The adventure begins with where you stay

Everyone’s heard of holiday cottages, campsites, and hotels. But what if there was another option? Somewhere cheaper than hotels, easier than camping and more flexible than a holiday cottage.

Somewhere so welcoming, it doesn’t matter if you bring your extended family for two weeks … or just yourself for a night. Somewhere where a sense of adventure and a friendly attitude is celebrated.

Scattered across the UK, lie your answer to the perfect accommodation. Hundreds of self-catering hostels and bunkhouses are just waiting to be explored.

This booking platform and The Independent Hostel guidebook are the only places where you can find all of them under one roof.

The IHUK Hostel Network

Independent Hostels UK is the glue that ties hostels and bunkhouses together. Here you can discover and book all these hidden gems in one place.

Search for your dates and dream location. Or explore this clickable map, inspirational discovery pages and long-distance trails.

IHUK takes no commission. So you can book here and be assured that everything you say and everything you pay goes to your hosts.

IHUK is serious about sustainability. See the network’s award-winning  eco credentials here.

The UK’s Largest Hostel Network – Meet the Team

The Team at Independent Hostels showing staff members around an office table.
From left to right: Sam; MD and founder. Penny; Customer Service and Copy Editor. Lily; Social Media Manager. Toby; Booking System Support. June; Accounts Manager (pictured presenting the manager of Rookhow Hostel with a longest member award at the Hostels Networks conference in 2013)

The Team at Matlock Bath

Sam Dalley founded The Independent Hostel Guide in 1993 when she decided that the list of independent hostels she had gathered on her travels had the makings of a book. 30 years later, Sam has grown the business into the largest hostel network in the UK. Sam’s favourite part of hostelling is staying in a new hostel each night as she travels from place to place by bike or foot!

Penny never set out to work at Independent Hostels when she started occasionally proofreading the guidebook. However, her copy-editing skills alongside her sunny attitude quickly made her an indispensable part of the team. Penny looks for three things when booking a hostel; they welcome dogs, they have a lovely wood burner and a power shower! Thankfully, we have plenty of hostels in the network that fit the bill!

Lily Lockett joined the team as social media manager in Autumn 2023 and inspired us all with her creativity.  Lily loves staying in hostels because of their prime locations at the heart of national parks, amazing landscapes and city centres.  Lily feels privileged to be able to stay in these wonderful places without paying premium prices, and enjoys the opportunity this provides to cross paths with people from diverse backgrounds and nationalities.

Toby initially joined the team for six months in 2022 via the government’s Kickstart scheme and we were all delighted when he was able to return in October 2023 to manage Clarity Hostel Booking. Toby enjoys helping hostels learn how to use the system and loves to see how Clarity helps passionate hostel owners to succeed.

Bronia joined the Independent Hostels network in 2022, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Productivity through Innovation project via Nottingham Trent University. She fell in love with marketing, digital media and, most importantly, hostels.  Bronia worked in the office for two years and she still enjoys hostel blogging adventures from time to time.  Bronia loves the social side of hostels; the communal spaces at the heart of hostels are the perfect place to meet people from all walks of life.

And June in Somerset

June is the longest-running member of staff as she has been the accounts manager for The Independent Hostels network since its conception in 1993. Family is important to June, and that’s why she loves to hire the whole hostel so her whole family can get together!