Scotland: Bunkhouses and Scottish Independent Hostels

Self catering bunkhouses & hostels
Scotland Bunkhouses Scottish Independent Hostels

Staying in Scottish independent hostels and bunkhouses is a friendly way to tour Scotland on a budget. Self-catering facilities and stays as short as one night enable couples, individual travellers and families to experience amazing landscapes and local communities. Scottish bunkhouses and hostels also provide ideal accommodation for groups, particularity outdoor groups, with sole use of large kitchens and dining rooms. There are nearly a hundred privately-run Scottish hostels in the Independent Hostels UK network, providing accommodation in remote islands, small communities and vibrant cities and towns. Glenfinnan Train Photograph: ©VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved.

Scottish independent hostels & bunkhouses
Click markers to view hostels and bunkhouses

Accommodation for walkers, climbers and mountain bikers in Scottish bunkhouses and independent hostels.

The first Scottish independent hostels were established in the 1980’s, primarily as bases for mountaineers and hill walkers. Since then the number of Scottish bunkhouses and independent hostels  has grown to produce a large network of flexible self-catering accommodation. Much of the hostel and bunkhouse accommodation is in areas sort after for their outdoor activities and stunning scenery. You can go mountain biking and trekking in the hills and mountains, go climbing, skiing, pony trekking or golfing or enjoy water sports and fishing on the lochs and find a Scottish independent hostel or bunkhouse to stay in nearby.

Scotland is the ideal destination for outdoor activities and the independent bunkhouses and hostels have the ideal facilities. Boot rooms, drying  racks and areas for washing down and storing equipment are often available. Self-catering facilitates, optimised for groups, make great value holidays. Remember,  independent hostels and bunkhouses are particularly suited to activity holidays as there is no minimum length of stay. So you can stay in one Scottish independent hostel for a few days, until you have finished exploring that area, and then move on to another hostel or Scottish bunkhouse in the next area and so forth.  Take a look at the map above and you will see that there are independent hostels and  bunkhouses situated all across Scotland from John O’ Groats in the the far north to the Lowlands and the Borders. 

mountain biking at Comrie Croft hostel in ScotlandMountain biking at Comrie Croft Hostel, Trossachs,  Scotland

The two National Parks: The Cairngorms National Park and The Loch Lomand and Trossachs National Park, each have a good selection of independent hostels and bunkhouses for you to choose from. There is another cluster around Glencoe and Fort William.  Then there are more along the banks of Loch Ness.  Finally we mustn’t forget the wonderful and varied islands on the west  coast and north of John O’ Groats where you will also find many unique and interesting independent  hostels and Scottish bunkhouses to stay in. 

City Breaks staying in Scottish independent hostels and Scottish bunkhouses: Edinburgh

For many visitors to Scotland their holiday is not complete without spending a few days in Edinburgh or Glasgow. In Edinburgh you will find all  the hostels are perfectly positioned in the heart of the old city and are within walking distance of all the main tourist attractions including Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Princess Street (the two most famous streets in Edinburgh), the Scottish Parliament, Dynamic Earth and the Edinburgh Dungeon. 

Castle Rock Scottish Independent Hostel accommodation in Edinburgh
Castle Rock Scottish Independent Hostel

For the more cultural among you, the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish Portrait Gallery as well as the National Museum of Scotland and the National War Museum are also all within walking distance.  And of  course Edinburgh Waverley Station, the second largest station in the UK, is only a short walk from all five of the hostels and bunkhouses. When you are tired of sightseeing, you are also within walking distance of many of the city’s parks. The enchanting Princes Street Gardens laid out out below the austere Edinburgh Castle are always very popular, or for a more strenuous walk you can go to Holyrood Park and climb up to Arthur’s Seat, the majestic  hill overlooking Edinburgh, and enjoy a fantastic view of the city.  Edinburgh can, of course,  also offer a vibrant night life.

Just a short walk from any of the independent hostels or bunkhouses,  through the old town will take you to Grassmarket & Cowgate  and the busy pubs, bars and clubs.   Every year throughout August there is the highlight of the Edinburgh summer, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, often referred to as simply The Fringe. It is the world’s largest arts festival. In 2017 it spanned 25 days and featured 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows in 300 venues. If you are planning to visit Edinburgh  in August, the best tip is to book your independent hostel or bunkhouse accommodation as early as possible or you may be disappointed.

Touring Scotland using independent hostels and bunkhouses.

There are now Scottish independent hostels and bunkhouses in all the major tourist cities and towns of Scotland.  You will find independent hostel and bunkhouse accommodation in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Fort William, Callender, Dunkeld, Braemar, Ballater, Pitlochry and Moffat to list just a few, as well as in the ferry ports of Oban, Mallaig, Ullapool and John O’Groats.  Others are in wild areas of the Highlands and Islands and are surrounded by stunning scenery.

Lochside scottish independent hostel accommodation on lochness
Lochside Hostel on Loch Ness

Scottish independent hostels are well known as a great resource for touring Scotland by car, by bike or on public transport.  Independent bunkhouses and hostels are unique in that they provide self-catering accommodation where you can stay for as short a period as one night. Ideal for touring on a budget. Staying at a hostel or bunkhouse means you are never lonely, with the communal cooking, dining and recreational areas and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, there will always be someone to chat to and share stories with. If you look at the map above, enlarge it for more detail, you will see that the 116 independent Scottish hostels and bunkhouses are well  distributed across the whole of Scotland.  So planning a tour of Scotland, whether by car, bike, public transport or on foot staying in independent hostels or bunkhouses has never been easier.

Accommodation for groups in Scottish independent hostels and Scottish bunkhouses

All the Scottish hostels and Scottish bunkhouses love to provide accommodation for groups to visit Scotland. You can send a group enquiry or use the Facilities icon on the toolbar at the top of this site to see a list of hostels with exactly the facilities your group requires.

City Breaks staying in Scottish independent hostels and bunkhouses: Glasgow

For many visitors to Scotland their holiday is not complete without spending a few days in Edinburgh or Glasgow. The hostels and bunkhouses in Glasgow are also perfectly located in the city centre, close to George Square and within walking distance of  all that Glasgow has to offer.   Offering self catering kitchens and accomdation in dorms and private rooms, these are ideal for city breaks.

Self catering accommodation at Coll Bunkhouse a Scottish Bunkhouse on the Isle of Coll
Self catering at Coll Bunkhouse a Scottish Bunkhouse on the Isle of Coll

There’s excellent shopping in Buchanan Galleries and Argyle Street for those of you who fancy some serious retail therapy.  While the art lovers will want to wander over to see the Glasgow School of Art, visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Riverside Museum and take a tour round Glasgow Cathedral. For fans of Rene Mackintosh a visit to the House for an Art Lover is a must.  Glasgow, named as a UNESCO city of music in 2008,  is simply mad about all things rock, indie, folk and dance, and of course it has the bars with live music to match. From famous music venues, such as Barrowlands, SSE Hydro and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, to pubs with regular sessions, there’s barely a bar in Glasgow that doesn’t indulge in a little live music from time to time.  For football fans there are tours of Celtic Park  and Ibrox Stadium and when the sightseeing gets too much there’s the 360 acre Pollok Country Park to visit with its scenic walking, running and mountain biking trails. If you have kids to entertain, a day spent at the Glasgow Science Centre will captivate their imagination (and probably yours too).  With so much to do, you will find yourselves returning to Glasgow the next year to see the things you missed during your first visit.