The Church Street Hotel

Camberwell, London, United Kingdom Book from Book from £55 per night

Mexico meets south London: a funky, friendly bolthole with great rates
It’s not often you bump into Frida Kahlo in Camberwell. But there she is, gazing down from a wall in our glorious margarita-green room at The Church Street Hotel. Camberwell is in downtown south London - we feel like we're in Guadalajara. Actually, the intricate tiles in our bathroom are from there, and all about are other Mexican treasures, from beaded crosses to señorita dolls. Spanish brothers Jose and Mel have taken 3 old townhouses and merged them into a boho city casita, where walls are the colour of a tequila sunrise and the receptionist sits behind a church altar. A boring beige Kensington boutique this ain't.

But that's what we loved about Church Street - it’s quirky and fun, perfect for young (or young at heart) independent types who've been to London before and want to dig deeper than the main tourist sights. Camberwell may be gritty but it's not dangerous and it makes a good base. You can be in central London in 30 minutes, or stay local to explore Brockwell Park, art galleries and Brixton's markets, pubs and live music scene.

Highs

  • Great value - under £150/room is very rare in London, especially in zone 2
  • We loved the bright Mex-chic design, with stained glass artistry
  • We found the staff kind and helpful when we revisited in 2015
  • A wide range of room types, from single to triple
  • An easy walk from Denmark Hill station, with fast trains into Victoria and Blackfriars for the South Bank

Lows

  • Set in a busy urban neighbourhood that may seem overwhelming at first
  • No meals other than breakfast, but you're well located for dining out
  • Surprisingly quiet thanks to triple glazing but bring earplugs if low-key noise bothers you
  • There's been some mixed feedback about the cleanliness of communal areas in the hotel

Best time to go

London is an all-year city, but Church Street is busiest in autumn and early spring.

Our top tips

Foodies could lose themselves for hours at Borough Market (20-30 minutes' bus ride from the hotel; open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays). It's one of the largest food markets in London, with a labyrinth of stalls brimming with fish, meat, fruit and veg, cheese, bread, cakes, coffee and ciders from all over the UK. On Thursdays the market's demonstration chef is around to dish out tips and advice.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 27
  • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Spread over 3 floors, rooms are cosy but bright gems of colour, from cobalt blue to red pepper. Our Deluxe King was a vivid lime green, offset with a white French Provençal wardrobe and desk. Beds are solid wrought-iron, dressed in crisp white linens and a striped Mexican blanket.

Reclining on the bed, we looked up to a trio of lit alcoves cut into the wall, holding a cross, a doll and a bottle of vintage Havana rum. Along with retro Spanish film posters and Romanian stained glass, it’s these quirky displays that make the Church Street décor unique. Bathrooms are gleaming shells, with multi-coloured ceramic tiles shipped from Guadalajara. Even the sinks are tiled (ours was a sunny yellow and blue), and the floors are terracotta stone.

Generous extras are a welcome surprise. In every room, you'll find complimentary toiletries, and a small pot of hot sauce 'a la casa'. There are cool books to browse, and linens are top quality. There aren't, however, tea or coffee-making facilities in the rooms.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • CD player
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

An organic Continental breakfast includes homemade bread, free-range boiled eggs (delicious with the hotel's hot sauce), orange-blossom honey and Neale's Yard yoghurt. We'd recommend paying extra for the cooked options, too; our veggie breakfast was sublime, with halloumi, homemade baked beans, vast mushrooms and plantain.

Although there are no other meals served on site, there's plenty within walking distance; just ask at reception for the latest recommendations. For a relaxed lunch, Borough Market is a 20-30 minutes' bus ride from the hotel (depending on traffic) or about 50 minutes' walk if you want to explore on foot. After our dinner, we returned to the hotel for a nightcap in the kitsch honesty bar. The stained-glass artistry is stunning.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk up The Grove (past beautiful houses) to Denmark Hill train station, and jump on a fast train to Blackfriars on the South Bank. From here, wander along past street art, buskers The Oxo Tower, Gabriel's Wharf and the National Theatre, to the London Eye, then train it back from Waterloo (via Clapham Junction)
  • The Number 12 bus (opposite the hotel) goes to Oxford Street's shops, via Big Ben and Picadilly Circus; a great-value tour of the sights!
  • Back in Camberwell, The South London Gallery has progressive exhibitions (including Gilbert & George and other Turner Prize winners); the GX Gallery is a smart showplace for paintings
  • On sunny days, jump on a bus (10 mins) to leafy Brockwell Park and watch swimmers from the cafe in the Lido or walk and enjoy panoramic city views from the top of the hill
  • Head to Brixton for lively open-air markets (including a farmers' market on Sundays, and a rotating monthly vintage clothes, flea, craft and bakers), international eateries, a film at The Ritzy, famous Electric Avenue, or live music at the famous Academy
  • Drink cocktails and listen to live music in the hotel's basement 'Communion Bar'. There's a daily Blessed Hour from 5-8pm
  • The Horniman Museum is a 30-minute bus ride away in Forest Hill, which is brimming with natural history artefacts and has very pleasant gardens with stunning views across the city.
  • Head to Greenwich (approx. 30-minutes' taxi or two bus hops) for the Royal Observatory, soak up our maritime history at the Cutty Sark ship or head to another bustling, covered daytime food market.

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are welcome and we stayed with our baby daughter but bear in mind this is a city hotel on a busy street and there are no family facilities.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

There's a Triple Room or families can take the double and single rooms that share a bathroom (ask on enquiry). King rooms can fit a baby cot and some have a bath.

Baby listening:

Our monitor reception stretched down to the restaurant so we could 'dine out', but you're best to bring one that can sit on your table; ours was a plug in, so we had to have it behind the bar, with kind staff keeping an eye on it.

Kid Friendly:

Location

The hotel is on Camberwell's Church Street (A202), near Camberwell Green, in south London. The nearest train station is Denmark Hill (about 700m). The nearest Tube stations are Oval (about 1.5km / 20 minutes' walk, or a short bus ride) and Brixton (a little further, ditto).

By Air
The closest airport is London City (16km away), but most flights land at London Heathrow (30km away) or London Gatwick (25km away). For a list of airlines serving these airports, click the links below.

From the Airport
The hotel offers transfers from all London airports - ask on booking. You can also catch a taxi, but it's just as easy to go by public transport.

By Car
Driving in London can be stressful but if you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations. Drivers can park nearby; purchase a permit from reception.

Getting Around
The quickest way to travel around London is by train and Tube. There are also frequent buses from outside the hotel straight into the centre (around 30 minutes).

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • London Gatwick 25.0 km LGW
  • London Heathrow 30.0 km LHR

Other:

  • Beach 90.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

7/10
Room
6/10
Food
7/10
Service
8/10
Value
7/10
Overall

I love this hotel; I have stayed there twice and would do so again. Communal areas could do with being cleaner and we found there was less choice at the fantastic healthy breakfast. Also some bathrooms are shared – we had a twin room on the 3rd floor. However, the staff are so warm, the décor is delightful, the honesty bar is a marvel and the beds and linen so comfy. The neighbourhood is terrific. Last but far from least, the price and and value for money is unbeatable!

8/10,

i-escape stated 20 min walk to Borough market but was actually a 20 minute bus ride. Also no parking available – we had to park on nearby street. There were no tea/ coffee making facilities in the room. Nearby Theo’s is good for pizza.

5/10,

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for The Church Street Hotel

Check Availability