Family Holidays

The hostels ideal for family holidays are ones with family rooms and large shared areas. A family room can have a combination of bunks and beds and sleep between 3 and 8 people. It provides a place of security at night-time and yet the kids have all the fun of shared gardens and playrooms in the day.

Many Independent Hostels provide a great base for family holidays.

We take our kids on holidays in hostels all the time. Now our neighbours are doing it too.  The hostels that work best for family holidays are ones with family rooms (often en-suite) and large shared areas. A family room can have a combination of bunks and beds and sleep between 3 and 8 people. It provides a place of security at night-time and yet the kids have all the fun of shared gardens and playrooms in the day. (New playmates are always the first looked for facility when we arrive at a hostel). Then there is the huge asset of having self catering so you can feed your children what they are used to, when they are used to it. No need to stretch their teatime till evening, nag fidgety children to sit still or pay restaurant bills for every meal. Instead you can eat with the same familiarity and cost as you would at home and make the occasional meal at the pub into a treat.

games room at alnwick hostel
Games room at Alnwick Hostel

Whats great about family holidays in hostels.

The thing I like best about family holidays in hostels is that that once the kids are in bed I get to sit by the fire and listen to tales of the other travellers. Not only does this remind me that I too am a traveller  but it’s a great way to pick up recommendations for the next days activity.  Hostels have another great advantage over traditional family self catering. Like hotels they are booked by the night. So you can book a room in the hostel for your whole holiday or you can stay a night or two and move on to explore a different area. This also makes hostels great for an overnight break to a journey or somewhere to stay close to an event or theme park.

Taking your family to a hostel is a truly social way to holiday. Kids just love to find playmates staying in their holiday home, and it remind us adults about the joy of travel. What’s more anyone looking for a cheaper holiday in Britain will be glad of the budget overnight prices and the reduced cost of self catering.

If this has whetted your appetite for a family holiday in Britain you can use the ‘Facilities’ filter on the search bar to  search for hostels with family rooms.   This can be combined with a location filter to find family rooms in the area you want to visit.

Family room tick box on the Facilities filter
Family room tick box on the Facilities filter

Or look out for the family room symbol on the individual hostel pages.

family rooms logos small

These maps show hostels and bunkhouses in great holiday locations with clickable links to the hostel pages.

NGLISH MAPS:London | South | West Country | Peak District | Central and Shropshire | East | Lake District | Yorkshire | Pennines | Northumberland
WELSH MAPS:Snowdonia | Mid Wales | Pembrokeshire | South Wales
SCOTTISH MAPS:South Scotland | Trossacks | West Coast | Cairngorms & Moray | Loch ness | North East Highlands | Hebrides | Orkney


Alternative take a look at our neat, annual handbook that will fit easily into a rucksack, or large pocket. At least one page is devoted to each hostel with a full description of facilities, price guidelines, contact details and  photographs. Copies of the Independent Hostel Guide can be purchased here.  Or read on form some family holiday recommendations.

family holidays father and son_1
family holidays father and son

Read on for some family holiday recommendations:-

Visit the Lincolnshire Wolds with rolling landscape, traditional market towns and a scattering of windmills. Only twenty minutes drive from the bustling east coast with miles of sandy beach punctuated by seaside towns  with; candyfloss, donkey rides and family attractions.  Brook House Barn near Louth is a new conversion with 5 en-suite family rooms (varying from 4 to 6 beds) and really well thought-out shared areas. On the farm there is a riding stable which provides quality riding for all abilities. It is great to see the kids riding with reins instead of holding onto the handle on the donkey saddle on this family holiday.

Hogwarts near Alnwick Hostel
Hogwarts near Alnwick Hostel

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is the scene of Hogwarts in the first Harry Potter films and attracts lots for family holidays with events such as ‘Castle Magician’ and ‘Knights School’. Northumberland also has a stunning coastline and lots of awe inspiring castles. There are plenty of family friendly hostels in the area, so you can have a single base or tour around a bit.   Alnwick Youth Hostel is right on the doorstep, a short ride away is Wooler Hostel and  Chatton Park Bunkhouse, all with family rooms.

Family walking holiday in the Cheviots
Family walking holiday in the Cheviots

Have a great value family holiday in the Perthshire Hills only an hour’s drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.  Comrie Croft is a 200 year old farmstead. It has en-suite family rooms of 3, 4 and 5 beds and provides a cosy lounge and self catering kitchen. There are lots of bike routes within the hostel’s own 300 acre estate and the onsite bike hire shop rents out kids’ bikes, tagalongs and child seats. There is also a play barn, games room, toy chest and outdoor rope swing. Within a few miles you can visit Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, The Famous Grouse Experience (which is very family oriented, despite the product) , Crieff Hydro Activity Centre and The Scottish Crannog Centre.

family holidays bunk bed

family holidays bunk bedStay in the Yorkshire Dales amidst stunning landscape overlooking Thruscross Reservoir at the West End Outdoor Centre. This interesting building is a conversion of a modern church and still contains the stained glass window. It has five family rooms, one sleeping 6 and lots of indoor space to play.

Bala in Wales is a traditional lakeside family holiday resort with many attractions, including watersports, white water rafting, kayaking, sailing, high ropes course, paintballing, abseiling, hill-hiking, and archery.  Bala Backpackers has family rooms and welcome children.

Gilfach Wen Barn close to Brecon Beacons National Park, in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains but only a 30 mins’ drive to Cefn Sidan Sands. Locally there is the National Botanical gardens of Wales, mountain bike trails including a specially designed Family Trail, a steam railway and a country park with dry ski slope. The barn has loads of space for the children to meet up and play and a large dining room.

The Old School Hostel formally YHA Trefin  is an ex-yha hostel which has been saved from closing by an enthusiastic couple who want people to enjoy its great location in an ecological way. It has four family rooms and shared areas with loads of games and toys. This is a great base for families who want to explore the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast.

family holidays family on coast_1
family holidays family on coast

Palace Farm Hostel in Kent has four family rooms arranged around a central courtyard. Each room is self contained with its own bathroom and there is a central self catering kitchen available to all. The courtyard provides a safe outdoor social space for children to play and evening BBQs. Palace Farm is a great stop off on your way to the continent for a family holiday or a base for exploring the Garden of England. Nearby Faversham has a family friendly pool (with outdoor Lido) and riverbank walks. The countryside is scattered with cherries, plums and hop gardens. Perfick !

Half way between Inverness and John O’Groats is the small friendly Helmsdale Hostel.  It has four en-suite private rooms and especially welcomes family holidays and groups.