Accessible accommodation : Hostels and bunkhouses

Accessible Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

Independent hostels and bunkhouses have a variety of levels of access for the disabled.  Over 100 have made some form of adaptation, often there is a bedroom or toilet designed for use by a disabled person, with some hostels being accessible throughout the building.  We recommend that you talk directly with the accommodation staff to make sure that your needs can be properly met.

Traditionally all accommodation with some level of accessibility was included in the guide with a wheelchair symbol.  From summer 2021 onwards we are only using this symbol where we have full information on the accessibility, as well as pictures. For a hostel in our network to be classed as fully accessible they are required to have all of the following:

  • At least one wheelchair accessible bedroom with a hoist
  • At least one level access bathroom
  • A wheelchair accessible kitchen
  • A wheelchair accessible communal area

Accommodation with accessibility details are shown on this page with links to the information. All fully accessible hostels on this page will be marked in bold text, but others with different levels of accessibility can also be found here for those with less complex physical requirements.

We are adding new places everyday, so keep checking back for updates.

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Pods and Glamping

For those wanting a dose of luxury in their camping experience, glamping is the perfect solution. It’s a wonderful alternative for those who would like to be closer to nature, but not too close!

Whether you’d like the enchanting atmosphere of a tipi or the simple home comforts of a camping pod, there’s a range of options to suit every taste. Glamping is popular for many different types of holidays and get togethers, adding a very unique spin to any trip.

For example, the beautiful new camping pods at Callander Hostel in the magnificent Highlands are perfect for adding a luxurious, but homely feel to any camping holiday.

Each come kitted out with their own individual kitchens and bathroom areas, so you’ll never be at the mercy of the weather!

And they’re perfectly situated so you’ll always have the benefit of a stunning view!

Peak Pilgrimage: Accommodation in Hostels & Bunkhouses

The Peak Pilgrimage was set up  2015  to mark the 350th anniversary of the plague that afflicted the villagers of Eyam. The brainchild of a team from Eyam church, the route takes you through some of the best parts of the Peak District.  As you meander from church to church and pub to cafe you can reflect on the glory of nature and creation while collecting stamps and sticky Bible verse from the churches you pass.

You are strongly advised to buy the route’s guidebook which can be purchased from the Peak Pilgrimage website.

Peak Pilgrimage View

The route is 34 miles long and is designed to be walked by everyone.  In fact, walkers from 8 to 80 have enjoyed the walk.  It takes between 2 and 7 days to complete.  There is a great choice of independent hostels to stay in on your pilgrimage.  Nowhere is the walking more inspiring and restorative than in this section of the Peak District National Park.

Walkers on the Peak Pilgrimage

The Peak Pilgrimage route is almost entirely on footpaths through beautiful but easy walking countryside, popping into occasional villages, visiting churches and passing lots of enticing pubs and cafes.

There are some waymarks along the Peak Pilgrimage route to guide you. These require permissions from landowners so it will take some time to do the whole route and there may be permanent gaps. Please look out for waymarks to help you but don’t rely on them! Read the Guidebook and look at maps in it as your primary navigation aid.

The opening of the Peak Pilgrimage in 2015 arose national interest.  It featured on BBC’s Countryfile on 12 July 2015,  Then on 24th March 2016 Clare Balding walked the last 7 miles from Curbar Gap to Eyam as part of her Radio 4 program, Ramblings.

You can take the route in either direction.  Both Eyam and Ilam are worthy of a day’s visit and both have a choice of independent hostels near by to stay in.

One of the plague plaques at Eyam

Eyam is famous for the sacrifice of it’s people in 1665. Led by their rector they refused to flea in the face of the plague which was brought to the village from London in some cloth delivered to the village tailor.  You can learn about all about the plague at Eyam Museum and visit Eyam Hall with its courtyard cafe.

Dovedale, Ilam at the end of the Peak Pilgrimage

Ilam is another idyllic tiny Peak District village, stepped in history and surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Derbyshire Dales.  There’s the National Trust owned Ilam Hall and the picturesque Swiss style cottages.  Ilam is an easy level walk to Dovedale the most famous of all the Derbyshire Dales and the iconic Stepping Stones over the River Dove.

 

The Tarka Trail: Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

 

tark trail map

The Tarka Trail is a 180 mile figure of eight route in North Devon. The central crossing point is at the historic river-port town of Barnstaple.  Based on the route travelled by Tarka the Otter in the novel by Henry Williamson, it takes you across unspoiled countryside, dramatic sea cliffs and beautiful beaches.

 

The first section of the Tarka Trail, the disused railway line between Barnstaple and Bideford was established in 1987. Later sections of the Two Moors Way and the South West Coast path were added and the complete figure of eight was officially opened in 1992 by Prince Charles.

Tarka Trail

Suitable for walkers, cyclists, families and buggies, the southern loop incorporates a magnificent 30 mile long off-road cycle path.  The longest, continuous off-road cycle path in the UK.

With a selection of independent hostels and bunkhouses along the trail, you will have a choice of great value accommodation.  As well as being flexible, many offering single night stays, independent hostels are geared up for outdoor people.  So muddy boots, wet coats and bikes are all catered for.

 

Much more detailed information on the Tarka Trail can be found on it’s official website.  There is also very informative guide book on the off road cycle path on the southern route.  More details can be found here.

 

Open now

Here are the latest updates on rules for groups and shared accommodation

Wales

You can book a hostel or bunkhouse for sole use of a group consisting of any number of people from an extended household. OR.  For six adults from any household and their children (plus one adult carer if required).

These same groups can hire a private room in a hostel.   Showers can be en-suite or with a dedicated shower.  Toilets can be shared as long as they are cleaned regularly.  Shared facilities (kitchens, dining rooms, lounges) can be open with  physically distancing in place.

At the moment (in Alert Level 1 ) an extended household in Wales is three Welsh households and their support bubbles which have permanently joined.  Any three households from England or Scotland can combine to form an extended household while in Wales without breaking Welsh law.

Once Wales reaches Alert Level 0 (predicted as possibly 7th August) there will be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet indoors in Wales including in holiday accommodation.

All businesses are required to carry out a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to manage the risk of coronavirus at their premises.  Face coverings will remain a legal requirement in indoors public places in Wales.

England

There is no restriction on the number of people permitted to stay in hostel and bunkhouse accommodation in England or the groups they can visit in.

Hostels and bunkhouses will be implementing mitigation measures to ensure guests safely.

Scotland

The Scottish Government have published a road map for re-opening .

All areas are now in level 0.  From the possible date of 9th of August Scotland may go  “Beyond Level 0” where  there will be no household / number caps and physical distancing requirements will also be removed.

Bedrooms (with allocated shower) can now be shared by people from different households (with some social distancing measure in place).

Sole use bookings of a whole hostel or bunkhouse

Separate households do not have to physically distance from each other within accommodation when it is booked for the exclusive use of the group.  Self contained accommodation can be let to 8 adults (and their children) from 4 households.

For hostels letting by the room, where an unlimited number of households can stay in the accommodation. 

Shared facilities (kitchens, dining rooms, lounges) are treated as indoor public spaces where people from separate households can socialise, provided that they physically distance.  10 adults (and their children) from 4 households can gather indoors at a staffed hostel.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path: Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path (also know as the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path) is quite a challenging route.  It takes on average 10-15 days to walk from end to end.  The ascents and descents amount to 35,000ft,  which is roughly equivalent to climbing Everest.  So a certain amount of pre-walk training is recommended.  The route is very well way marked, but as always it is a good idea to take a guide book and map.  As well as offering a the wonderful variety of breathtaking scenery,  the area is rich in bird life and coastal flowers.  If you are lucky you may also spot seals and wild ponies.

Pembrokeshire Coast path Preseli

Opened in 1970, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path was the first national trail in Wales.  An exhilarating and inspirational walk it passes an incredible 58 beaches and 14 harbours!  The entire length of the route is  covered by the Pembrokeshire coastal bus service.  As a fair proportion of the route crosses areas that are scarcely populated, this regular bus service and is very popular with walkers ferrying them to and from their overnight lodgings.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is part of the 870 mile Wales Coast Path,  a natural extension for those intrepid souls among you!

For more information you might find the following websites of interest:

National Trails website

Pembrokeshire National park website

Wye Valley Walk

The Wye Valley Walk is a 136 mile route that takes you from the Welsh border town of  Chepstow to Hafren Forest  in Mid Wales (the nearest town is Llanidloes).   It’s a walk of great interest and contrasts which combines superb river and hill walking.  You will weave through the magnificent scenery of the Wye Valley AONB before crossing the rolling countryside of Herefordshire and heading up into the hills of Mid Wales into Hafren Forest. There are marker posts for the start/finish at Chepstow Castle and Rhyd-y-benwch car park in Hafren Forest.

Wye Valley Walk

For most of the route you follow the banks of the river Wye, but at intervals some hill climbing is necessary.  However, these ascents are rewarded with some spectacular views.  As such it is not an extreme route and should be suitable for any reasonably fit walker.  This is not at all a boring route, you will pass through densely wooded gorges; riverside meadows; broadleaved woodland; cider orchards, parkland and farmland; hills, mountains and open moorland.

Along the route there are a number of independent hostels, offering a warm welcome, hot showers and a comfortable bed to weary walkers.  Some may help with luggage transfer, others may serve breakfast and evening meals and send you off with a packed lunch.  Many will have pubs near by serving food or local shops selling provisions.  All will have self-catering facilities for you to prepare your own food or to sit down and devour a take away.   Do read their details and /or talk to them to see what they offer.

As you plan your accommodation remember to leave a little extra time for the many stunning views and highlights along the route. The walk takes you past the historic border towns of Monmouth, Hereford and Hay-on-Wye, as well as the architectural highlights of Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, Goodrich Castle, Hereford Cathedral (home to the Mappa Mundi) and Gilfach Medieval longhouse.

At Hafren Forest the Wye Valley Walk meets to Severn Way, so you can easily extend your walking holiday if time and energy permit.

For more in formation on the walk try these links:

The official Wye Valley Walk website.

For details of a diversion near Monmouth click here

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 ideal 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!

Cape Wrath Trail: Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

 

The Cape Wrath Trail runs through the Scottish Highlands and along the west coast of Scotland. It is approximately 200 miles in length and is considered to be one of the most challenging long distance walks in the UK. It starts in Fort William and finishes at Cape Wrath, the most north- western point of mainland Britain.

The route is unmarked and there is no official line. It is a superb route for very experienced long-distance backpackers. The Cape Wrath trail leads you across most of the north west coast of Scotland via Morar, Knoydart, Torridon and Assynt, winding through its most beautiful glens and mountains. It typically takes between two and three weeks to walk.

There is a selection of hostel/bunkhouse accommodation along the route.  Careful planning  is needed to combine these with, Bothies, B&B’s and maybe even wild camping .

More information can be found on the Cape Wrath Trails Guide’s website  and on their Facebook group

Snowdonia Way: Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

 

The Snowdonia Way is a long distant route that takes you the entire length of Snowdonia (Eryri). It stretches from Machynlleth in the South to Conwy in the North.  There are two alternative routes.  Snowdonia Way’s main route is 97 mile long and is mainly low level.  It will take you along valley tracks, hillside paths and through forested slopes.  There are some steep ascents and descents but the route avoids the peaks. This means it can be walked by those who want a journey through the landscape, with stunning views of the mountains from the valleys.  This is the only low level long distance route through Snowdonia and it allows you to see Snowdonia is all its magnificence.

If you want to climb some mountains on the way, a high level route has been devised. This route intersects with the standard Snowdonia Way route regularly. So you can switch between routes when you feel like it or when the weather dictates. If you opt to walk the whole high-level route from beginning to end, it is a 122 mile journey.  You will climb some of the area’s  most famous peaks including Snowdon, Cadair Idris, Cnicht and the Glyders.  But you will also go up some lesser known peaks, which you may have all to yourself.

All along the route, including the mountain alternatives, there are independent hostels and bunkhouses offering  friendly, low cost accommodation to walkers. More information about the route can be found at Snowdonia Way’s own website

 

St Cuthbert’s Way: Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

St Cuthbert’s Way is a 60m route that crosses the border between Scotland and England.  It starts in the Scottish border town Melrose and finishes on Holy Island off the Northumberland coast. The Way was inspired by the life of St Cuthbert, who began his ministry at Melrose in 650 AD, eventually becoming the Bishop of Lindisfarne.  His final resting place and the original pilgrimage shrine is on Holy Island.

Scenery on St Cuthbert's way

 

St Cuthbert’s Way is not over challenging and takes between 4 and 6 days.  With an ever changing variety of scenery and spectacular views, you won’t be bored.  You will pass Roman hill forts, signal stations and roads, walk along the banks of the beautiful River Tweed and enjoy the fantastic scenery from the Eildon Hills. The Way culminates with a memorable walk along the causeway to Holy Island, which is only passable at low tide.  For a truly unique finale many walkers remove their boots and walk barefoot through the shallows in the footsteps of St Cuthbert along the Pilgrims Way.  Be sure to check tide times when you plan your walk.

Upland walking on St Cuthberts Way

The route provides a useful link over the Cheviot Hills between the Southern Upland Way (at Melrose) and the Pennine Way National Trail (at Kirk Yetholm), with  St Oswald’s Way  and the Northumberland Coast Path.

Comfort at Wooler hostel for walkers on St Cuthbert's Way

 

You will find independent hostels and bunkhouses along the route.  In the spirit of a true pilgrimage these offer companionship and comfort to weary walkers at a very reasonable prices.

For more information on the route go to the St Cuthbert’s Way official website.  As it starts in Scotland the route is also featured on Scotland’s Great Trails website.

Don’t forget to check the tide times for your arrival at Holy Islands.

Small Hostels: Small hostels, bunkhouses and bothies in Scotland, England and Wales

Small Hostels are perfect for those wanting to travel as a small group or family wanting somewhere affordable to stay.  Whilst some of them are group only most offer accommodation to individuals prepared to share facilities with others.  All of the small hostels sleep less than 10 with most sleeping 8, 6 or even as few as 4 people in total.  There are small hostels in the Independent Hostel Guide across the country from Exmoor to the Shetlands and in England, Scotland and Wales.

But what makes a small hostel different from a holiday cottage? Well most are available to individuals including; River Cabin, Dacres Stable Camping BarnShepherds Crook BunkhouseHamilton Backpackers and Bunkorama so whilst there may not be many of you, you can still have the full hostel experience of meeting new people in communal areas.

All our small hostels have well equipped kitchens, comfortable bunk beds, hot showers and some have wood burning stoves.   Maentwrog Bunkhouse & The Wild Wool Barn are newly renovated farm buildings sleeping 4 and 6 respectively in bunk rooms, Castle Creavie Hay Barn Hostel, like Maentwrog and Middle Ninfa Bunkhouse is located on a working farm.

Our small hostels may not sleep many but they are far from small when it comes to space both inside an out – with many having outside BBQ or firepit areas. As often quirky, always stunning, locations to stay where not so many people have trod the path before you they are second to none.

Small hostels are great for having the full hostel experience on a smaller scale!

The Pennine Bridleway: Hostels and Bunkhouses

 

The Pennine Bridleway is a 205 mile (330 Km) long National Trail running through the Pennines.  It stretches from Derbyshire to Cumbria. This relatively new route was officially opened in 2012 by Martin Clunes.  Specifically designed for mountain bikers and horse riders. It is of course also perfect for walkers.

Earby Hostel mountain bikers
Happy cyclists after a night at Earby Hostel

The Pennine Bridleway follows a variety of surfaces including minor roads, aggregate tracks, grassed stone tracks, stone setts and worn flags. While some of these have been newly created specifically for the Pennine Bridleway others are drovers’ roads or packhorse trails that have been in use for centuries.

Pennine bridleway

The route takes you through a wonderful variety of landscapes from open moorland to steep-sided wooded river valleys.  It passes thorough both the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.  You will pass a number of reservoirs which bring another dimension to the route. These were originally constructed to service the canals and the needs of the developing industrial cities of the north. More interest is provided by the evidence of the industrial heritage of the South Pennines.  You will see derelict mills, dismantled railways, soot blackened gritstone walls and tall ivy-covered chimneys.  It’s a route of contrast. It’s an adventure and a challenge and brings a great sense of achievement to those that complete it.  For more details see the Pennine Bridleway’s own website.

All along the route there are a selection of independent hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns offering low cost overnight accommodation.  Many have secure bike storage and drying rooms provide or hire out bed linen.  Some provide breakfast and evening meals, others will point you in the direction of local shops and pubs.  Read each hostel’s feature to be sure they are suitable for you.

Photos kindly supplied by the Pennine National Trails Partnership and Earby Hostel

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.

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 is great for groups holidaying by the sea.

Brancaster Activity Centre, Bunkhouse by the sea
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.