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.

Scottish independent hostels & bunkhouses

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

The first Scottish independent hostels were established in the 1980s, 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 an 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, makes 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. Then move on to another hostel or Scottish bunkhouse in the next area and so forth. Take a look at the map you will see that there are independent hostels and bunkhouses situated all across Scotland. From John O’ Groats in the far north to the Lowlands and the Borders.

4 mountain bikers on a dirt track through a moorland with trees behind
Mountain 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. 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 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 is only a short walk from all five of the hostels and bunkhouses. It is, of course, the second largest station in the UK, a must-visit for train enthusiasts. 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 below the austere Edinburgh Castle are always very popular. For a more strenuous walk, you can go from Holyrood Park to Arthur’s Seat, the majestic hill overlooking Edinburgh. You will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the city. Edinburgh can, of course, also offer vibrant nightlife. The hostel’s central location is ideal for experiencing it.

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 accommodation as early as possible or you may be disappointed. Demand at this time is very high.

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 an 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

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. The communal cooking, dining, and recreational areas and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, ensure there will always be someone to chat to and share stories with. It’s one of the main attractions of hostelling.

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. Within walking distance of all that Glasgow has to offer. Offering self catering kitchens and accommodation 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 around Glasgow Cathedral. For fans of Rene Mackintosh, a visit to the House for an Art Lover is a must. Glasgow, named a UNESCO city of music in 2008, is simply mad about all things rock, indie, folk, and dance, and of course, it has 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. If you can get to an Old-Firm game it’s a no-brainer. When the sightseeing gets too much there are the 360 acres of 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.  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.