DOG-FRIENDLY HOSTEL REVIEW: Safestay London Kensington Holland Park

Safestay Holland Park


WHAT’S THE SCOOP? This has to be one of the grandest hostels in the world, and it’s not just humans who can enjoy its central London location – dogs are welcome, too.

Formerly known as Cope Castle, this impressive Grade I listed property was once home to royalty but was practically razed to ground during the Blitz. Fortunately, however, its East Wing survived and that is where you can stay today.

Being a hostel, there are of course dorms but you certainly won’t be slumming it here. Most rooms – either in the main building or a 1950s extension – have their own bathroom and the dog-friendly accommodation is private.

Kensington High Street is a short walk away and attractions such as The Royal Albert Hall, Natural History Museum and the V&A are close by.

ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? They certainly are, except for in the bar area. There is plenty of outdoor seating though and let’s face it, you’ll probably spend most of your time out exploring the city.

SHP - 3 person private roomAND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? The private rooms are simple but come with all the mod-cons you’ll need, such as free Wifi, a 40-inch flatscreen TV and tea and coffee making facilities. There’s an en-suite bathroom and you’ll even get a chocolate on your pillow when you check in.

Our dog-friendly double was located by the night entrance so there were a fair amount of comings and goings after dark but it didn’t seem to bother Ernie too much – and it was easy to pop out for his late night pee.

HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? The hostel’s ground floor bar serves pizza, sandwiches, snacks and a range of hot and cold drinks, but no alcohol. It also offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast for just £4 – amazing value for London.

There are a whole host of bars and eateries on your doorstep, though. Maggie Jones’s – one of the late Princess Margaret’s favourite restaurants – welcomes four-legged friends and The Builder’s Arms pub has dog treats aplenty.

SHP - breakfast room with green chairsANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? No, but you won’t have to stray far to find some.

WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? The hostel is set in the heart of one of London’s most prestigious green spaces – Holland Park. From the moment you walk out the door, you will encounter some of the city’s poshest pooches chasing squirrels, jogging with their owners and playing ball. It’s a real doggy heaven.

You don’t have to go far to enjoy a bit of property porn, either – we loved walking past all the stunning townhouses in Kensington and dreaming of being millionaires.

For more ideas and inspiration for dog-friendly activities in West London, take a look at my Ruff Guide.

Holland ParkWHAT ERNIE LOVED: Chasing squirrels in the park, travelling on the Tube

WHAT I LOVED: The beautiful hostel building, being so close to central London

GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: A night in a private room sleeping two to four people at Safestay London Kensington Holland Park starts from £75. For more information, visit


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