About Sam Dalley

Director and Founder

Sam started the Independent Hostel Guide as a hobby in 1993. She is delighted to see how the network has grown and proud it provides a vital booking platform for hostels in the UK.
Walking in the Lincolnshire Wolds history

I first heard of the Lincolnshire Wolds as a member of the YHA, hearing talk of the iconic Woodys Top Youth Hostel. It took another 20 year to get around to visiting this quiet and beautiful area, by which time Woodys Top hostel had closed. However I soon found, hidden amidst the beautiful countryside, other remnants from the historic era of rambling that founded the YHA.

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Woodys Top, Wayfarers, and the history of rambling in the Lincolnshire Wolds

South Lincolnshire Walking Festival

Following the successful Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival this spring,  it’s now time to get your boots on for the return of the popular South Lincolnshire Walking Festival in October.

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Independent Hostels Stand at the Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival

Breakfast at Corran House

Stopping off overnight at Corran House Hostel, on my way to the Isles, it struck me what a simple solution they provide for breakfast, (read on to find out more).  Part of a grand Victorian terrace on Oban’s waterfront, Corran House provides great value accommodation in private and shared rooms.

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breakfast kitchen at corran house hostel

Two Family Holiday – at Tarset Tor Bothies

On a recent visit to Tarset Tor Bunkhouse and Bothies in Northumberland, I realised what a hidden asset a bothy at Tarset Tor is for two families who like to holiday together.  Anyone who has ever had kids will know that the best times are had when the children have play mates and the adults can relax.

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tarset tor bothy ideal for family holidays

Whatever happened to YHA Ridgeway?

Although much used by schools, I am glad to say that the hostel is still available to individuals walking the Ridgeway or anyone who fancies a night or two in rural Oxfordshire. There are private rooms, a self-catering kitchen with stunning views and an amazing place to eat and chat under the timbers of the old barn.

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Courthill Centre on the Ridgeway Eco School accommodation

Holiday near Tenby

The Stackpole Centre is a National Trust group accommodation center and cottage in a unique landscape on the stunning south Pembrokeshire coast. We spent a family holiday here at the beginning of the summer holidays and found so many brilliant things to do.

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Host a Christmas House Party

Would you like to share the load of hosting Christmas for your family and friends? Here is our guide to hosting a Christmas House Party showing how to enjoy Christmas in a spectacular winter setting, with room for your loved ones to come along.

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christmas house party

Tremadog, Porthmadog and the Traeth Mawr Estuary

Tremadog, Porthmadog and the Traeth Mawr Estuary are inextricably bound up with the 18th Century developments of James Maddock, Lawrence of Arabia and a legendary Welsh prince. Find out more about the legends and history of Wales.

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tremadog nr porthmadog

Skiddaw House – Music on the Mountain

I had seen maps of Skiddaw Mountain showing the lonely Skiddaw House 1500m up on the mountainside miles from any road. I have admired photos of this old keepers house it its isolation but I was still unprepared for my first sighting of it.

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Skiddaw House Eco Hostel

Dolgoch Hostel family holiday

Dolgoch has been owned and run by the Elenydd Hostels Trust since 2007 and in that time many improvements have been made; the gas lighting has been replaced by LED lighting powered by solar panels,  the new hot showers are similarly powered by solar panels. The roof was replaced and the track to the hostel from the road  was resurfaced. Self contained less able accommodation has been installed. Here is the story of Katy Cliffe’s family holiday at Dolgoch in May 2017.

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Family Meal at Dolgoch Hostel

The Wicked Ways of the OTA’s

If I could only say one thing in this blog, I would say beware of booking.com.  Be aware that the minute you list a single bed with them, direct bookings from returning guests and word of mouth referrals will start to come to via booking.com.  You lose 15% and booking.com gets the upper hand.   

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Why not to book on booking.com

Ty’n Cornel Hostel – A YHA retrospective

Spread the word, tell everyone you know, the story of these valiant little hostels, still battling on, to provide peace and space for those who need it. Run by volunteers and compelled to leave the YHA, read the history of these two farmhouse hostels in the Elenyedd Wilderness. Then come to visit, bring your friends and your family’s and come to the wild Welsh wilderness.

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Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival

The Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival runs from 19th May until 3rd June 2018 and offers 100 walks over 16 days in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Wolds are one of the driest areas in the UK, with a golden rolling landscape of easy gradients and wide skies with stunning views.  So if you enjoy walking the Lincolnshire Walking Festival is an  ideal way to explore and discover what Lincolnshire has to offer.

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Lincolnshire Wolds walking festival spring fields

Yorkshire Dales Caving Holiday

I really enjoyed my first time caving! We went to Long Churn Caves in the Yorkshire Dales. I had no idea of the existence of this whole underground world.

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Kirkby Stephen Walking Holiday

Surrounded by excellent hiking country, the small market town of Kirkby Stephen in the Upper Eden Valley made the perfect base for a five-night hill-walking break.

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kirkby stephen clog walkers

Badrallach Bothy on Little Loch Broom

The Gentian Mountaineering Club’s 2016 spring meet stayed at Badrallaoch Bothy on Little Loch Broom near Dundonnell. Read on to find out what they did with the idyllic views and steadily improving weather forecast.

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Badrallach Mountains

Eroica Britannia

Set on Bakewell Show Ground in the heart of the Peak District, the Eroica Britannia festival has rightly gained a reputation of being the most handsome bike show in the UK.

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The Education Show and Hatters Hostel

Mid- March was a very busy time for us all at IHUK. We had a trip to Birmingham to attend the Education Show at the NEC for a couple of days, whilst there we also had a lovely stay at Hatters Hostel…

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Independent Hostels stand at the Education Show