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So you’ve got your Contiki trip sorted, but now you’re trying to find somewhere to stay in London before your Contiki tour departs that isn’t going to blow your budget.

Is that even possible? Yes, but you’ll need to stay in a hostel.

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1. Where does Contiki recommend?

Contiki recommends you stay at the Royal National Hotel because it’s located directly above the Contiki Basement (that’s where your tour bus will depart from and return to), so naturally, it’s a great option.

Now this is the point where most people go and book a room at the Royal National Hotel, but for those of you who have had the liberty of Googling the Royal National Hotel London, then you’re probably thinking “what the hell is this dump!?” or “I’m not paying £85 to stay there!”

And rightly so. The Royal National Hotel does look a bit rough, and is only rated a measly 3 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.

In summary, it’s a bit shit.

Having said this, it is cheap for central London, and it is literally right where your Contiki bus leaves from, so it will do the job… If you like mediocre hotels.

But don’t worry, you have other options close by in the form of hostels.

[wpsm_update label=”UPDATE”]It appears that the Royal National Hotel had a renovation a few years back and I can see from their website that *some* rooms are looking much nicer![/wpsm_update]

The photos below were taken in 2014. The hotel has been renovated since then, but some rooms are yet to be upgraded.

Images of Royal National Hotel © TripAdvisor

2. My personal experience

As a past Contiki passenger, I actually stayed in the Royal National Hotel (so did a lot of others too).

And yes, my room did look like the photos above.

It was OK pretty awful. But I had a few drinks at the pub downstairs, met other Contiki passengers and told myself to get a grip.

After all, I was about to embark on a Contiki around Europe… hardly the most luxurious adventure now is it?

If you’re happy with how the Royal National looks and the price, then I say book it, because you won’t find anywhere more convenient for your Contiki trip!

But if you’re on a tight budget and looking for something potentially a bit nicer, then you can find a few options all within a 5 – 10 minute walk from the Contiki Basement/Contiki bus departure.

The options listed below are all available to book at HostelWorld.

3. Top 5 best hostels in London before or after a Contiki trip

Remember that you’ll never find luxury accommodation in Central London for under $60 per night… I mean it’s a hostel, after all.

But these options below are all really well rated and have much better reviews than the Royal National Hotel, so I think they are definitely worth considering before or after your Contiki tour.

#1 YHA London St Pancras

🔑 79-81 Euston Road

🏆 9.0 rating on HostelWorld

💷 From £30 ($58 AUD approx.) per night

⏱ 10-minute walk to Contiki Basement

YHA London St Pancras has friendly reception and bar staff, clean rooms and a lounge which is really comfortable to hang around.

YHA London St Pancras is rated highly for value for money.

#2 Generator Hostel London

🔑 37 Tavistock Place

🏆 7.9 rating on HostelWorld

💷 From £27 ($53 AUD approx.) per night

⏱ 6-minute walk to Contiki Basement

Hostelworld guests have said Generator Hostel London is a clean, secure, ‘well-organised hostel with good and professional staff’.

We like their ‘lively and atmospheric’ bar, which travellers tell us is ‘a great place to hang out a bit and have a beer while meeting nice people from around the globe’.

#3 Pickwick Hall

🔑 7 Bedford Place

🏆 9.0 rating on HostelWorld

💷 From £35 ($67 AUD approx.) per night

⏱ 7-minute walk to Contiki Basement

Admittedly, the photos of this hostel are pretty awful, but it is highly rated.

Pickwick Hall provides accommodation for tourists, students and other people who require cheap, clean and attractive short or long-term lodging.

#4 Smart Russell Square Hostel

🔑 71 Guilford Street

🏆 6.9 rating on HostelWorld

💷 From £22 ($43 AUD approx.) per night

⏱ 5-minute walk to Contiki Basement

Nestled in the heart of London, walking distance to iconic British Museum and Europe’s most popular shopping area, Oxford Street, Smart Russell Square is the perfect destination for budget-conscious travellers who want to experience amazing London adventure.

Every room is key card locked as is entry to the main part of the building, security lockers are present in every room.

#5 Astor Museum Inn

🔑 27 Montague Street, Bloomsbury

🏆 9.0 rating on HostelWorld

💷 From £29 ($56 AUD approx.) per night

⏱ 7-minute walk to Contiki Basement

This hostel won 1st Best Small hostel chain and 1st in the Lifetime achievement awards at the 2015 ‘Hoscars’.

Fancy! Astor Museum Inn is across the street from the British Museum in ‘a classy part of town’, according to one Hostelworld user.

HostelWorld reviewers have praised this hostel’s ‘awesome, very friendly staff’ who offer ‘excellent service for the value’.

If you want to check out other hostels close to the Contiki Basement, then I recommend using HostelWorld as they don’t charge you a booking fee 🙌

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