there room for 4? My two children are now 10 and 12, so we need 4 beds or 2 doubles, but going back a few years we’d happily share beds and take a 3 bed room with a 1 child under x years stays free deal.
Does the room have free wifi? This is essential to us and you’d be surprised that some, even in London, don’t. We see many hotels and apartments in London with wifi only in public areas and some where wifi is available at an extra charge, usually around 5 pounds per day per device. That’s just not good enough and we won’t touch those places.
Is it a bargain? We search by price. We enter our dates into the booking engine then hit the order by price, lowest to highest button, then we start looking for the cheapest place that suits our needs. A lot of the cheapest accommodation won’t be good enough, we’ll ignore it, we’ll move on until we find the cheap accommodation that suits our needs. A map feature is a great thing to look at on your chosen booking engine, you can scroll around that map and find the best deal for the area you’d like.
Location isn’t massively important, so long as you are near a train or tube line, even a bus, you can get around London easily, although the more central the hotel, the less your transport bill will be. ( Children under 11 usually travel free making the tube and buses a great deal for families.)
A free breakfast can be a bonus, being able to feed the children easily in the mornings makes life easier. Tea and coffee making facilities are essential to me and it’s rare to find these absent in a room in London. Apartment hotels are surprisingly common and more surprisingly, cheap.
A full kitchen and even washing machine, can be very handy. London is littered with small supermarkets and coffee shops, finding food is super easy and inexpensive, so we don’t worry about food provision too much, but a washing machine is gold.
Shared bathrooms often cut costs. Sometimes we use these hotels or hostels and have never had a problem with the facilities. We prefer to avoid them though, as I’m sure you do.
We often look at youth hostels, but so far they have always been more expensive than cheap hotels and apartments. There are a couple of hostels we’ve used that we will mention here.
Where to Look for Great Deals on Hotels in London
There are almost too many options these days, making the searching process very time consuming and frustrating. Many swear by AirBnb but we usually find hotels cheaper. We have recently had a couple of big wins with AirBnb and enjoyed a month on the Thames at just £60/night. Sign up below and at least check it out, you could get lucky. Sign up for AirBnb here and get money off your first booking because we sent you!
Which booking engine to use for London?
Hotels Combined allows you to compare prices across every booking engine simultaneously. We use Agoda for Asia mostly, but it does work for London sometimes. Booking.com or Hotels Combined are usually our best ways to find budget London accommodation. We find it’s best to just stick to one booking site and get to know it well, you can tie yourself up in knots comparing them all, just have faith in a brand you trust. Obviously, with 4 years of professional family travel under our belts, we know most of them well now. Hotels Combined allows you to search a whole bunch of booking engines simultaneously to find the best deal.
What Can You Expect to Pay For a Family of 4 in a Hotel in London?
The lowest we have ever paid is around £50, the most we have paid £120. Obviously the sky is the limit, the Savoy will set you back around £1500 per night. But the location is great! Prices fluctuate enormously, a hotel that is £50 one night could be £150 the next and it is very difficult to predict which hotel will be cheap on which days. Some hotels are cheaper on weekends, some are cheaper mid-week. Public holidays, peak season and school holidays will obviously bump up prices. Use your booking engine to show you prices for 2 nights, 3 nights, 4 nights, you’ll see how the prices change, maybe time your stay accordingly.
Examples of Cheap Family Accommodation We’ve Used in London
We hope these examples will give you an idea of what you’ll pay and what you’ll get for your money in and around London. Don’t forget, this is for a family of four and the crazy £ to $ fluctuations post Brexit have thrown everything out. But the prices we give here are as accurate as we can make them. Please double check everything for yourself, we can only tell you what these places were like when we used them, deteriorations, refurbs or changed ownership could have thrown everything out.
A Central London Apartment Just Off Oxford St. AMAZING!
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This apartment is directly above Bond St. station. An incredible location! It has a double bedroom and 2 singles ( not sofa beds) in the living room for the kids. You can enjoy full kitchen facilities, shower room, flat screen mega-TV, wifi and washing machine. We paid under $100 in July 2016. What a brilliant deal! The catch, it’s on the 4th floor, no lift and there is building noise during the day. But it made a fabulous base for our time in London, highly recommended! Check it out on here Bond Street Station Serviced Apartments
A Serviced Apartment Near Heathrow
Kids get free breakfast at Stay City apartment hotels. Bargain ! Up to 12 years old so only £12 pounds for the 3 of us. We often use them when we “re in London, they give us a full kitchen to cut regular food costs, but we all love a buffet breakfast now and then ! #familytravel Three years on the road, you learn a trick or two !
A photo posted by family travel worldschool (@world_travel_family_and_chef) on
We’ve used the Staycity apartments near Heathrow many, many times now. The apartments are new, large, clean and well equipped. There is a Tesco Metro ( mini supermarket) downstairs and cheap pay-to-wash machines within the building. We’ve payed under £50 for one of their one bed apartments ( with 2 separate sofa/pull outs in the living/dining room), but their prices skyrocket at other times. Around £90-£150 seems fairly typical.
Brexit has recently shot £ prices through the roof as the currency plummeted. Think around $125 US. This Staycity is right on an overland train line into London Paddington, so not great if you need to go into the city every day as there is no direct tube connection. You need to travel a few stops on the overland before you connect with the tube but we were still within the Oyster card zone here. There is a gym on site. They now offer breakfast too, at £10 per adult. Kids right to 12 years old ate free, that’s a great deal! The wifi is not the best, but it’s adequate. Please check nothing has changed before booking. Stay City Apartments ( Hayes and Hillingdon) near Heathrow. | Stay City Apartments Deptford ( Near Greenwich). | Stay City Apartments Greenwich.
Realistically, this one is too far out of town for most visitors, but when we arrived and were looking for a job and our own apartment to rent it suited us fine. It was actually cheaper to stay here than take a rental apartment so as budget accommodation in London goes I think this was our best deal ever.
I’ve posted before about Silk House Hotel ( click through to check price and availability), we thought this was the best deal in London. Their one child under 8 stays free deal worked extremely well for us for a while, giving us a room at just £48, unfortunately my younger child no longer qualifies. This one is on the tube network. A DIY cold breakfast was included at this hotel, an added bonus was the garden, the kids loved kicking a ball around here. Don’t expect luxury.
A Cheap Apartment for 4 in West Kensington
We used this converted West Kensington house twice, in two different apartments. The price is good and the location excellent, but the rooms are very small. Both featured a futon type bed on a mezzanine level, accessed by a steep ladder. The sofa bed in the living area folds out to provide two more beds. A small private kitchen and tiny bathroom is a part of each apartment. We managed to get these at just under £60. Fine as a place to sleep in a good location, but no more. If you sit up in bed, watch your head! There are a whole bunch of apartments like this in West Kensington, most in converted historic buildings. It’s a pretty good location. Take a look here.
A Luxury Family Apartment in West Kensington
I honestly don’t know the price of this one, we were invited to stay as guests, but I’ll include it for you to make your own enquiries. This luxury apartment ( find a full post about it here) was beautiful, large, well equipped and well located. The apartment rental company, FG Property Management, has many more luxury apartments in various cities around the world. FG Properties in West Kensington
A Hotel with Family Room and Included Breakfast in Shepherd’s Bush
More of a traditional British style B&B, Comfotel Grn ( click to view) is named as an hotel. Our room was OK, a reasonable size with comfortable beds and the bathroom was large and modern. The whole building was in the process of being refurbished while we were there. Breakfast was good, eggs, cereal, fruit, yogurt and sweet things, made to order in the kitchen/dining room by pleasant staff. The young man on the front desk was super helpful. Shepherds Bush is a great location, we were a short walk from Hammersmith’s excellent transport connections, there are plenty more hotels along this road. We paid around £70 to stay here. Comfotel Grn
An Apartment in Greenwich
This place was great, if in need of TLC, a very short walk from all of Greenwich’s amazing attractions and that to-die-for food and craft market. We got a large studio style apartment, 2 big double beds, kitchen, washing machine, shower room and good WiFi for around £100. It’s on Deptford High St. which at first sight is a bit sketchy, but look closer, you’ve got a fabulous multi-cultural community here, cool coffee shops and diners, it just feels good to be here. Loads of dining options from all over the world, from plentiful Vietnamese to Caribbean, or wander into Greenwich for something more up-market. Don’t expect the Ritz. It’s basic, but was superbly well equipped when we stayed, from washing powder to bleach to cooking oil. Just steps away from overland and DLR stations. Greenwich Park Apartments
Holiday Inn Express at London City Airport for the ExCel
Holiday Inn Express give you clean comfortable rooms with aircon, wifi, nice shower rooms and a good breakfast. We’ve used them at London City airport and Luton airport for early morning flights. Breakfast starts in the wee-small hours, perfect for early fliers. Functional, modern, and efficient, you get a big double bed plus a pull-out double sofa bed. Expect to pay around £80 to £120, as always, prices fluctuate. Holiday Inn Express for London City Airport and Excel. Holiday Inn Express for London Luton Airport
Londonears Hostel Earl’s Court
A 4 bunk room does for a family, but the shared bathroom, weird people hanging about and non-existent kitchen…ugg! What’s good about it? Well it’s not far from Earl’s Court station where you can find a lovely TARDIS on the pavement. Earl’s Court is OK, but this hostel was pretty grotty when we stayed and the price didn’t always reflect that. Londonears Hostel Earl’s Court
We hope this gives you an idea of what to expect at the cheaper end of the market. We think we’re pretty good at finding great deals and we hope you enjoy your stay in our home city, we love London passionately.