I mentioned recently that I was going to do a few posts on my home city of London. It’s a pretty big backpacker destination with so many awesome things to do, but as I grew up there I naturally take it for granted a bit. Grass is greener and all that.
So last weekend I opted for a quick getaway into the city and stayed at Clink78 hostel in Kings Cross (and brought the boyfriend along too).
I love things that are a bit quirky and when I heard that Clink78 is a 200 year-old Victorian Courthouse turned into a backpacker hostel, well I was sold. Got to love a hostel with a bit of character.
And that’s exactly what Clink78 has.
The entire building has retained some of it’s historical features like parquet flooring and wooden panelling, but it has been brought into the 21st century with neon signs and graffiti art…
They have a whole bunch of room options – mixed dorms, female only dorms, private rooms, etc – but they also have former prison cells you can stay in. That’s right, kids. The cells that once contained prisoners going on trial, now sleep up to 2 people that voluntarily want to be there.
Well I had to try that out, didn’t I?
Welcome to life behind bars.
What struck me most about these prison cell rooms is how many original features are still prominent. They actually still have the grid windows, caged lights and metal industrial doors with the viewing panel and everything (blacked out of course!). Although modern touches have been incorporated with the pretty pastel colour scheme…
The novelty of the cells is pretty awesome. It’s not exactly something you see at every hostel you visit is it? But with that fun novelty also comes the fact that the rooms are small. Because… like… it’s a prison cell!
So it’s pretty basic with just a bunkbed and a small mirror on the wall. That’s it. There aren’t any cupboards for backpacks but they would easily fit in the space under the bed, so you’re covered there. And security isn’t exactly an issue. No-ones getting into a cell are they?
If anything it’s hard to get out. Being a prison cell there’s no handle on the inside of the door so you have to give it a bit of a slam to lock yourself in! (All part of the fun I think).
I would say that the prison cells were quite stuffy, what with there not being a window and all. And it was quite loud at night with the wooden flooring making everyone’s footsteps echo outside. But I would definitely recommend it just for a night to experience it, then move on to one of Clink78’s roomier dorm rooms. Or even their Bird’s Nest Dorms which are really pretty and spacious!
How about the rest of the hostel I hear you ask?
Rest assured it has just as much character as the cells, with the TV room and Internet room both situated in the actual docks. It’s pretty surreal…
The lobby is also a good mix of old and new. And the staff are super-friendly. It was possibly the easiest checking in and checking out procedure I’ve ever gone through at a hostel and everyone was so helpful.
Location-wise, the hostel is about a 5-10 minute walk from Kings Cross station, making all of London’s tourist attractions easily accessible. The road itself is pretty quiet, but still busy enough for it to feel safe when you’re walking home after a night out.
The Kitchen and Dining facilities are everything you need from a hostel and free breakfast is provided. Although it’s your standard hostel no-frills breakfast of cereal and toast. A free meal is a free meal though, am I right?
It’s open from 5pm to 2am so we headed down there around 8pm, but it was pretty dead to be honest. We came back after dinner and drinks in London around midnight and it had picked up! I think things just get started a bit later, like most of London really.
They also do a range of cocktails for £5 each. Although they’re really not the best. In the words of my boyfriend “Caiprinha? Caiprinha wish I hadn’t…”. So my advice is to stock up on cheap pre-drinks in Clash Bar and head out to the London nightlife if you want nice cocktails!
Oh wait, the most important part of a hostel review for any backpacker… WiFi. Yes it’s free WiFi! Yay! Although it’s not accessible from the prison cells so you’ll need to hang out in the common area. Still, free WiFi is a big deal.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Clink78 as a place to stay in London. All of the basics you need along with cool historical features and quirky decor. A great hostel, just don’t order a Caiprinha…
Prices start at £15 a night, you can find out more here.
Have you ever stayed in a prison cell hostel? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!
Please note this is a sponsored post but all views expressed are my own! I wouldn’t play you like that shorty.