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.

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.

Accommodation for School Groups: Hostels and Bunkhouses

Accommodation for School Groups

Whether you are looking for somewhere to stay in one of our major cities or for accommodation with outdoor activities and instruction, Independent Hostels provide perfect accommodation for school groups.  The hostels and bunkhouses listed on this page welcome school groups of all shapes and sizes many specialising in providing accommodation for school trips.  So if you are looking for outdoor activities in Wales, or accommodation for school residentials in a UK city, looking on this page is a great choice.

You can contact suitable hostels using the contact forms on the hostel pages or by doing a group accommodation request.

children enjoying thier accommodation for school residentials

Accommodation for Schools in British Cities

For school trips to cities we have a number of hostels in most major cities, including London, which welcome school groups.  These are all centrally located within easy walking distance of museums, theatres, shops and many other attractions

Our hostels and bunkhouses are experienced in providing accommodation for school residentials and they can help you with such matters as health and safety, safeguarding and booking  appropriate outdoor activity instruction.

LOTC accreditation

Some of the accommodation has LOTC accreditation and are experts for providing  “Learning Outside the Classroom”.   An example of these are Ardenbeg Bunkhouse, near Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands,  Hagg Farm Outdoor Education Centre,  John Hunt Base,  Thornbridge Outdoors, all in or very near to The Peak District National Park. Brancaster Activity Centre, on the coast in Norfolk. Humphrey Head Group Hostel overlooking Morcambe Bay on the southern edge of the Lake District.

Many of the hostels and bunkhouses that provide accommodation for school groups have classrooms on site so you can consolidate field trip learning. Many also have all the technology required to run a lesson but please talk to your chosen hostel about this to ensure you know what is available.

Most of our hostel and bunkhouse accommodation has self catering kitchens so you can even bring your own cook or allow older children to cater for you if you wish.  Many also provide catered options including packed lunches, hearty breakfasts and evening meals.  Once again please check with the individuals hostels to be sure that they meet your requirements.

Accommodation for Schools in the National Parks.

If you are looking for outdoor activities for your school group in North Wales, The Peak District, The Lakes or the Highlands of Scotland then you will find a good choice  of  hostels providing activities. Independent hostels and bunkhouses are also often chosen for geography or geology  field trips  as they can be found in locations that offer your school group easy access to interesting geology, geography and cities to cover all of the curriculum.  We also have accommodation for school groups in less well know parts of the country such as North Lincolnshire and rural Herefordshire  as well as coastal locations and even one on Brownsea Island in Dorset!


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.





Dark Sky Areas: Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

Our wonderful small island is home to a surprising number of dark sky areas, where light pollution is kept under control and where, when conditions are right, visitors can feast their eyes on the wonders of a star filled night sky. Unsurprisingly these are sparsely populated areas, often rugged and remote. Fortunately they are well served with independent hostels, camping barns and bunkhouses offering great value self catering accommodation to individuals, families or groups of all sizes.

A Dark Sky Park at night

Perhaps the most well known of our Dark Sky Parks is Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, (a combination of Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park). This was awarded Dark Sky status by the International Dark Sky Association in December 2013. At 572 square miles (1,483 square kilometres) it is also Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Due to its pristine skies it was awarded gold tier status by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to go to enjoy the night skies. Here in the darker months of the year, visitors will be able to see up to 2,000 stars, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way. If you strike lucky you might also witness a meteor shower or the Northern Lights (aurora borealis). Take a look at the map and you will see you have a choice of 12 independent hostels, bunkhouses or camping barns situated in or on the very edge of Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park.

Northumberland Dark Sky Park
A star filled sky in Northumberland Dark Sky Park

The UK’s first ever international Dark Sky Park was Galloway Forest Park in south west Scotland. It was designated by the International Dark Sky Association in November 2009 as only the fourth Dark Sky Park in the world and the first in the UK. Just like Northumberland it enjoys gold tier status. Close to Galloway Forest Park the small town of Moffat was proud to be named as Europe’s very first Dark Sky Town, having adopted special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum in order to preserve the wondrous starry skies. There is hostel accommodation on the edge of Galloway Forest Park and in Moffat.

A Dark Sky over Tryfan near Ogwen Valley Bunkhouse
A magnificent dark sky over Tryfan near Ogwen Valley Bunkhouse

Wales is also blessed with large areas of low light pollution. The Snowdonia National Park and The Brecon Beacons National Park are both International Dark Sky Reserves, while the Elan Valley Dark Sky Park runs between them. In 2017 the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park had 4 locations designated as Dark Sky Discovery Sites. These areas are literally peppered with hostel, bunkhouse or camping barn accommodation. There is little excuse for not crossing a star gazing weekend in Wales off your bucket list!

In Snowdonia, Cregennan Lakes are recommended as a great place to stargaze. These sister lakes are found on the flanks of Cader Idris in southern Snowdonia, possibly the moodiest mountain in the entire National Park. The easiest approach is from the east, via the minor road from Dolgellau, only a short drive from Plas Isa Hostel. While the aptly named Star Bunkhouse in the village of Bwlch in the Brecon Beacons is just down the road from Llangorse Lake, identified by the International Dark Skies Association as a prime site for viewing the night sky.

In the south of England both Exmoor National Park and the South Downs National Park have International Dark Sky Reserve status. While in the north, the North York Moors and the Forest of Bowland AONB in Lancashire both host a number of newly designated Discovery Sites.

Dark Sky above Dale House Barn, Gisburn Forest
Star gazers in the garden of Dale House Barn, Gisburn Forest (Forest of Bowland ANOB)

In the north of Scotland, the high quality of the night skies above Tomintoul and Glenlivet in the Cairngorms National Park merit the area becoming Scotland’s second International Dark Sky Park. Awarded Gold Tier status by the International Dark-Sky Association, the Tomintoul and Glenlivet – Cairngorms Dark Sky Park is not only the darkest Dark Sky Park in the UK, it is also the most northern Dark Sky Park in the world.

Aurora Borealis on the Isle of Coll, home to Isle of Coll Bunkhouse
Aurora Borealis on the Isle of Coll, home to Coll Bunkhouse

Finally the Isle of Coll, together with the Isle of Sark have been designated as Dark Sky communities.
In our busy, frenetic and crowded world it is heartening to realise there are so many areas where sheep out number people, where flora and fauna flourish and where you can raise your eyes skywards after a day’s activity and feast your eyes on infinity and beyond!

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 and the St Oswald’s Way official 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 official Sandstone Way website.  Maps can be purchased from Northern Heritage Services


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. 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.

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.

Hostels in Bristol : Great places to stay in Bristol City Centre

There is a wide choice of great value hostel accommodation in the city centre of Bristol.  There are hostels a stone’s throw from Bristol Bus Station, walking distance from Temple Meads Railway Station and only meters away from local bus stops.  Bristol’s best shopping is all around, whether you want the independent shops of Park Street and Clifton, the big name brands in Cabot Circus or quirky market stalls in St Nicholas’s Market.   Bristol’s historic harbour side, only a five minute stroll to the city centre,  has shops, restaurants,  museums and art.   HMS Great Britain and the Bristol Suspension Bridge, created by the ground breaking engineer, Isamabard Kingdom Brunel, now provide great attractions for sightseers from across the world.  Bristol famous cultural district of Stokes Croft is great for quirky arts and the whole city centre features the street art that Banksy has made the city famous for.

Hostels not only provide budget city centre accommodation, they also have plenty of opportunities to get to know like-minded people from around the world.  Some have live venues on site, art markets that visit or run events such as wood-fired Pizza night and city exploring pub crawls.  Accommodation is available in private rooms or in great value dorms. Self catering facilities are on sight and there are plenty of eating out opportunities in the hostels or the streets around them.

Stay near a Castle : Accommodation in Hostels and Bunkhouses

Who doesn’t love a castle? Their antiquity seems to have a power over us and draws us to them.  The UK is covered with castles in all shapes and sizes and there are a surprising number of independent hostels and bunkhouses within walking distance of a castle. Some, like Totters in Caernarfon are literally next door nestling in the shadows of the historic castle walls, others like  Castle Rock Hostel in Edinburgh are a mere street away and the majestic view of the castle greets you from the windows and as you leave the front door. While Craig Y Nos Castle in the Brecon Beacons National Park has a hostel in its grounds and hostel guests are welcome into the castle for hearty meals, cosy evenings by the wood burning stoves and a free history tour.

Castle Rock Hostel dwon the road form Edinburgh Castle
Castle Rock Hostel with Edinburgh Castle just down the road

Castles spark the imagination in everyone.  The thick walls and narrow stone stairways instantly transport you to medieval times. The era of knights in shining armour.  Children love nothing better than to explore the ancient rooms, race around the ruins and grounds and see the weapons on display.  Overseas visitors are often overwhelmed by the sheer age, number and  variety of castles we have in the UK.  Surely one of the best social media posts is one of you in front of an iconic castle. One of the firm favourites is Alnwick Castle in Northumberland which was Hogwarts in in the Harry Potter Films and Brancaster Castle in Downton Abbey. With Alwnick Youth Hostel a few minutes’ walk from the castle, offering family friendly 4* self catering accommodation, there is no excuse not to visit.

Alnwick Castle near to Alnwick Youth Hostel
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland with Alnwick Youth Hostel just 8 minutes’ walk away.

There are so many  iconic castles with independent hostel accommodation nearby.  Independent hostels provide great value, self catering accommodation for individuals, families and groups. With communal kitchens, dining and relaxing areas they are great places for meeting people and are wonderfully flexible as there is normally no minimum length of stay.  Why not plan your tour of castles and stay in independent hostels along the way?

Here are just a few ideas:

Totters hostel next door to Caernarfon Castle, wales

Totters hostel in a 200 year old 5 floored town house next to Caernarfon Castle, Wales

Craig Y Nos castel with hostel / bunkroom accommodation and B&B

Craig Y Nos Castle Hostel and B&B in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales. With a hostel in the grounds, guests are welcome into the castle for hearty meals, cosy evenings by the wood burning stoves and a free history tour.

If you are travelling to the Brecon Beacons from The Midlands  you might well decide to divert to the market town of  Ledbury and visit the impressive Eastnor Castle, which has plenty to do for all the family and which like Craig Y Nos is a 19th century revival castle.  Should you want to stop over there  Woodside Lodges Bunkhouse provides ideal accommodation.

Inveraray Castle close to Inverary Hostel

Inveraray Castle, on the western shore of Loch Fyne, Argyll, Scotland is just a 7 minute walk from Inveraray Hostel.  This cosy hostel, sleeps 22 across 10 rooms and is just one and a half hour’s drive from Glasgow airport.

While you are visiting Scottish castles you might want to take extend your tour to include visiting the ruins of Muness castle on the Isle of Unst,  the most northerly of the Shetland Isles. Self catering hostel accommodation can be found at Gardiesfauld Hostel which is just 1.5 miles away.

Bamburgh Castle close to Seahouses Hostel on the Northumberland Coast

The iconic Bamburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast has Seahouses Hostel, The Hides and Springhill Bunkhouse close by.

Kendal Castle close to Kendal Hostel in the Lake District National Park

While the majestic ruins of 800 year old Kendal Castle in the Lake District is just 15 mins’ walk from Kendal Hostel.

Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness adn close to Loch Ness Backpackers Hostel

The stunning Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness is the third most visited castle in Scotland (after Edinburgh and Stirling).  The closest accommodation is Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge

Tretower Court & Castle close to Star Bunkhouse Star Bunkhouse in the Brecon Beacons National park, Wales

Tretower Court & Castle in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales is a short drive or a scenic walk of 3 miles away from Star Bunkhouse .

For those of you wanting to visit the South of England why not visit the seaside town of Swanage, stay in Swanage Auberge Bunkhouse and visit the ruins of Corfe castle?

If it’s a visit to a Royal castle you are dreaming of,  Ballater Hostel and Braemar Lodge Bunkhouse are just a short scenic drive to the Queen’s Scottish residence at Balmoral.

These are just a few ideas. Listed below are all the hostels and bunkhouses in the independent hostel network that are close to a castle.  If you love visiting castles, try staying at independent hostels for great value, friendly, self catering accommodation.

Settle to Carlisle : Bunkhouses and Hostels

Settle to Carlisle country is also a paradise for walkers with numerous walks from the various stations along the route. What fun to combine journeys on this stunning railway with a walking holiday or mini-break.  There is also the annual Settle to Carlisle Ride2Stride Walking and Music Festival. Taking place each Spring, it is a week long festival of walks, talks and music along the Settle to Carlisle line.  Growing in popularity with visitors from the far corners of the world, it was listed in the top 10 walking festivals by The Telegraph in 2017.

There are independent hostels and bunkhouses all along the route of the Settle to Carlisle line.  The map below shows you where they all are and further down you will find each individual accommodation provider is listed with a brief description. Providing flexible and great value self-catering accommodation with no minimum length of stay, Independent Hostels have long been firm favourites with so many outdoor enthusiasts. From small and simple camping barns to large and very well appointed hostels there is something for everybody and every budget.


The Settle-Carlisle Walking & Music Festival

30th April to 6th May 2019

ride2stride is a festival of walks, talks and music along the fabulous Settle-Carlisle railway line.

It’s a week long celebration of the wonderful landscape and culture of the western Dales and Eden Valley.

The festival is made up of lots of events and activities and things will be happening along the length of the line. Walks will be led from stations by experienced walk leaders. Speakers will share their local knowledge and love of the area, and the pubs will be buzzing with music and song.

ride2stride is for everyone who loves the Yorkshire Dales. With independent hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns all along the route there’s no reason not to treat yourself to a few days of great walking, wonderful  music and stunning scenery in the company of like minded people. For more information go to the ride2stride website.