In a city as large and congested as London, it’s nice to have a place that feels like a home away from home. That’s how Palmers Lodge hostel feels for me. This is where I’ve always stayed while in London over the past few years, so when they asked me to write a review while staying there during the Olympics this summer, I gladly accepted.
Located in the Swiss Cottage neighborhood of London, the hostel is less than a 5-minute walk from the Swiss Cottage tube station. This is especially convenient when carrying a heavy pack around on your back. Palmers Lodge is also located in close proximity to the Camden area, which is one of the best areas for nightlife and where most pub-crawls take place. Even better, there’s a 24-hour bus that runs to and from Swiss Cottage to Camden.
For those on a tighter budget, the hostel is roughly a 5-minute walk to 2 major supermarkets: Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer. Both supermarkets have a wide selection of sandwiches and microwavable dinners. The hostel provides a microwave and refrigerator for those wanting to heat up or store their own food.
The hostel provides a variety of dorm rooms ranging from 5-beds to 28-beds, as well as a selection of private rooms if you prefer a bit more privacy. I’ve always stayed in the 28-bed dorm because 1) it’s cheapest, and 2) it’s on the main floor so I don’t have to climb any stairs. With 14 beds on one floor and another 14 on a loft-style second floor, this dorm is always surprisingly quiet.
BAR / KITCHEN / DINING AREA
For me, one of the best things about this hostel is the bar area downstairs. It’s a place where everyone can congregate and get to know each other. They have different happy hour themes every night, such as mojito night or jager bomb madness. Plus, the drinks are a bargain compared to most other pubs in London.
Breakfast is provided free of charge every morning. It was fairly standard compared to most other hostels I’ve stayed at, including cereal, croissants, and a variety of juices. One thing I really liked was their coffee machine, which created delicious cappuccinos or espresso before heading out for the Olympic madness.
Dinner was a different story. It’s convenient that they provide a full menu at pretty reasonable prices, but I found the food could have been better. I almost always found an inexpensive sandwich shop to grab a quick bite at, like the one right around the corner from the hostel.
When you don’t feel like hanging out in the bar area downstairs or during day if you need a break from roaming around London, there’s also a nice common area upstairs. They provide several computers, free Wi-Fi for everyone to use, and coffee and vending machines for a quick snack. The common room also has a big-screen TV where we watched a lot of the Olympic events and a Nintendo Wii if you feel so inclined to have a Wii Sports tournament.
Another thing I love about Palmer’s is the random trinkets placed throughout the hostel. Whether it’s knight’s armor or flags from all the countries of past guests put up for the Olympics, the decorations here are always unique.
The staff at Palmers Lodge are some of the friendliest I’ve met. A few of the staff still remain from when I was last in London 3 years ago. They are readily available to help you with whatever you need and can recommend fun activities and tours within the city and surrounding areas.
I can’t recommend Palmers Lodge enough. When you’re looking for a centrally located hostel in London with a great atmosphere for meeting other travelers, this is the place to go. It feels like a home away from home for me and I’ll continue to stay there whenever I happen to find myself in London.
Disclaimer: Palmers Lodge was kind enough to provide me with a discounted stay; however, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.