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Last week I was on somewhat of a mini tour of the UK. I decided to spend a few days in London and thought it would be a great time to fit in a review of one of London’s most reputable hostels, St. Christopher’s Village London Bridge. I had stayed there previously about 4 years ago and it had been one of the wildest experiences I’d ever had in a hostel. So wonderful, in fact, that I had returned three times in one Summer. My liver was not pleased with me that Summer. Now, the question was, would St. Christopher’s live up to the memories I had of it 4 years later?
Who are St. Christopher’s?
St.Christopher’s are a chain of hostels that have several locations around Europe including London, Berlin and Amsterdam, to name a few. Renowned for being fun, safe and affordable they go by the slogan of “Live Your Life”. Their hostels have a young, friendly vibe that makes you feel as if anything could happen, and it usually does. All St.Christopher’s hostels include free breakfast (which is generally what I’m looking for when travelling on a budget) and free wifi (blogger essential). So, as a company St.Christopher’s sounds pretty good on paper, but what happened when I paid a visit to the St. Christopher’s Village London Bridge branch?
How Do I Get There?
I arrived into London Paddington train station from Bristol. From there it was pretty straight forward to get to London Bridge using the underground. Now, I say London Bridge, but I actually didn’t use London Bridge tube station. I got off at the next stop, Borough, which is MUCH quieter and involves a lot less walking. It’s also an easier roll, of the suitcase, to the hostel from Borough than from London Bridge. Luckily for me I had an Oyster card from years ago which made underground travel quite simple, just top it up and go! If you’re going to be spending a bit of time in London I highly recommend one.
What About The Rooms?
St. Christopher’s Village London Bridge has a variety of different rooms ranging from a twin room to the infamous 22 bed dorm. All rooms have shared bathrooms and are clean. There is an “Oasis” section of the hostel as well on the second floor. This a female-only area which has a few extra luxuries such as towels and hair dryers. The rooms are all fairly basic, bunk beds, window, door, the usual. There are lockers under the bed but you need to bring your own padlock or buy one from reception. There are also more secure lockers downstairs in the common room. These are self-locking and need to be paid for with coins. I used these to store my laptop.
But what about my stay? WELL, I stayed in a 6 bed mixed dorm room, which, to be honest, I was pretty unlucky with. I had been travelling for about a week and was looking forward to an early night. Unfortunately for me I was sharing a room with a large business man who clearly had a lot of health issues, an old man that liked to sit around in his boxers and 3 other unfortunate people. From the moment the business man arrived in the room all he did was burp and sigh and burp and sigh. I was praying for him to go to sleep so that it might end. Little did I know he was the worst snorer known to man kind. I actually recorded him on my phone and sent it to my friends for sympathy. Needless to say I got about 2hrs sleep that night….. and the next night because I was too lazy to bother changing rooms and moving my stuff. That, of course, is simply the risk you run when staying in a shared room.
Is There A Bar?
Is there a bar in St.Christopher’s Village London?! Pah! Of course there’s a bar. This hostel is THE place to party and the bar’s rarely empty. “Belushi’s” is the main bar which is attached to the hostel. It is also where breakfast is served each morning. Another nice touch is that you are given a token upon check-in entitling you to a free shot in Belushi’s. If you flash your room key you also get discounts on food and drink there too. They have a few theme nights in Beulshi’s such as karaoke if you’re not interested in one of the MANY pub crawls available most nights of the week.
If you fancy something a little more exclusive there is a rooftop terrace on the 3rd floor of St. Christopher’s where you can drink and enjoy an amazing view of the city. That rooftop has seen a lot of crazy alcohol-fuelled nights, I would tell you all about them but I have trouble remembering them for some reason! 😉 Either way, whether you’re in Belushi’s or up at the rooftop you will find it incredibly easy to mingle with your fellow travellers. The atmosphere in St. Christopher’s Village is unbelievably friendly and open. I am still in contact with people that I met 4 years ago when I was staying there!
Is There Much To Do?
Well, it is London after all so, of course, there’s plenty to do! There is a message board at reception that keeps you up to date on all the wonderful events and activities going on. Personally, my favourite thing to do when staying at St. Christopher’s Village London is to hang around the Borough Market. I would permanently move in there if I could. Though I imagine my clothes would start to get pretty tight fairly quickly. From quirky cakes to artisan burgers and fresh produce, Borough market is a treat for anyone that enjoys eating at all.
Otherwise there are PLENTY of other activities close by. London Bridge is just around the corner, as is the London Dungeon. Being on the Northern Line it’s extremely easy to get to Camden and float around the eccentric markets. Or you could hop on the underground and head to the legendary Carnaby street for a bit of shopping. It’s up to you. So many options. With the wonderful location of this hostel you will never be short of things to see and do.
Ok, so ultimately St. Christopher’s Village London is still my favourite hostel in London. However, there are some things that I would consider negative points. For example, in my room for 6 people there were only 2 plug sockets. Luckily, through some miracle or another, this didn’t actually prove too much of a problem. Though I reckon that it could be a serious issue if you had more than one technology lover in a room. Also, there is no kitchen. There is, however, a microwave and kettle down in the common room so if you’re on a tight budget noodles and toast are still an option. There are currently no working lifts, which was a bit of a pain for me because my suitcase is at the stage where I’m genuinely afraid that the handle might fall off next time I pick it up.
NOW, I did have a chance to speak to the assistant manager and he informed me that there were currently some big plans for expansion/development which would include two lifts. So that should be very exciting. The common room has been redone recently and is still in the process of being finished but even still it looks amazing. There is a foosball table and state of the art lockers. There are also several plug sockets including usb ports so you don’t need an adapter which I thought was a wonderful idea! The staff are friendly and extremely helpful. This, together with the amazing atmosphere and wonderful location, will always ensure that I return to St. Christopher’s Village London Bridge.
If you’re interested in visiting London check out St.Christopher’s website for info on prices and availability.
I came across you from Sam Starling’s interview.
The fact that you’ve been here a few times means that you are able to give a good, balanced view of this place. Such as the free breakfasts is great and 2 sockets/6 people – not so good.
I remember the first time I was in a mixed dorm I was quite shocked, I hadn’t stayed in a such a hostel like that before so it was quite a shock. The hostel was somewhere in Amsterdam and during the night a couple were getting jiggy with it in a bed near to mine. Hmm, not quite what I was expecting.
That was a few years ago now and I think if I stayed at a hostel again I’d look for a private room. I’d go mad if I had to tolerate some of those dorm mates you had this time.
I do wonder if I might have passed this place a few years ago? We stayed at a rented apartment block/hotel near London Bridge.
Hey! So glad you found my blog 🙂 Your experience in Amsterdam sounds awful. Can’t say I haven’t had that happen before in another shared room before. I think Im torn about shared rooms. I love the social aspect. But hate the lack of security and possibility of little sleep!
Solid review, Tara! Debating where to stay when I visit London next month. It’ll be my first official hostel visit.. any recs on that end?? I’ll be traveling through the UK/Ireland for about a month and spending almost two weeks in London (with day trips tbd) so would love to meet some people and get to know the city a little more than the average tourist.
HEY SAM! Sorry I took so long!
St.Christopher’s is a GREAT place to meet new people and really get to know the city.
It is, of course, a budget hostel so don’t expect the rooms to be too great. UNLESS you book a private room. I stayed in a private room there on one occasion and it was really nice.