As someone who has never stayed in a hostel (and I mean never stayed in a hostel) I was slightly nervous but excited as I accepted an invitation to stay at one of London’s trendiest digs, Clink78.
When I used to think about hostels, scenes of filthy dorms, rickety bunkbeds and bedsheets that have seen better days sprang to mind. However, even though I had never actually stayed in a hostel, I knew how stereotypical and horrendously shortsighted I was being, especially considering frequent traveller friends of mine always rave about them.
After having my very first experience, I couldn’t have found a hostel that debunks all these terrible myths and preconceptions than Clink78. Here’s how I got on.
First things first, a little background…
Clink78 isn’t just any hostel, the building it inhabits has an awesome history and was one of the things that drew me to stay there in the first place, as I was curious to take a peek inside. The Victorian building has been number 78 (get it?) King’s Cross Road for over 200 years and used to be a courthouse and prison. You can even stay in one of the old prison cells to get a sense of what it’s really like to be banged up in the big house….but more on that later.
Not only was it a courthouse and prison but it was also home to author Charles Dickens whilst he was writing Oliver Twist and how many hostels could boast that??
When I first stepped into Clink78, I was immediately struct by how warm and welcoming the atmosphere was. The bright colours, funky decor and the inspirational quotes painted on the walls really breathe life into the building and give the hostel a personality all its own.
Although we had arrived too early to check in we were able to drop our bags off in the onsite lockers, which was a big relief as I was concerned I may have to trail an overnight bag around London with me for the day! The receptionist was very helpful and offered tips on where best to go in the city.
As I was staying overnight with my boyfriend I opted to try out the private room with an ensuite bathroom, which can sleep up to three people. The room was a little small but we had plenty of space on the upper bunk to store our bags which freed up some floor space (and being a self confessed, clumsy arse, ensured I didn’t trip over anything in the night). The bed was comfy, the pillows and covers were lovely and soft and we both had plenty of sleeping space on the lower double bunk.
Adjoined to our private room was an ensuite bathroom which was absolutely spotless and came with a fabulous shower and some adorable complimentary wash products. It’s small details like this that made Clink78 stand out to me, not only as a hostel but as accommodation overall. I’ve stayed at 4 star hotels where you are lucky to have a coin-sized bar of soap in the shower and it’s this detail that reminds you of the amount of thought and love that has gone into creating Clink78.
Prices for a private room with an ensuite like mine start from only £50 per night during the week and go up to £85 on a Friday and Saturday night. But if you don’t fancy a private room and ensuite, you can also opt for a private room without an ensuite from £40 per night or a single bed in a mixed or female-only dorm that only cost from £13 a night.
If you’re feeling extra brave, I would recommend staying in one of the English Heritage prison cells for the ultimate unique night in! Each cell sleeps up to two people in a single bunk bed and has original police custody features, heavy metal doors with hatches, barred windows, a bench and steel toilet (which unfortunately is no longer in use!).
You can find more prices and availability of specific rooms here.
Clink78 has some fantastic facilities that include, a self-catered kitchen, a late opening bar, a TV and film lounge, a travel shop and an internet and PC lounge.
I particularly loved the internet and PC lounge as it was where the courtroom used to be. A part from the revamped interior, Clink78 have kept all the original furnishings so it’s a really cool place to hang out and take advantage of the free wifi. Rock group, The Clash actually stood trial in this very room for shooting at prize pigeons and as little has changed in the room, I could only imagine them trying not to giggle as they were called to the stand for attempted pigeon murder!
But one of the best parts of staying at Clink78 was the free breakfast! It was an additional perk to our stay as this is rarely included in standard hotel prices these days and we very much enjoyed unlimited toast, cereal and tea to set us up for a busy day of sightseeing.
The only disadvantage I found was that it was a little noisy, however, noise is to be expected whilst staying in a busy hostel in central London on a Saturday night! It also didn’t help that our room was unfortunately next to the communal toilet on our floor so the bathroom door kept banging shut when people were going in and out of there during the night.
Overall, I enjoyed staying at Clink78 and would happily stay there again, especially if I were travelling solo or in a group as there is a great social scene there. They offer unbeatable value for a variety of shared and private rooms, are centrally located only a 10 minute walk away from King’s Cross Station and have a warm and welcoming atmosphere. If you’re not used to staying in hostels, make sure to bring some ear plugs…or skip the early night and go join in on the fun ;)
Have you ever stayed at Clink78? Or any unique hostels like this? Let me know in the comments below :)
Disclaimer: My stay was complimentary for the purposes of this review however as always my views are my own.