London might be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but there’s no need to blow your travel budget on a hotel. Long gone are the days when affordability was shorthand for tatty rooms and shabby surroundings. Now there’s a great choice of good-value, stylish places to bed down, whether you want to be amid the creative buzz of Shoreditch or in the cultural hub of the South Bank; at a sweet spot in the suburbs or slap bang in the centre of the city. Here are the best affordable places to stay in London, all at under £200 a night.
Main photo: New Road Hotel in Whitechapel
This article contains affiliate links.
Our travel journalism is written and edited by independent experts to inform, inspire and advise our readers about the best choices for your holidays. We also feature properties and itineraries from a specially selected list of trusted operators. These buttons and adverts are clearly signposted, and provide direct links through to external sites. If you click and buy a product, we may earn revenue.
1. The Bedford, Balham
Best for entertainment | Room-only doubles from £119
You can’t miss the bright red lights of the Bedford — just a five-minute walk from Balham station — and you wouldn’t want to either. This 15-room pub with boutique rooms charms you with its circus theme downstairs and wows you upstairs in the bedroom: expect bold wallpapers, Instagram-worthy tubs and loud but stylish interiors. A stay here will put you in very good company: the likes of Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini and KT Tunstall have all performed in the club room before they hit the big time. It’s a hotbed for new comedy talent too, having hosted a young Harry Hill and Frank Skinner. There’s always something happening in the five bars, be it a swing dance or an open mic night, and the buzzing pub guarantees a good time, a great meal (food is half-price on a Tuesday), and plenty of tempting cocktails.
2. citizenM London Bankside, South Bank
Best for smart technology | Room-only doubles from £127
Brilliantly positioned just behind the South Bank and a few minutes’ walk from London’s renowned Borough Market, this is a smart hotel in both senses of the word. Everything from check-in to browsing menus for the canteenM bar is done on an app. All rooms are the same; compact but with all the necessities you need for a good night’s sleep: coloured mood lighting, blackout blinds, king-size beds. There’s a help-yourself breakfast and a stylish living room hangout space furnished with Vitra chairs, a curated collection of books, modern art and iMacs.
3. The Culpeper, Shoreditch
Best for a laid-back vibe | Room-only doubles from £165
A pub, restaurant and hotel rolled into one, the Culpeper is a stone’s throw from buzzing Spitalfields Market and Liverpool Street. Expect the same menu — comfort classics such as pie of the day and beer-battered fish and chips — in the light-filled pub and the smarter bistro on the first floor. Rooms are rustic-luxe, with wooden bedheads and wicker lights, tree-trunk tables and cosy throws on the beds. In the summer, the best spot for dinner and drinks is the rooftop, where produce for the kitchen is grown in the garden.
4. Inhabit Southwick Street, Paddington
Best for soul-soothing | Room-only doubles from £160
Wellness is top of the agenda at this affordable hotel, which has a tranquil Scandi feel. The all-day menu in the Kitchen is created by health food restaurant and retreat Yeotown; there’s a pantry stocked with nutritious snacks and a noise-free library for chilling out. Upstairs, rooms range from Sleeper (it has a single bed) to Family. Guests can book in for the feel-good daily classes, too: guided nature walks in nearby Hyde Park, pilates, yoga and morning meditation to kickstart the day.
5. New Road Hotel, Whitechapel
Best for an East End escape | Room-only doubles from £99
Housed in a former textiles factory in Whitechapel, this New York-inspired hotel nods to its industrial past with exposed brick walls and huge metal-framed windows. Even the smallest rooms come with a king-size bed; the best loft room has its own hot tub on the roof. Social spaces include a games room with a pool table, a library and yoga studio, while the menu at the Chophouse restaurant, which centres around halal steaks, grills and chops, is devised by chef Marco Pierre White. Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are within walking distance.
6. The Buxton, Whitechapel
Best for rooftop garden views | Room-only doubles from £150
Named in homage to local 19th-century anti-slavery campaigner and social reformer Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, this characterful pub and hotel sits right on Brick Lane (it’s the younger sibling to the Culpeper down the road). The 15 pared-back but functional rooms feature handwoven artworks, rugs and blankets (another nod to Buxton, who also raised money for the weaving community) and a selection of books chosen by nearby bookshop Libreria. The ground-floor bar and restaurant excels in British and European dishes such as pan-fried gnocchi and Jerusalem artichoke or duck breast with beetroot puree, and all produce is seasonal. Chefs cure their own bacon, make preserves from scratch and add flavour with herbs grown on the guests-only rooftop garden, which delivers knockout views of the City.
7. Moxy London Stratford
Best for families | Room-only doubles from £89
There’s a loose sports theme to Moxy London Stratford — a reference to its location, a ten-minute walk from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park — from the bicycle hanging on the wall to the silhouettes of athletes swimming, skipping and playing table tennis printed on wood panelling, both in the lobby and living room. Table football, books and board games (as well as the bar) encourage families to stay put, while the 24-hour grab-and-go is perfect for stocking up on provisions before heading out.
8. The Rockwell, Kensington
Best for visiting museums | Room-only doubles from £95
It’s the convenient location of the Rockwell in West London, right by the blockbuster museums and boutique shopping in Chelsea, that makes it a winner. Inside the Victorian townhouse, the look is classic (rooms are furnished with floral wallpapers and oak furniture). Another boon is the walled garden, dotted with pretty plants and ideal for alfresco summer drinks, while the restaurant serves an all-day brunch menu that covers everything from soups and salads to fish and chips and steak.
9. Green Rooms, Wood Green
Best for creatives | Room-only doubles from £65
A social enterprise hotel for the arts opposite Wood Green tube station (it’s just 12 minutes to King’s Cross), Green Rooms has discounted rates for artists and creatives. Chairman Kurt Bredenbeck founded the Hoxton in Hackney and advised on the design here: expect original art deco period detailing complemented by a stripped-back, rustic aesthetic in the 26 rooms (some have shared bathrooms). Chef Fan Yi, of Oita’s Kitchen, specialises in Japanese food, and there are rotating art exhibitions in the lobby, as well as regular comedy nights and live music events.
10. The Z Hotel, Covent Garden
Best for shopping and sightseeing | Room-only doubles from £113
The no-frills, function-first Z Hotel group has 11 outposts dotted around the capital but this one, in a red-brick house that backs onto St Paul’s Church behind the Piazza in Covent Garden, stands out for its buzzing, brilliant location. Rooms are compact (some categories have no windows) but come with crisp linens and comfy beds. There’s a café for a continental breakfast and complimentary cheese and wine in the evenings — an ideal aperitivo pitstop.
11. The Pilgrm, Paddington
Best for location | Room-only doubles from £149
Across the street from Paddington station, the Pilgrm is spread across four Victorian houses that have been beautifully and sensitively restored: think reclaimed cast-iron radiators, mid-century armchairs and wooden parquet flooring. The smallest rooms are the bunks (no televisions); all come with charming white-tiled utilitarian bathrooms, Marshall Bluetooth speakers, a selection of books, and artwork on the walls. Ask for a room at the back of the hotel to avoid the noise of London Street. Communal pantries replace room service and there’s the Lounge for brunch until 3pm, coffee and killer cocktails. Grab a table on the balcony-style terrace for people-watching.
12. The Spread Eagle, Wandsworth
Best for stylish stays | Room-only doubles from £119
This grade II listed Victorian pub with rooms is perfect for those who want a boudoir they’ll remember. Forget plain walls and soulless furnishings; the decor here is a tasteful clash of bold wallpapers, velvet curtains and vintage furnishings. Opt for the Brewery suite to add some romance with a free-standing copper bath. Downstairs there’s a lively restaurant and well-stocked bar, while every spare wall is covered in a mix of quirky photographs and paintings. Food is a cut above standard pub grub and the Sunday roast is one of the best in London. Here on a summer evening? Tuck in on the terrace: it’s perfect for warm evenings with an Aperol in hand.
13. Novotel London Bridge, Southwark
Best for families | Room-only doubles from £189
This hotel, just a ten-minute walk from London Bridge Tube station, provides a great base for families who want to explore the South Bank — the Tower of London and Borough Market are both just a short stroll away. Rooms are comfortable and surprisingly spacious and the best come with excellent views of the Shard. There’s plenty of choice at breakfast and the mood-lit bar is the perfect place to put your feet up after a day of walking around the city.
14. Mama Shelter London Shoreditch
Best for couples | Room-only doubles from £92
Design-centric chain Mama Shelter’s London outpost is in the heart of edgy Shoreditch so there’s no shortage of things to do nearby. But if you’re thinking about staying put, the hotel has a busy restaurant and bar serving an eclectic menu ranging from fish and chips to peri peri chicken burger, plus some banging cocktails. Guests can also make use of the gym, restaurant and bar — and the hotel even has its own karaoke rooms. Bedrooms here are on the cosy side but they have everything you’d need, from a mini-fridge to a desk. A USP for the brand is that free movies are included as part of your stay, including X-rated ones.
15. Room2 Chiswick
Best for sustainability | Room-only doubles from £109
If you want somewhere to stay with eco-friendly credentials, look no further than Room2. On the roof, there are solar panels as well as 75,000 bees creating local honey and contributing to biodiversity in the area. Inside, all energy comes from renewable sources and the showers use 40 per cent less power (with a promise that they don’t scrimp on water pressure). Climate-friendly measures extend to the decor, with pieces made locally wherever possible and carpets created from fishing nets. There’s a café serving breakfast and light bites — or you can make use of your room’s handy kitchenette.
16. The Distillery, Notting Hill
Best for cocktails | Room-only doubles from £132
Housed in a four-storey townhouse on Portobello Road, the Distillery isn’t your average hotel. As the name suggests, this place is ideal for those who like a drink. The home of Portobello Road Gin, it has its own distillery and two bars, and hosts workshops where you can make your own gin or whisky. After you’ve had your fill of G&Ts, you can rest your head in one of the three rooms on the top floor. Each room has a minibar with yet more gin, as well as a record player and a selection of vinyl from local shop Rough Trade.
17. The Westminster London, Westminster
Best for views | Room-only doubles from £165
You’re placed in one of London’s most powerful pockets with a stay at this Hilton — just down the road from Westminster, less than half a mile from royalty at Buckingham Palace and a few minutes away from Big Ben. Rooms have been smartly designed to pack a lot of convenience into a small space; showers are neatly tucked away out of sight and curved walls hide wardrobes and a coffee station. There are two options for dinner: Bao Yum, a casual spot for breakfasts, lunch and dinner or American steakhouse STK Westminster for fine dining.
18. Apex Temple Court, City
Best for | Room-only doubles from £146
This hotel is housed in a slick post-war office building, set around a courtyard just off Fleet Street, once the home of some of Britain’s best newspapers, and less than ten minutes’ walk from St Paul’s and the theatres of Covent Garden. Rooms, decorated in greys and emerald greens, manage to feel both comfy and upmarket and bathrooms are kitted out with Temple Spa products. The Chambers restaurant, a nod to the courts nearby, serves hearty classics and steaks and spills out into a courtyard during summer.
Additional reporting by Lucy Perrin, Alexandra Whiting and Qin Xie