Where to Stay in London for First Time Visitors

As a first-time visitor in London, I wanted to stay near the top tourist attractions in the city. However, this would usually mean that I need to pay more for accommodation. Good thing, my online search of “where to stay in London” and “cheap hostels in London” led me to Astor Victoria Hostel.

If you’re a budget traveler, you should consider staying here on your first-time visit in London. I’m not normally a hostel girl, but I had a great stay so here’s my take on it.

lots of café near the hostel

Where to Stay in London: Astor Victoria Hostel

Astor Hostels is an award-winning youth hostel chain with 4 properties throughout Central London – Hyde Park, Museum, Kensington, and Victoria. All these hostels checks all the boxes of a budget-friendly hostel: great location, free wi-fi, breakfast for only £ 3.00 and rates for as low as £20 per night.

Astor Victoria Hostel, where I stayed for three nights, has a 24-hour front desk, 24-hour laundry facility, lockers (£2/day), luggage storage ( £2/day), on-site ATM, fully-equipped kitchen, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. I love its location in Pimlico, which has quiet streets, has lovely gardens and are lined with beautiful 19th-century homes. 

autumn colors in Westminster

Standard 6-Bed Dorm – My Home Away from Home

There’s a variety of rooms on offer in Astor Victoria Hostel including Twin Private Rooms with Private Bath and Dormitory Rooms with Shared Bathroom. I stayed in a Standard 6-Bed Dorm, which was simple and quite small. Although I was placed at the top of the bunk bed, I had a great sleep. Thanks to the comfy pillows, mattress and quiet dorm mates.

A bed in the Standard 6-Bed Dorm is from £20 – 35, depending on the season so it may fluctuate from time to time. If you stay at the hostel for 3 to 10 nights, you will get a 12% discount.

Top 5 Tourist Attractions near Astor Victoria Hostel

If you are a first-time visitor in London, one of the biggest challenges you’ll probably face is what tourist attractions to see. I highly recommend the ones listed below so just pick and choose the attractions that interests you.

1. Bridges of London

London is located along the River Thames and one of the best ways to get a sense of the city is from the bridges. Within walking distances from Astor Victoria Hostel, there are a few bridges to visit during sunrise or sunset such as Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. If you take a bus or tube, you can easily visit the Tower Bridge, London Bridge and Millenium Bridge.

Tower Bridge

2. Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is the site of coronation for all British monarchs for over a thousand years. It is also the burial place of kings, queens and other distinguished figures in the British history. Taking the guided tour is probably my most favourite part of the trip so I highly recommend this activity if you are a first-time visitor in London.

In about 20-30 minute walk or 11 minutes by tube, you can easily visit Westminster Abbey from Pimlico Station, the nearest tube from Astor Victoria Hostel. 

3. The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben)

If there’s one thing everyone needs to see when visiting London for the first time, it’s the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as  Big Ben. Since there is an on-going conservation works, tours are currently not available but taking photos outside is definitely allowed. Big Ben is just behind Westminster Abbey so these two can be easily visited in one day.

4. Museums of London

If you’re a first-time visitor in London, then you’ll probably have to make difficult decisions when it comes to which museums to go to. The city has amazing selection of museums and galleries so there will be something to suit your interests.

National Gallery

For your trip, I highly recommend the following:

British Musuem if you want to see rare and historic artefacts from around the world

Natural History Museum for the dinosaurs collection 

National Gallery for the awesome collection of paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rubens and many more

British Museum

5. Buckingham Palace

One of the most famous palaces in London is Buckingham Palace. Located within Westminster, it is the official London residence of the British monarch. Aside from its magnificent architecture and extensive collections of paintings, Buckingham Palace is also known for the Changing of the Guards Ceremony.

In about 20-minute walk or 11 minutes by tube, you can easily visit Buckingham Palace (via Green Park Station) from Astor Victoria Hostel (Pimlico Station). 

Where to eat while staying in Astor Victoria Hostel

Around the hostel, you’ll find variety of restaurants serving cuisines from around the globe like Cyprus Mangal, Pimlico Thai and O’Sole Mio, where locals flock. There are plenty of laid-back cafes as well such as The Roasting and Pimlico Fresh. There are plenty of bars and pubs if you’re looking to check out London’s nightlife.

Is Astor Victoria Hostel Digital Nomad friendly?

The hostel offers high-speed Wi-Fi so digital nomads and employees who work remotely can do some work. I had a training online for two days so I needed a place to get connected. Even though the second day of the training is my check out day from the hostel, I was allowed to stay in the common room and use their Wi-Fi and facilities. Really appreciate this!

Mandatory telephone booth photo

I had a great stay in Astor Victoria Hostel. It was a short stay but I was able to see the best attractions in London without having to spend a lot of money on accommodation and transportation. So if you are a first time visitor in London, traveling on a budget, then you can’t go wrong with this hostel. 

You can book your stay at Astor Victoria Hostel here.

Astor Victoria Hostel

If you’re not sure where to stay in London and you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, let’s chat down in the comments section!

If you need help about how to apply for UK Standard Visitor Visa, click the link to read about my experience.

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