Mid- March was a very busy time for us all at IHUK. We had a trip to Birmingham to attend the Education Show at the NEC for a couple of days, whilst there we also had a lovely stay at Hatters Hostel which is based in Old City Birmingham. You can see a map of hostels in Birmingham here.
The Education Show annually attracts around 10,000 visitors providing them with the opportunity to meet +300 exhibitors and over 120 brand new companies. The stalls there ranged from School resources to outdoor adventure businesses and even a skydiving company! We were excited to go and spread the word about Independent Hostels and hopefully gain some interest from potential groups and school groups. Joining us on our adventure were some brilliant hostel owners who came to help us out on the stand.
We ventured down to Birmingham on the Wednesday with excitement in the air. We Arrived at the NEC amongst the hustle and bustle of people busy setting up their stands and safety inspectors checking everyone was taking the correct precautions. It felt strange seeing the halls on the other side of the fence as I have only ever been as a visitor.
After much hard work and perseverance, the stall was finally complete ready for the start of the show the next day. After a wander round to get our bearings with the hall and a quick lunch stop in the sunshine it was time to go and meet everyone at Hatters Hostel.
When we arrived we were greeted by the friendly receptionist and the manager Chris who was bubbly and made us feel settled in straight away. The atmosphere and quirky decor of the hostel made me know straight away that this stay was going to be a good one. Chatting away with the other hostel owners in the reception area, all armed with goodie bags from the lovely Chris, we went on an explore to find our rooms.
We were so chuffed with our rooms, I especially love the picture above the beds. After settling in Sam and I went to meet other hostel owners downstairs in the social area equipped with some alcohol. I was really looking forward to properly meeting everybody for the first time!
After getting a chance to meet some of the hostel owners I decided to have a wander off through the hostel. The social area is bright and the atmosphere bubbly, people from all around the world sit together at a table to chat or play games. Within the social area is a large self catering kitchen where you can go in and out as you please, the only rule being you clear up after yourself. There is also a breakfast bar which has tea/coffee making facilities day and night for you to help yourself. If you fancy a Continental breakfast in the morning it is free of charge.
If that doesn’t take your fancy you can go to ‘Hatters Cafe’ where there are a wonderful selection of hot drinks at a small price. Within the reception area are some comfortable sofas and computers available to use. Hatters gives off a very sociable atmosphere and everyone you meet is happy and friendly. Outside is a courtyard with big lights, I imagine in the summer it’s a brilliant sun trap!
Chris had organised a meal for us and the hostel owners which was brilliant as it gave us all an opportunity to chat about the upcoming few days at the show. We also got introduced to Miguel the social host at Hatters. Miguel is in charge of the social activities that happen within the hostel as each day at hatters brings new activities, from bar crawls to karaoke nights to even a free meal evening at the hostel. Miguel was so welcoming and friendly and invited us all on a bar crawl around the city.
After our delicious food and wine (provided by the lovely Chris) a few of us decided to go on the bar crawl. Miguel had us all meet in reception and we met Australian and Irish girls who were both on their travels. When we got a group of us together Miguel took us to two brilliant bars that were hidden away. The second bar we went too had a live band on who were absolutely brilliant. As we had to be up early for the show we reluctantly left everyone after the second bar and headed for bed, what a brilliant night we had all had.
Early rising the next morning ready for the next 3 days of The Education Show. With our lovely hostel owners to help us out we all had a brilliant time and really got the word out about Independent Hostels and how brilliant they are. Free books were given out to help spread the word and a chance to enter a wonderful competition to win a holiday in one of the hostels!
A massive thank you to all the wonderful Hostel owners who took the time to come and help us out.
We had a great time at The Education Show and also a big thank you to Chris for making our stay so special and welcoming!