When is a hostel not a Youth Hostel?

Hostel Community with text saying an independent is a place not a trade mark

When thinking of sleeping in bunks, shared kitchens and the camaraderie of telling travelling tales around a fire, for most people, the word Youth Hostel springs to mind.

But actually the vast majority of the hostels in the UK are independent charities and businesses, and they often call themselves independent hostels.

There are many more independent hostels in the UK than there are Youth Hostels, so it’s well worth looking them up when you start planning your next adventure.


Independent hostels have their own websites and most of them have online booking. There is also an Independent Hostels network with a booking platform that allows you to make commission-free bookings, and gives you access to the hostels’ own websites.  The network also prints the Independent Hostel Guide for anyone who likes to flick through paper when researching their adventures.

Membership of the Independent Hostels network is available to any hostel for a small annual fee, but there is no requirement to be a member in order to be an independent hostel.  An independent hostel is a place not a trade mark,  and the network includes over 340 independent hostels, but not all of them.

So next time you are Googling for accommodation, try using the term independent hostel and discover some of the much loved and welcoming independently run places to stay.

And if you are starting a hostel, be assured you can call yourself an independent hostel and know you are in good company.