I remember a time at primary school when we went on a school trip to a prison. I guess the motive behind that was to freak us out so we never did anything bad. All I remember was thinking “wow, he’s got a TV in his room” and “haha that policeman’s name is PC SEXton”. So maybe that trip kind of backfired.
Perhaps that’s why I jumped at the chance to stay in a prison cell for the night at Clink78 near Kings Cross in London?
Clink78 is actually not a prison (I’m not really a criminal!). It is, in fact, a hostel. Clerkenwell Magistrates Court has been given a second life as funky backpacker accommodation. Former visitors to the courthosue include punk rockers The Clash and Charles Dickens, who once worked there as a scribe.
It’s a pretty large hostel at that and can sleep up to 500 people. There’s a big kitchen area, tonnes of dining space an onsite bar serving some pretty cheap drinks and TV and internet rooms which are in the old courtrooms. Watch the video (my first ever video!) below to get a better feel for the place.
videos and photos taken with the Lumia 930
Who should stay at Clink78?
Clink78 has everything you’d expect from a big hostel: a bar, a chill out area (in the form of the docks), and young travellers looking to make friends. If you’re a backpacker, or someone looking for a crash pad after a night partying in the capital, then Clink78 is absolutely for you.
There are friendly staff who will help you with where to go and what to do in London. They can also organise tours in the capital and further afield should you wish. If you’re visiting London from abroad and have forgotten essentials such as plug adaptors you can even buy these in the hostel. I can think of many a time I’ve been travelling and would’ve have found that most useful!
The Clash bar in the basement of Clink78 is the perfect space to make new friends, or chat with old ones, whilst watching the rugby or playing pool. If you play some music in the bar you can ever bag yourself a free night’s stay for entertaining other guests!
With large hostels there tends to be a party atmosphere. This can make it great for backpackers looking to party the night away, but it does mean it’s not great if you prefer an earlier night before a day packed full of sightseeing. What do I mean by ‘party atmosphere’? Well in hostels in normally manifests as being woken by loud sex or loud talking. Both of which happened during our stay.
That’s not to say there isn’t any escape from the party atmosphere – there is. If you fancy chilling out away from the lighting and music in Clash Bar, then head to the docks and read a book, catch up with Twitter or Facebook or watch movies in the TV dock. There is something for everyone.
The location makes Clink78 a great base if you’re exploring London. You’re a short walk from King’s Cross St. Pancras which can whisk you off to mainland Europe or all over London! You could be in Paris in a matter of hours or in the South of France late afternoon. There’s plenty of bars and restaurants to try out too.
Prices for dorm rooms which can sleep up to 16 people start at £13 a night, whilst a stay in a prison cell will costs you from £50. Ensuite, private rooms as well as girls-only dorms are also available.
The Prison Cell Rooms
An advantage of experiencing prison cells at Clink78 is that the doors unlock from the inside too. You don’t need to worry about being trapped! Simply swipe the keycard and push open the heavy door to enter your cell. As you’d expect the rooms are small: It’s a prison cell after all! One simple bunk bed, a couple of plus and a toilet turned into a light – the originals, no less!. Fortunately I stayed with my boyfriend, otherwise I’d have been feeling pretty scared!
Clink78 is guilty. Guilty of providing simple accommodation at a good price in the centre of London which is perfect for backpackers looking to meet new people and enjoy the capital.
*My stay at Clink78 was free for the purposes of review