A few weeks ago, I spent a long weekend in London after attending a Travel Massive meet up. I stayed with a friend in Richmond for the first two nights, but met up with another friend on the Saturday, crashing in a hostel for the night. I’ve been to London many times before but have always stayed with friends or in hotels, so this was my first ever hostel experience!
REVIEW OF WOMBAT’S HOSTEL | LONDON
We looked at a couple of different options for hostels and the Wombat’s wasn’t the cheapest. I was pushing for a cheaper alternative as I knew we’d only be using it as somewhere to sleep. However, the Wombat’s hostel had great reviews and was renowned for its cleanliness – something very important to my friend Emily! My budget for the night was £25 but it was coming in at £35 each per night for that weekend. Looking back, all the prices were much higher than usual as it was a busy weekend in London with the British Summer Time Festival and London Pride both happening that weekend. We went back and forth for a while but it was soon clear Emily had got her heart set on the Wombat’s hostel. She even offered to cover my extra £10 and I couldn’t say no after that – thanks Emily!
The hostel is in East London, in a pretty good location. It’s just 5 minutes walk from Aldgate East station which is just one stop (4 mins) away from Liverpool Street on the Hammersmith and City tube line. It’s in a quite area and all streets are well lit on the walk down to the hostel. It was perfect for us as we were both getting our trains home from Liverpool Street which is a major hub for travel all over the UK.
From Aldgate East to:
- Tower of London – 2 minutes
- Liverpool Street – 4 minutes
- The Shard – 17 minutes
- Victoria – 18 minutes
- Oxford Circus – 19 minutes
- Camden – 23 minutes
- Covent Garden – 24 minutes
- Hyde Park – 29 minutes
The hostel itself was great – as you walk through the door, you have the reception desk in front to the left which is big enough to serve three people at a time, so I imagine queues move fairly quickly. The decor is quirky with giant letters spelling ‘Wombats’ decorating the reception and large wooden pallets adorned with funky patterned cushions acting as sofas around the edges. Plug sockets were available every couple of metres or so, and there’s even space on stools by the window to set up with your laptop etc.
On checking in, I was given a key card and a voucher for a free drink in the bar. To get to the rooms (or anywhere apart from reception) you need to swipe your card for access. In the evenings, the main door into the hostel also locks and requires you to swipe in. So, security is great! As you leave reception, you can either go up to the rooms (lifts and stairs available) or down to the ‘basement’. The basement area is where you’ll find the kitchen and restaurant, where the breakfast buffet (£4.50) is served. There’s also a bunch of tables and chairs and more large wooden pallets set up as giant loungers. All complete with more plug sockets. Outside, there’s a courtyard area with benches and hammocks – amazing!
Our room was the cleanest room I think I’ve ever stayed in!!! And that’s including many of the HOTELS I’ve stayed in… We opted for a four bed room which had an en suite bathroom with shower and separate toilet cubicle. There were two bunks with all linen provided, we just needed to put the sheets on the bed. It’s very clean and contemporary with a minimalist feel. There are four big lockers to the left which are accessed by pressing your key card against a certain area.. pretty cool. The only negative to the room was the temperature. It was a hot weekend and boy, did we feel it. The room was UNBELIEVABLY warm. To the point we both only managed about 3 hours sleep and I was up every hour to douse myself in cold water before crawling back into my bunk. I’ve never experienced anything like it – even in Asia!!! So yeah, if you can’t handle the heat at night – this place in summer is not for you! I appreciate it’s a hostel and it’s a cheaper alternative to a hotel, but a little air con would go a long way….
Overall, I would definitely stay there again – I loved the decor and style of the place and the rooms were spotless. It’s a shame about the heat, but that wouldn’t be a problem in cooler months. The breakfast buffet is a cost effective way of filling yourself up for the day when travelling on a budget, and the free alcoholic drink (which we sadly never used) is an added bonus. Wombat’s aren’t just in London, they are also in Berlin, Budapest, Munich and Vienna so I would definitely consider staying at one of their sister hostels. Check out the Wombat’s website for more information 🙂
Have you stayed in a Wombat’s Hostel before? What did you think?