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Backpack & Budget

A Proper Bed in London Town

February 11, 1996|LUCY IZON

Travelers wanting budget lodging in London have a variety of international hostels to choose from. Beds are expensive by hostel standards, but economical enough to make a visit possible. Rates, however, will be rising March 1. Here's what you'll pay to visit next spring and summer.

* The Rotherhithe Youth Hostel, on the bank of the River Thames on Salter Road, is less than a mile from Tower Bridge. It's a modern building in the Docklands area of the city.

The hostel can accommodate up to 320 travelers in rooms shared by two to 10. All of the bedrooms have bathrooms and lockers. This spring, dormitory beds will start at $30.20 per night, with breakfast.

At this and all the other London hostels mentioned here, you'll also find a TV room, lounge, cafeteria, currency exchange office, laundry, cooking facilities, luggage lockers, and a transportation and entertainment booking service. The hostels are open 24 hours. The cafeteria at Rotherhithe is licensed to serve drinks with meals.

You can contact them by telephone at 011-44-171-232-2114.

* Hamstead Heath Youth Hostel, tel. 011-44-181-458-9054 , is in a quiet residential area at 4 Wellgarth Road in Golders Green. It offers beds for up to 200 travelers from $22 per night. The rooms are shared by two to 10 travelers. The hostel is in a former college for nurses. It's known for its well-kept garden and summer barbecues.

* The Holland House Youth Hostel, tel. 011-44-171-937-0748, is in a Jacobean mansion built in 1607. You'll find it in the middle of Holland Park in the Kensington area. It offers accommodations for up to 201 travelers in rooms that have from one to 20 beds. Dormitory beds cost $27. It's within 15 minutes of the Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Hyde Park and the London Planetarium.

* The City of London Youth Hostel, tel. 011-44-171-236-4965, at 6 Carter Lane, is located in a Victorian building that was once a school for the choir boys of neighboring St. Paul's Cathedral. There are beds for 191 travelers. Rates start at $30.20, breakfast included.

This hostel features a rooftop terrace that's used in the summer for barbecues. The cafeteria is licensed to serve drinks with meals. The hostel is an area that is quiet at night, and is within a two-minute walk of St. Paul's and 10 minutes from Covent Garden, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Westminster and the Museum of London. The closest Underground stations are St. Paul's and Blackfriars.

* Earl's Court Youth Hostel is in a Victorian townhouse at 38 Bolton Gardens, tel. 011-44-171-373-7083. It's easy to reach from Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The closest Underground station is Earl's Court. This hostel can accommodate up to 154 travelers in rooms with four to 16 beds. Dormitory beds cost $27, breakfast included.

The above rates are set for members of affiliated national hosteling associations. Nonmembers are charged a guest fee of about $4. All hostel rates are slightly lower for guests under 18.

The central reservations department in London is at 011-44-171- 248-6547, or you can reserve in North America, for a small fee, through the IBN reservation network, at (800) 444-6111.

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