Many people think of hostels as youth hostels, for young adults, but in many ways it is great to go Hostelling with children. The self catering facilities are ideal for early mealtimes and in some cases hostels come equipped with ready made play mates. Most importantly a stay in a hostel could be the first time your children learn to make friends with holiday makers from other countries.
Hostelling with Children :The plan was to spend some days at three different hostels to give Joshua, our grandson aged nine years, a good experience of Hostelling. This is how we set about creating a very happy and successful holiday for all three of us. Lets go for a lighthouse and a village hostel and we know he likes trains so a third hostel in a railway carriage should make the experience for Joshua. Bookings made in good time, deposits paid and off we went on a journey of discovery.
Hostelling with Children at RATTRAY HEAD ECO-HOSTEL* in Aberdeenshire.
“The bunk beds felt safe”. Joshua always takes a top bunk of course. He is nine years old. “I liked meeting people from Germany”. Thank you Brigetta and Heidi for being friends with Joshua. We met at Rattery Head Hostel and shared the Lighthouse Keepers accommodation. The accommodation was comfortable. We had our own family room and separate bathroom. The shower was excellent. We shared kitchen and lounge with Brigetta and family
The beach and the sand dunes here are spectacular. Following fun on the beach we headed for the New Deer Show and watched over one hundred vintage tractors parade in the show ground. We missed the livestock show by one day. Pity because I think that cows producing great volumes of methane gas are preferable to tractors spewing out carbon monoxide. I have always had an affinity with cows since working on Rosehall Farm near Keith in Banffshire. Bring on the cows!
Hostelling with Children at CULLEN HARBOUR HOSTEL* in Moray
The Harbour Hostel at Cullen is a favourite with the Sutherland Clan. We spent time in the harbour when the tide was out. Explored the super beach and gave Linda’s Chippy big licks. Fish ‘n Chips. Joshua says “The beach is practically in the back garden”. Playing on the beach in the harbour was his favourite activity. He joined local children at the end of a hot sunny day for a splash about and made a new friend.
From Cullen Spey Bay is easy to reach and is home to a famous pod of Dolphins. We spent three hours with dozens of other people trying to see the Dolphins. We gave up and headed back to Cullen. Amazingly the Dolphins were swimming across Cullen bay and we were alerted to the presence by a shout from Ruth. “Dolphins!”
*Sadly Cullen Harbour and Rattray Head hostels are no longer in the Independent Hostel Guide. Have a look at the alternative locations on our map of the Moray Coast
Hostelling with Children at SLEEPERZZZ.COM in Sutherland
Joshua “Liked waving to the passengers on the trains going through the station” and especially when they waved back. He liked the railway carriages “style”. The sheep in the field next to the carriages helped Joshua to get to sleep. He enjoyed walking in Rogart to the hotel for tea. Rogart was his “favourite of the whole holiday” so we will certainly be back.
We visited Dunrobin Castle a short distance away. Joshua took many excellent photographs with his I pad. He is good photographer and has an eye for composition. Annie and Joshua spent time looking at the Castle and we joined up to look at the Birds of Prey Display and the beautiful gardens. To finish our day we enjoyed messing about on the beach at Golspie.
At the end of the road the three of us were greater friends, better communicators and Joshua had gained in confidence. We enjoyed a good, happy holiday together. Roll on the next one in Scotlands wonderful landscapes, gardens and hostels. Copyright of article and photographs Brian Sutherland 2016.