Hostels and Bunkhouses in National Parks : Accommodation in stunning landscapes

Self catering bunkhouses & hostels
national parks hostels

The spectacular National Parks in England, Scotland and Wales boast a wonderful selection of hostels and bunkhouses. These stunningly located buildings offer great value, flexible, accommodation to the many and varied visitors to the National Parks.  Walkers, couples, families, groups of friends or families, clubs etc all enjoy the friendly atmosphere and communal ethos that hostels and bunkhouses offer.


Click markers to view hostels and bunkhouses

Hostels and Bunkhouses in National Parks

The spectacular National Parks in the England, Scotland and Wales boast a wonderful selection of hostels and bunkhouses.

These hostels and bunkhouses offer great value, flexible, self-catering accommodation to the many and varied visitors to the National Parks.  Singles, couples, families, groups of friends or families, clubs etc all enjoy the friendly atmosphere and communal ethos that hostels and bunkhouses offer.

Dalehead Bunkhouse in the Peak District National Park
Dalehead Bunkhouse in the Peak District National Park

If you go to the map above (enlarge it as necessary) you will see all the hostels and bunkhouses in the National Park you want to visit.  Click on the red marker and again on the hostel name and you will get all the key information about that hostel or bunkhouse; the number of rooms, the facilities, the price etc.  Scroll further down for contact details and the link to the hostel’s own website.

To help your search you can use the ‘Find by’ tool at the top of any hostel’s page. Search by your preferred ‘location’, the hostel’s ‘facilities’, ‘activities’ in the area and/or ‘availability’.  Don’t forget, unlike most other types of self catering accommodation, hostels and bunkhouses  allow guests to stay for as short a period as one night. Of course you are most welcome to stay for much longer!

 What is the difference between a hostel and a bunkhouse?

Each hostel and bunkhouse is unique so it is important to explore our database.  Some are very large and can cater for clubs and big family/friend get-togethers.  Others are much more cosy with just a few beds.  Some have just dormitory style rooms whereas others also have private or family rooms with either bunk or conventional beds.  The difference between a hostel and a bunkhouse is very woolly. Often the name is historic and while the accommodation has evolved over the years, the name has not.  You may also come across a number of camping barns in some of the National Parks.  These are much more basic, (which is reflected in the price) and are often little more than a ‘stone tent’ where you need to bring all your own sleeping and cooking equipment.

Yorkshire Dales National Park
Yorkshire Dales National Park

The history of National Parks and the history of hostels and bunkhouses.

There are now 15 National Parks in the UK.  The newest, the South Downs, was established in 2010. But the first National Park to be designated was the Peak District in 1951.

The history of the National Parks is fascinating. The impetus to form National Parks started some 20 years earlier with The Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932.  In the years that followed  organisations such as  the Rambler’s Association, the Youth Hostels’ Association (YHA), the Council for the Preservation for Rural England (CPRE) and the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) rallied together to lobby the government for measures to protect, and allow access to the countryside, for the benefit of the nation.

Walkers in Exmoor National Park
Walkers in Exmoor National Park

But it wasn’t until the 1950’s that 10 National Parks were designated. In addition to the Peak District there were; The Lake District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor, Pembrokeshire Coast, North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor, Northumberland and the Brecon Beacons.  There was a long wait  until the 1989 for the next new National Park, The Broads to be designated. Then in the 21st century Loch Lomand and the Trossachs, Cairngorms, The New Forest and The South Downs were all established.

The history of hostels and hostelling is closely bound with the history of the National Parks and the desire by many in the population to gain access to the countryside. As a result some of the earliest hostels and bunkhouses were set up in the first National Parks.  As the number of visitors to the National Parks  increased  more and more hostels and bunkhouses were set up to cater for them. Now there are over 160 hostels and bunkhouses in our network of independent hostels which are located in the UK’s National Parks.

Exmoor Bunkbarn in a National Park

Hostels and Bunkhouses in the Peak District.

As well as being the first National Park, the Peak District is one of the most popular, with over 10 million visitors each year.  Not surprisingly there is a wide selection of hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns offering visitors great value, self-catering accommodation. Go to the map above (enlarge it as necessary) to see exactly where these hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns are located.  You will find them conveniently situated for all the Peak District attractions;  the 1,600 miles of public rights of way, the 65 miles of off-road dedicated cycling and walking trails including the disused railways; High Peak Trail, Tissington Trail and Monsal Trail.   There are bunkhouses and camping barns in Edale, the starting point of Pennine Way, Britain’s oldest long-distance national walking trail and the gateway to Kinderscout, which at 636 metres (2086 ft) is the highest point in the Peak District.   As well as walkers, cyclists, and mountain bikers, frequent guests at  the Peak District hostels and bunkhouses are climbers, as the Peak District is the training ground for some world class climbers.

snowdonia national park
Snowdonia National Park

For the less active there is a wonderful selection of beautiful country houses and stately homes to visit. Such is their charm that they are often used as film sets. You might recognise: Chatsworth (Pride and Prejudice), Haddon Hall (Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth, Henry VIII, Moll Flanders), North Lees Hall (Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl). And once again you’ll find a hostel or bunkhouse just a short drive away.

Don’t delay,  search  our database for the perfect hostel for your next visit to one of the UK’s National Parks.