Re-opening for Summer 2020

Holidays in the New Normal

For those who have cancelled overseas holidays  this is a great time to discover all that the UK has to offer.  If you want to get away for some fresh air  a holiday in a bunkhouse or hostel in the UK could be a way of letting of steam.

Many proprieties are adapting to allow family units, bubbles and groups of up to two households to hire the property for sole use.   Use the kitchen to do your own catering.  Spend your days walking in the countryside or by the coast, enjoying the open air.

All the accommodation on this page has undertaken to deep clean between groups of guests or to allow a significant number of days between bookings.  Some information is given above and you can follow up the details with each property.

Helping in the time of Corona Virus

Furloughed staff at the head office of the Independent Hostel network have been working with volunteers in their village to produce scrubs for local care homes and hospices

Bed linen donated by the people of Matlock Bath has been repurposed as cheery scrub tops and scrub bags for local care workers.  Organised by the head office of the Independent Hostels network from designs adapted by a talented neighbour.  These cheery and stylish scrub tops are sewn by volunteers in the village including staff on furlough from Independent Hostels UK.   The scrub tops and scrub bags are now in use at a local hospice and care home.

New Hostels

From rustic country hostels to chic city-centre boutiques, here are some of the best newly opened hostels around the UK.  Some are set to start welcoming guests this year, so check the opening dates before you get too excited.

Travelling on a budget or exploring the wilder areas of the UK’s National Parks, hostels and bunkhouses are popular ways of seeing the UK on a budget.

City, Backpacker & Boutique Hostels: accommodation for backpackers & independent travellers.

City Hostels, Backpackers Hostels, Boutique Hostels

City hostels,  Backpackers hostels  and Boutique hostels cater for independent travellers who want to explore the UK particularly by public transport. Mainly aimed at young independent travellers from overseas who are visiting the UK often as part of a Gap Year they are a great place to meet people and make new friends with many hostels offering social evenings such as pub crawls and quizzes. Young visitors find that these hostels provide friendly, convenient and safe places to base their explorations of the UK’s greatest cities and tourist attractions.  UK residents also find them fantastic bases for affordable city breaks or visits to iconic areas of the country.

City hostels,  Backpackers hostels  and Boutique hostels are situated in cities and notable tourist locations around England, Scotland and Wales.  London, Birmingham, Manchester, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Cardiff are all well represented as well as the the famous tourist areas of England and Wales such as the Lake District, Cornwall and Snowdonia.  In Scotland where the tradition of travelling from hostel to hostel as part of a tour has existed for longer there are Backpacker style hostels in the smaller cities of Pitlochry, Fort William and Oban and also in the rural but iconic locations in the Highlands and Islands  that have attracted visitors for generations.

Providing good value accommodation in bunk rooms, where you can book a bed, or private group or family rooms, City, Backpackers and Boutique hostels frequently include breakfast in their prices and all have good self-catering facilities to keep the cost of a UK city break to a minimum. In recent years the city hostels in particular have invested heavily in upgrading their accommodation so that many of the hostels in this list benefit from modern upgrades and funky decor which making them unique, exciting places to stay.

You might be surprised to know that a hostel is often the best located accommodation for taking a city break and with self catering available they are ideal for those on a budget.  Many hostels have prime city centre locations and private en-suite rooms are available for couples and groups as well as beds in shared rooms.   Hostels are social places and they have social areas like cafes, restaurants and bars where you are expected to hang out and meet your fellow guests.  Free wifi and a kitchen are pretty standard in most hostels.

Hostels and bunkhouses on the Coast : Accommodation by the Sea

Accommodation on the Coast

In the UK there are over 150 hostels and bunkhouses by the sea.  All around our beautiful coastline, from the wild seas of the Cornish coast to the white sands of the Hebrides you will find a whole variety of  bunkhouses and hostels to choose from.  Offering self catering accommodation  with friendly communal kitchens, dining and sitting areas, hostels and  bunkhouses provide the some of the most cost effective places to stay on the coast.

All the bunkhouses and hostels featured in the map above are within walking distance of the coast.  Perfect for quiet early morning walks along the beach before breakfast or for a leisurely stroll in the evening to see the sun set over the sea. What’s more for those with young children you can’t beat having a beach on the doorstep, without the hassle of loading everybody and everything into the car!   Coastal bunkhouses and hostels also often have easy access to the coastal paths and provide great bases or stop-overs if you are doing a walking holiday.


Hostels and bunkhouses by the sea provide great accommodation for inexpensive family seaside holidays
Hostels and bunkhouses by the sea provide great accommodation for inexpensive family seaside holidays

Each bunkhouse and hostel by the sea is unique.  They come in all shapes and sizes, from just 4 or 6 beds to  over 100. Some are in modern purpose built buildings, whereas  others have been converted from former schools, barns, fisherman’s cottages or country houses.  You will even find quirky hostels.  Stay in an old  windmill (run by the National Trust) on the Norfolk Coast to name but one of the many unusual hostels and bunkhouses you will find by the sea.

Some hostels and bunkhouses by the seas offer extra accommodation in yurts or  bell tents, while others allow camping in their grounds.  Why not take time to explore the map above?  Take your cursor around the coast of Britain and see for yourself all the wonderful places you can stay.

Remember hostel and bunkhouse accommodation can  be booked for as short a period as one night. So it is perfect for stop-overs to break your journey or for a touring holiday.  But many guests prefer to stay for longer to make the most of the idyllic locations so many of these hostels and bunkhouses are in.

Hostel and bunkhouse accommodation often includes small private rooms, which are perfect families or couples.  While large family gatherings and groups of friends often book the whole hostel or bunkhouse out on a ‘sole use’ basis.  So they can enjoy having the whole building and all its facilities to themselves.


Stunning Rhossilli Bay, on The Gower Peninsular, is withing walking distance of 3 seaside hostels/bunkhouses
Stunning Rhossilli Bay, on The Gower Peninsular, is withing walking distance of 3 seaside hostels/bunkhouses

The South Wales and Pembrokeshire coast features over 20 seaside hostels and bunkhouses.  For example the Gower Peninsula, home to Rhossili Bay, is within walking distance of  three bunkhouses by the sea while the Pembrokeshire / Ceredigion Coast boasts eight hostels/bunkhouses by the sea.

Hostels or bunkhouses by the sea, low cost accommodation of family holidays
Hostels or bunkhouses by the sea, low cost accommodation of family holidays

You are never far from the sea in Cornwall and Devon and there are 14 coastal hostels in the west country.  You can stay in the centre of the captivating town of St Ives, with its choice of beaches and many original and artisan shops. Or visit the Eden Project, dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by some, and stay at Edens Yard just down the road in St. Austell.   Famous for its surfing, the north Coast has some great hostels in traditional seaside holiday towns like Bude, Ilfracombe and Minehead.

If you are looking for a holiday by the sea with a difference why not  visit one of our many islands? You will find  wonderful hostels on Anglesey  and on Jersey and the Isle of Man and the Isles of Scilly.

There are several bunkhouses by the sea to choose from in Norfolk and Suffolk.  Deepdale Farm has a range of hostel, bunkhouse and glamping accommodation and the Brancaster Cente, run by National Trust, is great for groups holidaying by the sea.

Brancaster Activity Centre, Bunkhouse by the sea
Brancaster Activity Centre in Norfolk, Bunkhouse by the sea

There are independent Hostels and Bunkhouses on the Northumberland Coast, where you can combine bucket and spade days on the beach with visits to the many castles. For the Harry Potter fans among us Alnwick Castle is top of the list of places to visit when staying on this dramatic coastline.

Hostels and bunkhouses by the sea in Northumberland
Hostels and bunkhouses by the sea in Northumberland

If you fancy really getting away from it all, you can take a weekend or week long escape to a seaside bunkhouse or hostel on one of the enchanting Scottish Islands.  There are a surprising number of  hostels and bunkhouses on remote and accessible islands from  Mull and Arran,  the Hebrides to the Orkneys and Shetlands.

Colonsay backpackers lodge, a hostel by the sea

The Isle of Colonsay where you can stay at Colonsay Backpackers Lodge by the sea

Click on the location pins on the map above to  find out more about the accommodation and get in touch directly with them. To find out availability at several hostels and bunkhouses you can contact them using our Enquiry Service.

Please remember that our hostel and bunkhouse accommodation on the coast does get booked up quickly, especially in the school holidays.  So don’t be disappointed, start your search now and book your hostel or bunkhouse before it’s too late.


Host a Blogger

Readers like to hear about people’s holiday experiences and Google loves new text and photos.

To provide this extra content IHUK has a team of travel writers and photographers who blog for us as part of their holidays.   These articles are featured our homepage and on the accommodations feature,  promoted on our social media and indexed by google.

The blog is not a review, it is story about someone’s holiday and the things they did in the area. Google notices the names of local attractions, landmarks and activities in the blog and each blog is linked to the hostel or bunkhouse where the blogger stayed.

You can also ask one of your guests to write a blog about their holiday and send it to us.  All we need is around 600 words of text and some cheerful photos.

Become a Travel Writer

Get in touch using our contact form if you are interested in joining our team of travel writers.

Let us know the name or area of the accommodation you’re interested in and your preferred dates for the visit. Give us as much notice as possible as it can take a while to set up.

We will approach the hostel(s) concerned and ask if they are interested in your blog. If dates can be agreed we put you in touch with the hostel and wait with excitement for your bog to arrive by email.

Bloggers need to provide around 600 words of text and between 5 and 15 photos. These should be sent to us within two weeks of your visit.

Our experienced bloggers get more approvals then first time bloggers, but keep trying, as once you have your first blog online more hostels will agree to host you.

Dog Friendly Accommodation: Dogs in Bunkhouses and Hostels

Dog friendly accommodation in hostels and bunkhouses:

All our dog friendly accommodation is shown on the map above. There are over a hundred dog friendly hostels and bunkhouses in the Independent Hostels network, all welcoming dogs by arrangement.  Our dog friendly accommodation is scattered across the UK from Sussex to the Scottish Highlands, you will even find places to stay with your dog  on some of the Scottish Islands. These dog friendly hostels and bunkhouses  are often in ideal locations for holidays with your dog. There is a wide choice of hostels and bunkhouses in awe-inspiring locations in the National Parks of Britain. Many are dotted along the UK’s stunning coastlines, ideal for coastal walks and most are in rural locations. From your dog friendly accommodation you can explore seaside towns, wild moorlands, historic battlefields and ancient hills. You can walk through woodlands, along picturesque rivers, through hidden villages and across our green and pleasant land.

Bunkhouses and hostels provide great value self catering accommodation.  They are well suited to groups of friends or families and, because they provide accommodation for as short a period as one night, they are ideal for a stop-over to break a long journey. Buy why stay for just one night?  You, your friends and family and your dog will be welcome for as long as you like.

dog friendly deepdale backpackers
Deepdale Groups Hostel in North Norfolk has dog friendly accommodation.

Around a quarter of the accommodation in the Independent Hostels network, that’s over 100 hostels and bunkhouses allow dogs by arrangement. These are all displayed on the map above. On the individual hostel pages look out for the brown dog friendly symbol shown below. This same symbol is used in the printed Independent Hostel Guide. You can send an enquiry to a number of dog friendly hostels using our Send Enquiry service. Look for the ‘Dogs by arrangement’ tick box.

dog friendly symbol
Dog Friendly Symbol

Once you have established that the hostel or bunkhouse you wish to stay in welcomes dogs be sure to pre-arrange your visit with the hostel manager.  Some hostels and bunkhouses have a limited number of dog friendly rooms and the managers will need to check availability.  Other bunkhouses have a policy of only one dog staying at a time, to prevent doggy conflicts. Some of the hostels are on farms where livestock and farm dogs are around, so always keep your canine friends on a lead unless you have been informed otherwise.

A beautiful walk from Knoydart Dog Friendly Bunkhouse, Inverness-shire
A beautiful walk from Knoydart Dog Friendly Bunkhouse, Inverness-shire

Here are some examples of  Dog Friendly Accommodation from the Independent Hostel Guide

Here are some stories from just a few of the hostels and bunkhouses providing dog friendly accommodation in our network. DEEPDALE BACKPACKERS in North Norfolk has dog friendly rooms in the hostel as well as a dog friendly Tipi . Their website also has a guide to the area which tells you about dog friendly pubs, cafés and beaches as well as ideas for walks.

dog friendly accommodation at denton house
Denton House in Keswick welcomes dogs.

Pentre Bach Bunkhouse in Snowdonia is eight minutes’ walk from a local pub which welcomes dogs  in the bar. There is a sheepdog trainer next door and you can often see him training his collies. The accommodation is dog friendly and the 250 yard track to the barn has grassy areas all the way down, ideal for constitutional walks.

Marthrown of Mabie Bunkhouse say “We welcome well-behaved dogs with responsible owners (or vice versa!!)” which always raises a smile! If you think you can behave its well worth the trip to Dumfries!  At Marthrown of Mabie you,  your canine and human  friends can sleep totally surrounded by the Mabie Forest, without a whisper of the noise of modern life.

Gilfach Wen Barn welcomes dogs and is adjacent to the Brechfa Forest and not far from the Brecon Beacons.  The forest is designated as a dog friendly tourism destination by Carmarthenshire County Council because of the wide range of tracks and trails which walkers have the right to roam on through the forest.   What could be better for your lovely long dog walks?

Corris Hostel Dog Friendly
Corris Hostel in Snowdonia welcomes Dogs

New Ing Lodge is on the Coast to Coast path and most of their canine visitors have walked a long way  before reaching them (probably at least twice as far as their owners!).  That’s why there is a dog  bed available, so they too can have a comfortable rest for their tired paws. New Ing Lodge  also has large grounds at the back of the building for the dogs to stretch their legs as well as a walled garden in front of the house, where the owners can let their dogs run off lead.

As you can see there is really no reason at all why you should leave your dog at home or in kennels when holidaying in Independent Hostels. Independent hostels offer great value  self catering accommodation.  They are even better value when you don’t have the extra cost of kenneling on top of your other expenses.   With more than a quarter of the hostels in our network (that’s over 100) offering dog friendly accommodation there is certain to be the right holiday destination for you, your friends, your family and your dog.  So whatever you fancy doing, wherever you fancy going, you’ll find an independent hostel offering dog friendly accommodation.





St Oswald’s Way: Hostel and Bunkhouse Accommodation

St Oswald’s Way is a 97 mile long distance walking route. Opened in 2006 it stretches from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the north down to Heavenfield on Hadrian’s Wall in the south.  The route will take you through some of the finest scenery Northumberland has to offer.  St Oswald’s Way is a walk of variety and history with plenty to keep you interested. From Lindisfarne you follow the coastline as far south as Warkworh passing iconic castles, rugged coastline, spectacular beaches and islands on the way.

St Oswald's Way. Hostel & Bunkhouse Accommodation
Lindisfarne at the start of St Oswald’s Way

The route then takes you inland along Coquet valley to Rothbuy and on to the finish at Heavenfield. On this stretch of the walk you will pass hills and moorland, picturesque villages, forest and rolling farmland.  St Oswald’s Way links three historic sites associated with the early 7th century Northumbrian King and Saint whose name it takes. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne where he founded a monastery that became the ‘cradle of Christianity in England’, Bamburgh which was his royal capital and Heavenfield where he camped before his victory at the battle that made him King.

St Oswald's Way, Hostel and bunkhouse accommodation
Bamburgh, St Oswald’s royal capital

The route is well served with independent hostels and bunkhouses offering great value accommodation.  With walkers in mind, one night stop overs are easily booked and packed lunches can often be provided (with a little notice). You can either self cater in the communal kitchens or your hosts will recommend local cafés or pubs for your meals.

Seahouses Hostel on St Oswald's Way, Northumberland
Seahouses Hostel. Providing overnight accommodation for walkers on St Oswald’s Way.

Far less touristy than the honeypot destinations, Northumberland and St Oswald’s Way have so much to offer.  Stunning scenery, dark skies and a well signed new route which takes you from the iconic coastline through sheltered river valleys up to the atmospheric high moorland. All this without crowds of fellow walkers.

St Oswald's Way. Hostel and bunkhouse accommodation
The stunning deserted landscape crossed by St Oswald’s Way as it heads inland.

Much more vital information is available from St Oswald’s Way official guidebook , St Oswald’s Way official website and the Long Distance Walkers website.




Sandstone Way: Hostels and Bunkhouses

The Sandstone Way, opened in 2015, is a 120 mile mountain biking route running the length of Northumberland between Hexham in the south and Berwick upon Tweed in the north. The route takes riders across an ever-changing landscape, rich in history, geology and iconic scenery. In the north it runs along a sandstone ridge linking numerous sandstone crags and outcrops, hence the name, The Sandstone Way.

Sandstone Way. Hostel & Bunkhouse Accommodation

Both Hexham and Berwick upon Tweed have railway stations. Between these two towns, the route passes through numerous villages and small communities including Wooler, Rothbury and Bellingham. It has been designed with safe river, main road and railway crossings.

Sandstone Way, accommodation at Demesne Farm, Bellingham
Demesne Farm Bunkhouse on The Sandstone Way at Bellingham

The Sandstone Way was designed by Ted Liddle specifically for mountain bikers and as much of the route as possible is off-road. It will appeal to riders of all abilities and most will take 3 or 4 days to complete it. The ‘fit and the fast’ could possibly ride the route in 2 days but in all probability most would wish they had taken 3 days. The route is clearly way marked with a distinctive green logo roundel.

Sandstone Way, accommodation at Wooler Youth Hostel
Wooler Youth Hostel, also on  the route, where providing accommodation to cyclists is part of the culture.

On and near to the route are many independent hostels and bunkhouses offering great value accommodation. Those on or just off the route are perfect for your overnight stopovers. Whereas those nearer to the coast or to tourist towns such as Alnwick, of Hatty Potter fame, are great if some of the family are riding the route and the others want to visit local attractions or spend a day on the beach.

More information about this exciting route can be found on the Long Distance Walkers website and the Sandstone Way website.  Maps can be purchased from Northern Heritage Services


Luxury Bunkhouses & Luxury Camping Barns: across England, Scotland and Wales

Luxury Bunkhouses and Luxury Camping Barns

Of course all the hostels and bunkhouses in the Independent Hostel Guide are lovely places to stay but some do go the extra mile to add a bit of luxury to your group holiday.  These luxury bunkhouses and luxury camping barns offer great value accommodation with added comfort.

Luxury Bunkhouses still have shared bedrooms, mostly with bunkbeds but they all have high quality mattresses, and will provide bed linen and in some cases even towels.

Many of our luxury bunkhouses and luxury camping barns have been purpose built meaning the architect and owners have been able to design in everything a group needs.

Many Luxury camping barns have en suite facilities but even where washing facilities are shared these are usually modern bathrooms with good quality hot showers and a few extras to make your stay that little bit special.

It is the communal areas where most luxury bunkhouses and luxury camping barns put in the extra comfort.  They have well decorated, modern and well equipped kitchens, large dining areas and sumptuous  soft furnishings in the sitting room.

Allendale bunkhouse has a lovely cosy sitting/dining area whilst Nidderdale Bunkhouse has a huge sitting room with TV, games or just a space to lounge around and read a book in!

Most luxury bunkhouses and luxury camping barns have entertainment such as TV systems and wifi and some even have well stocked games rooms.

Some of these luxury bunk barns have hot tubs! Imagine bubbling away with a nice glass of wine looking at the view over the fells from Howgills Barn outdoor hot-tub after a fantastic day’s walking in the Yorkshire Dales or soothing the stress away in The Sail Loft Bunkhouse’s wood powered hot tub on the Moray coast?!

So even if you are looking for group accommodation with an extra touch of luxury we have something for you in the Independent Hostel Guide!

D of E Accommodation : Bunkhouses and Camping Barns

D of E’s rules have recently changed and they now allow participants doing the Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards to stay in camping barns or bunkhouses. Their website now states as one of ‘The 20 Conditions of Expeditions’ that ‘Accommodation must be by camping or other simple self-catering accommodation (e.g. camping barns or bunkhouses)’.  Independent Hostels have a network of camping barns and bunkhouses all over the UK that fit this new DofE condition perfectly. With prices starting at £11 per person per night they won’t break the bank.

Puttenham Camping Barn on the North Downs Way passed by many DofE walkers every summer
Puttenham Eco Camping Barn on the North Downs Way passed by many D of E walkers every summer

Situated in the typical areas for D of E expeditions, these independent camping barns and bunkhouse are often close to footpaths and quiet roads.  They have traditionally been used mainly  by walkers, cyclists and mountain bikers because of their unique locations.  Generally small and compact, your DofE group could book the either the whole place or a dormitory for their sole use.


Fisher Gill Camping Barn ideal for DofE expeditions in the Lake District
Fisher Gill Camping Barn in Thirlmere at the foot of the Helvellyn range of mountains in the Lake District. Another great place for D of E groups to stay.

Camping barns are generally more basic than bunkhouses.  Some are little more than a stone tent with sleeping platforms and a cooking area. The D of E participants would need to bring their own mats, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, food etc.  In fact pretty much everything except their tent.  Quite a few of the camping barns listed below belong to the National Trust and are on National Trust estates.  If you are wanting your DofE group to have an overnight experience as close to camping as possible,  then a stay in a camping barn (sometimes also called a bothy) would be the best option.  Many don’t have electricity or heating other than a fire or log burner.

Sleeping platforms at Carrshield Camping Barn in Northumberland, ideal for DofE groups
Sleeping platforms at Carrshield Camping Barn in Northumberland.

Bunkhouses come in all shapes and sizes and generally offer a better standard of accommodation than a camping barns.  There will be bunk beds in dormitories, a self catering kitchen with crockery and cooking equipment,  hot water and showers.  The bunkhouses listed below do not provide bedding, so your D of E group will still need to carry a sleeping bag.

Bunks at Hagg Farm in the Peak District ensure a dry night's sleep for DofE participants
Bunks at Hagg Farm Outdoor Centre in the Peak District ensure a dry night’s sleep

There are many more bunkhouses in the Independent Hostel Network that do provide bedding as a standard, these are not listed below but it may well  be worth looking at them too as they may be in just the right location for an overnight stay.   If you search by the location you are looking to stay in on any of Independent Hostel’s website pages all the possible accommodation in that area will come up.

DofE campers enjoying an evening at Pindale Farm in the Peak District
DofE campers enjoying an evening at Pindale Farm in the Peak District

You might also be interested in a group of hostels and bunkhouses that have campsites on the same site.  Good examples of this are Pindale Farm in the heart of  The Peak District or Garrigill Village Hall just off the Pennine Way (and many other footpaths) in Cumbria. These hostels with campsites are very popular with with D of E groups, traditionally the leaders have tended to stay in the hostel while the participants have camped.  With the rule change of course everyone can now stay within four stone walls.

Don’t let the British weather ruin your next D of E expedition.  Book into an independent camping barn or bunkhouse to guarantee a dry night’s sleep.  The participants will be in much better spirits to face the challenges of the next day.



Dales High Way: Hostel and Bunkhouse Accommodation

The Dales High Way is a challenging and inspirational 90 mile walk across the stunning hills of the Yorkshire Dales. It starts at Saltaire, a World Heritage model village in the City of Bradford and takes you to Appleby-in-Westmorland.  The Dales High Way runs roughly parallel to the iconic Settle to Carlisle railway, so walkers can use the railway to walk sections of the route and travel back to their hostel or bunkhouse accommodation. The railway also provides by far your best return route to Saltaire and is a great boost for non-walking companions and for rest days as it allows easy access to many interesting places.

Ribbelshead Viaduct on the Dales High Way
The iconic Ribblehead Viaduct on the Dales High Way

The Dales High Way route is one of variety and interest, it follows ancient trade routes, green lanes and pack horse tracks.  With 4,268 m (14,003 ft) of ascent it is not a route for the novice walker.  As the name implies, the Dales High Way keeps to the high ground, so is definitely a walk for the better weather months of the year.  Walking the Dales High Way you will leave the hustle and bustle of Bradford and cross wild and lonely moorland, you will walk alongside iconic limestone scars and descend to follow the meandering banks of the River Ribble.  You will climb to the summit of Ingleborough, one of the legendary Yorkshire Three Peaks and the highest point of the route at 724 m (2,375 ft) and skirt Whernside (another of the Yorkshire Three Peaks).

Ingelborough on the Dales High Way and close to Gauber Bunk Barn
Ingleborough the highest point of the Dales High Way and close to Gauber Bunk Barn

Experienced walkers, helped by the proximity of the Settle to Carlisle railway, can easily deviate from the official route and tag the third summit of the Three Peaks, Pen y Ghent to their unique version of the ‘Dales My Way’!

Broadrake Bunkbarn on the Dales High Way
Broadrake Bunkbarn, Chapel-le-Dale, offers luxury bunk house accommodation on the Dales High Way

Leaving the Three Peaks and the Ribblehead Viaduct behind you will head towards Sedburgh and from there to a mind-blowing 6 mile ridge walk across the Howgill Fells. Your final descent will lead you to the welcome fertile green meadows of the Eden Valley and the picturesque market town of Appleby.

Howgills Barn on the Dales High Way near Sedburgh. A bunkhouse with a hot tub. Perfect after a hard day’s walking!

The Dales High Way was conceived by husband and wife Tony and Chris Grogan in 2007, as a high-level alternative to the Dales Way which runs from Ilkley to Windermere largely along Wharfedale and other valleys.  They have published the definitive route guide  and run the route’s official website. The route is available on the Long Distance Walkers website and  other useful information can be found on the Walking Englishman’s website. 

The 90 mile Dales High Way route will take anything between 5 and 8 days and there is a wonderful choice of independent hostel and bunkhouse accommodation along it.  Whether you are a hardy solitary walker, a couple or family or a large walking group there will be hostels and or bunkhouses to suit.  For more details check out the each hostel listed below.


Snowdonia Slate Trail : Hostel and Bunkhouse Accommodation

The Snowdonia Slate Trail is an 83 mile circular walking route which leads you through the awe-inspiring landscape of Snowdonia National Park.  As the name implies it takes you through a number of Snowdonia’s slate villages and allows you to explore the rich industrial heritage of the area. The trail leads you through some of the less visited parts of Snowdonia and offers you a variety of experiences.  Passing though all the main mountains ranges,  you will also walk through forests and valleys, past rivers and lakes. En route you pass through  tiny slumbering hamlets as well as the bustling towns of Llanberis and Betws Coed. The Slate Trail is a walk of contradictions, with plenty to keep you interested.

Snowdonia Slate Trail with lots of Independent Hostels providing self catering accommodation
Industrial heritage on the Snowdonia Slate Trail

The Snowdonia Slate Trail is also a joy for narrow gauge railway enthusiasts, as it visits the Penrhyn Quarry Railway, Llanberis Lake Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway, the Welsh Highland Light Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway. What better way to break up your day’s walking with a ride on steam train?

The good news is that there is a great choice of Independent Hostels to stay in when you plan to walk the Slate Trail. See a full list of them below.

The official route starts at Porth Penrhyn near Bangor and ends at Bethesda and takes you through or near the villages of  Llanllechid, Bethesda, Dinorwig, Llanberis, Waunfawr, Nantlle, Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Croesor, Ffestiniog and Penmachno.  Great for stocking up on provisions and stopping for a well deserved rest, a cup of tea (or something stronger) and a large slice of cake!  Covering 83 miles with a total ascent of 4159m it should take between 5 and 13 days.  Its well worth visiting  LDWA and the Snowdonia Slate Trail website for a wealth of information. There is  also a detailed book and map of the route.

Accommodation for large groups : Bunkhouses and Hostels

Hostels and Bunkhouses are perfect accommodation for large groups.

All the independent hostels and bunkhouses on this page are ideally suited for large groups.  Sleeping 50 or more people they have all the facilities a large group needs.  Large, fully equipped self-catering kitchens, plenty of communal dining and recreational spaces, equipment storage, drying/laundry rooms, large outside areas, parking and so much more.

Many of these large hostels and bunkhouses offer catering options to suit your large group’s needs. Many also have a variety of organised outdoor activities on-site or very close by.

If you need conference facilities, a theatre, lecture rooms  or a space for a party you will find hostels or bunkhouses that can help.

Talk direct with the manager to discuss exactly what you large group needs.  These hostels and bunkhouses have years of experience accommodating large groups, the managers are sure to be able to help.  They will most probably think of things you hadn’t even thought about!

Each hostel and bunkhouse is unique.  Have a look at each individual hostel’s details and follow the links to their own website for much more in depth information.

a large group enjoying their hostel
A group of guests enjoying their stay at an independent hostel

Located all over the UK.  You’ll find accommodation for you large group wherever you want to stay.

There are large independent hostels and bunkhouses which can accommodate your big group all over the UK (see the map above).

From the Isle of Skye & Inverness to Cornwall & Jersey, from Anglesey & the Isle of Man to Canterbury  you will find places to accommodate large  groups of 50 or more.  You’ll find places on the coast, in the mountains, in national parks and in our major towns and cities.  Your options are endless.

If you want your large group to be able to hit the night life, take in the culture or visit tourist attractions then a large city centre hostel is going to fit the bill.  City centre hostels and  bunkhouses are also popular when many people in your large party need to be able to travel there easily by public transport.  Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, York, Birmingham, Bristol, Bath, Canterbury and of course London all have independent hostels or bunkhouses that can accommodate big groups.

Or perhaps you want your big party of people to go somewhere peaceful, where distractions are minimised. In which case  why not turn to the rugged beauty of the Highlands of Scotland, or the wilds of the Welsh mountains.  Don’t forget our wonderful and varied National Parks.  The Peak District, the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales & The North York Moors with their beautiful scenery and attractions all have large hostels and bunkhouses which can fit your big group. Then of course in Wales you have the option of hosting your large group in the breathtaking  splendour of Snowdonia  or the Brecon Beacons.

Finally there’s the wonderful British coastline.  Your large group may be happiest by the sea, watching the wildlife and walking along the shoreline. There are hostels and bunkhouses big enough for large groups on the idyllic coast of Devon and Cornwall.  You will find others on or close to the dramatic Welsh coast in Pembrokeshire,  Aberystwyth and on Anglesey.  Perhaps you would prefer to take your big party of family, colleagues or friends to the rugged & inspirational Scottish coast or the  forgotten hidden beaches and dramatic skies on the Northumberland coast.

If you are feeling more adventurous you could always organise for your large group to go to Jersey, the Isle of Man or the Isle of Skye.  It would make it all the more memorable for being just that little bit out of the ordinary.

Whatever part of our beautiful country suits your large group best, you are sure to find a large independent hostel or bunkhouse nearby that can accommodate 50 or more of your guests.

Accommodating your large group in a hostel or bunkhouse is so much cheaper than the alternative.

Hotels or party houses large enough to accommodate your large group will generally work our much more expensive than hostels or bunkhouses.  This is because the number of people sharing each bedroom in the hostel or bunkhouse will generally be higher.  The large self-catering kitchens mean than you can prepare all your own meals, thus keeping your costs down even further.

a large group in Canadian canoes
A group enjoying time in Canadian canoes

Hostels can help provide activities for your big group of guests.

Perhaps you want some organised outdoor activity for you large group. A guided walk among some spectacular scenery or along a coastal path?   Or maybe your group needs a bit more excitement; some team building or high adrenaline activities.  It is all possible.  From caving to climbing, shooting to quad biking, sailing and coasteering  to name but a few of the options open to you. Many of the hostels and bunkhouses listed on this page provide a wide range of outdoor activities either on-site or close by. The necessary equipment can be hired, qualified instructors provided and the health and safety requirements fulfilled.  Obviously always check all the details with the hostel or bunkhouse.

Alternatively you can organise everything yourself.

Many of the large groups that use independent hostels and bunkhouses organise their own entertainment.  The hostels and bunkhouses are quite happy with that.   Large groups of kindred spirits meet up for a couple of days  or longer to spend time together sharing their passion, be it bird watching, music, art, crafts, yoga, walking  etc. The possibilities are endless.

All different sorts of large groups stay in hostels and bunkhouses.

You would be surprised at the wide variety of large groups of people who join together to spend days together in independent hostels and bunkhouses. Here are just some examples of the large groups who regularly come.

Large family gatherings. Big groups of friends.  Celebrations. University/school reunions. Large stag or hen weekends. Corporate team building events. Conferences (with a difference). Schools. Clubs. Scouts/guides

Derwentwater Hostel ideal for large groups
Derwentwater Independent Hostel can accommodate large groups of up to 88 people

Hostel and Bunkhouse accommodation is wonderfully flexible: Perfect when you are booking for a large group.

The beauty of hostel and bunkhouse accommodation for large groups is their flexibility.  You can stay for as long or as short a period as you like, weekends or midweek.  You can self-cater, or have a catered package.  There is often a choice of room sizes / beds per room. You can opt for organised activities or organise your own.  You can book the whole place to yourself or share the facilities with others.  Please remember each hostel is unique, so do discuss your requirements with the manager.

To find out more use our Group Enquiry Service.

Using our Group Enquiry System  you can choose a  preferred area, group size, dates and facilities and outline your groups requirements.  Your enquiry will  be sent  to all hostels and bunkhouses who could accommodate your large group.  They will then contact you directly to discuss your requirements.  It is so much easier than you researching all the hostels yourself.  Why not give it a try and see for yourself how easy it is.

Yorkshire Three Peaks : Accommodation near Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough

The Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in Yorkshire have been made famous by the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, a Marathon in the Mountains.  Victoria Wilkinson, winner of the ladies race for the past 5  years  recommends that anyone training for the Challenge should include a weekend recce of the route  She recommends a stay in one of the bunkbarns with a group of friends as a great way to do this.

Of course you do not need to bring a group of friends for your trip, as many of the bunkhouses in the area provide accommodation for individuals, whether in a great value dorm or a more luxury private room.  Whichever you choose the self catering facilitates available in the bunkhouses will make your stay good value. Your bunkhouse or hostel will often also provide a place to leave your car, with many bunkhouses being right on the route.

The area around the three peaks is wild and off The Challenge route there are miles of empty paths to explore. With the wide choice of luxury and great value bunkhouses available, why not take the time to explore more of the area?  With hostels strategically placed along the route you can walk the Three Peak Challenge in a gentle two days and take in all the scenery has to offer.  Or even better leave the route entirely and explore this classic wilderness area without the crowds to distract you.

This Marathon in the Mountains is a blue-riband event of the fell running calendar. The races takes on three highest mountains in Yorkshire – Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough over 23.3miles and over 1600m of ascent, quite a daunting prospect!  There’s some great advice from the National Park Authority on how to keep this event sustainable here.   Details of the Three Peaks Trail can be found on the Long Distance Walkers website.

Accommodation Retreats : Take time out at a well-being hostel

Lots of hostels have ideal locations for organised retreats; quiet, remote and in stunning scenery.  A few very special places provide accommodation with an atmosphere where sole travellers can  take time out to focus among new people or simply enjoy being alone.   Self catering facilities and communal meals at these places provide opportunities to focus on new relationships.  Often these hostels will be close to religious sites or pilgrimage routes  and some are run on ethical grounds by religious organisations.

Achaban House on the pilgrims route to iona
Achaban House on the pilgrims route to Iona

At the end of the pilgrim route on Mull, just a short ferry ride away from the Isle of Iona,  Achaban House has comfortable soft carpeted rooms and  large airy social spaces imbibed  with a tranquil atmosphere.   It is set in a natural environment surrounded by wildlife.   Achaban House is a much loved place by guests looking for peace, simple companionship and an easy daily pilgrimage to the monastic isle.

Abbey walls on the isle of iona
Abbey walls on the Isle of Iona

Iona Hostel is on the island itself,  close to Iona Abbey,  started by St Columba in the 6th century, and now home to the Iona Community.  A contemporary take on pilgrimage is as ‘transformational journeying’ and Iona Hostel has offered warm and homely sanctuary to individual travellers and groups of pilgrims for many years.  Iona is described as a ‘thin place’ between the physical and spiritual and travellers come from around the world to experience its unique quality and astonishing beauty. Transformation needn’t be big and momentous but can be gentle and warm, like sitting on the beach below Iona Hostel and watching the sun sink quietly over over the Western Isles.

Old Red Lion Hostel in Castle Acre used for retreats
Castle Acre medieval walled town with ancient roots; ideal for retreats

The Old Red Lion in Norfolk enjoys the special atmosphere of Castle Acre village, once a medieval walled town, which lies within the outer bailey of an 11th century castle.  On the Peddars Way ancient trail  the Old Red Lion carries on the tradition of serving travellers who seek refreshment and repose. There are quiet areas for reading and meeting and the flint and timber-walled pub cellar and garden room are used for regular yoga classes and organised retreats.

knoydart remote and ideal for retreats
Knoydart Bunkhouse is on a remote peninsula on the west coast of Scotland “just to be there is good for the soul”

Knoydart Bunkhouse is on a remote peninsula on the west coast of Scotland  and is accessible only by boat or a long hike.   People who reach this wild location jutting out on the Atlantic coast say “just to be there is good for the soul”. Surrounded by sea and rugged, mountainous terrain and a National Scenic Area of mountains, glens and coast , Knoydart is a haven for wildlife. Bring walking boots and binoculars and you’re set for a retreat to remember !

retreats at the Penquoit Centre
Retreats at The Penquoit Centre

The Penquoit Centre in rural Pembrokeshire is close to the peaceful Cresswell River Estuary.  The unique blend of artistic conversion and ancient buildings in this backwater location makes the  Penquoit Centre ideal for group retreats of 10 to 25 people.  There is shared dining on large wooden tables and an event room with plenty of space for group activities.  The centre is surrounded by wildlife and there is easy access to the large courtyard from all the buildings.  From the mid-1980s the Penquoit Centre has been host to many retreats and creative courses.

Hebden Bridge is an old mill town reclaimed by artists, writers and green & New Age practitioners of alternative therapies.  Hebden Bridge Hostel reflects its host town and is often used by yoga and zen groups for retreats and workshops.

Monkton Wyld court for peace and retreats
Monkton Wyld court for peace and retreats

Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset has a history of well-being education and is run by an eco community who promote self sufficiency in an idyllic setting.

Ninebanks hostel in the North Pennines host retreats organised by Buddhists, artists and well-being coaches.   Organisers  find the friendly feel of the building, the social atmosphere of the living space, the peaceful rural location and the wonderful view all combine to engender a feeling of fulfillment.

Badrallach Bothy and the Earth Mind Fellowship
Badrallach Bothy and the EarthMind Fellowship

Badralloch Bothy is home to the EarthMind Fellowship, which runs nature-oriented workshops for health and wellness.  This social enterprise organises workshops for exploring nature, both inner and outer, incorporating herbal medicine and nutrition, health and wellness, stress-management, HeartMath, Wilderness Therapy and creative approaches such as dance, music, art and writing.

community and retreats at the workhouse
Community at the Llanfyllin Workhouse

Llanfyllin Workhouse, home to ‘the Bunkhouse at the Workhouse’ is owned and run by the local community.  It uses a holistic and sustainable approach  to provide valuable learning experiences for all ages  including green crafts, gardening, creative arts and performance skills.

corris hostel ideal for retreats
Corris Hostel ideal for retreats

Corris hostel is a renowned haven from the stresses of the outside world; with its homely atmosphere, friendly staff, inspirational library and cosy wood fires. The hostel has a holistic focus and an interest in the ‘healing arts’. The garden is terraced up the hillside with a range of ‘nature-scaped’ themes and places of meditation and solitude and beyond the boundary there is deciduous tree forest continuing up the mountain and accessible.  This retreat has a great ’spirit of place‘ and connection to nature.

Skiddaw House mind over mountains
Skiddaw House hosts Mind over Mountains

Skiddaw House, one of the UK’s remotest hostels, have hosted laid-back weekends of walking and talking with  like-minded adventurers.  Called ‘Mind Over Mountains’  these weekends promote the benefits of UK mountains for mental and physical health.  By climbing mountains, and sleeping on the side of one at Skiddaw House you can escape from modern life and make time for your mental and physical well-being.

Yealand Hostel and Airton Barn have peaceful locations and a Quaker connection.   Yealand is close to three very small villages with little through traffic and good transport links.

Whether you join an organised retreat or visit an awe inspiring place on your own, a retreat gives you the chance to take a break from your everyday.

Accommodation near to Pubs : Hostels and bunkhouses within walking distance of a pub

Accommodation near to pubs.

When you are choosing a hostel or bunkhouse there will naturally be many things that will influence your choice.  For many people choosing  hostels which are near to pubs is very important.

Indeed those hostels in the Independent Hostel network that are situated close to pubs prove very popular and booking is always advisable, especially in high season.

Fortunately in many areas hostels and country pubs go hand in hand and there are over 100 bunkhouses and hostels in the network which are within a short walk of a pub and these are shown on the map.  Enlarge it as you wish for more detail and click on the red icons to find out more about each hostel or bunkhouse, then follow the link to their own website.

accommodation near to pubs
Barrington Bunkhouse, in the North Penines, is very near to the pub and on the C2C cycle route and the Pennine Journey

Why are Hostels near to pubs so popular?

There are many reasons why people choose to stay in hostels or bunkhouses close to pubs.

All hostels and bunkhouses are self-catering with kitchen and dining facilities. For the most part guests enjoy the flexibility and economy self catering brings. However there are occasions when a quick walk to the pub nearby is just what is needed.

After a busy day out in the countryside, walking, cycling, climbing or whatever your passion you may not feel like cooking your own meal for once, so what could be easier than taking a very short walk to the nearby pub and treating yourself to a hearty home cooked meal.

Alternatively you may decide after cooking for yourself at your accommodation to pop over to the local pub for a pint or two of the local real ale.  There isn’t a better way to meet the locals, learn more about the area and get a feel for the community you are visiting than sitting and chatting to the regulars in the pub.

Often guests find that on their first evening they are tired after a long journey and rather than cooking for themselves they will start their holiday off with a visit to the pub nearby for some pub grub and a pint while they plan the next few days.

Others like to finish their stay on a high, with a hearty meal at the pub down the road.

Then there is always that awful situation when you discover, after an exhausting day out in the countryside, that you haven’t got enough food for the evening meal.  What an enormous relief to know that you are staying in a hostel near to a pub!!

Pub bunkhouse
The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool has a bunkhouse very near to it’s pub

Hostels or Bunkhouses close to pubs are vital for people on a walking holiday.

If you and your group are on a walking holiday, perhaps doing one of the long distance paths and are walking from hostel to hostel, then choosing accommodation that is near to a pub is very important.

How many people really want to have to walk miles to and from the pub in the evening for their supper after having walked many miles during the day? The alternative, if your hostel is not close to a pub, is having to carry your provisions for your evening meal as well as your breakfast with you as you walk, something not everyone is happy to do.  Alternatively, with no pub close to your accommodation you will be forced to go to the expense of taking a taxi  to the nearest pub and back again.  I am sure you will agree it is much more prudent to book hostels or bunkhouses situated close to pubs!A bunkhouse right next to the pub

The Royal Oak Bunkbarn in Derbyshire is very close to the pub.

Hostels near to pubs are great for groups of friends or families

Many groups of families and friends favour hostels and bunkhouses close to pubs as their proximity gives more choice as to what people do and where they go.  With larger groups, people don’t always want to do the same things all of the time, so the opportunity for some of the group to slip next door for a pint or two is welcomed.

Self catering for a large group saves lots of money, but again as a treat, a rest for the ‘cooks’ and for a celebration, a quick walk to the pub close by for a tasty meal, a couple of drinks and a stroll home is a real perk.

Hostels near to pubs or country hotels
The Kinlochewe Hotel provides meals for guests staying at their Bunkhouse

Camping Barns near to pubs are also very popular.

Camping barns are much more basic than hostels or bunkhouses.  Facilities will vary from camping barn to camping barn but generally guests are expected to bring their own cooking equipment, utensils and food.  So the chance to book a camping barn close to a pub is not to be turned down.  Once again having the choice to give self-catering a miss and pop down the road for a plateful of home cooked food, a roaring fire and some local beer is really valued by the camping barn guests.

Stay at a Hostel near to a pub and you can invite other friends to join you for the evening.

Often groups staying at a hostel or bunkhouse seize the chance to invite other more local friends to join them in the evening for a meal and a catch up.  This may not always be possible in the hostel itself.  But if the accommodation is close to a pub, the problem is solved and everyone can meet up in the pub and enjoy a jovial evening together.