Wednesday, 10 June 2015

In praise of Youth Hostels

Hello. This post is for Summerdays, Sandy, and HelenD, who want to know more about Youth Hostels. Everyone else may read it as well. The name Youth Hostels can be misconstrued, anyone can stay at them, not just young people. The YHA is a charity, they provide cheap affordable accommodation to people travelling around. Not just for holiday makers, travelling business people can use them as well. I twice stayed in them on nights out with my truck. 
There are all types of buildings, from large stately homes, mansion houses, modern purpose built ones, and converted cottages, barns, and schools. Some of them now have camping pods in the garden. 
Prices vary depending on the location, type of room, and time of year. Prices go up in the peak holiday times, and they can be very low in the quiet off peak times. The web site prices are for everyone, but if you are a member there is a discount of £3 off per bed per night. There is the option of booking a family room en suite, or a double en suite. You can even book the whole hostel for a private party. A bed in a dorm is the cheapest option, the dorms can be four bedded, up to ten bedded. Most dorms have a sink in the room, some have a toilet and shower en suite. 
This is the reception desk at Malham. Check in here, book your meals if you want one, buy a beer if you so wish. It is not allowed to take your own booze into a hostel which has a liquor licence. If you have forgotten your towel you can hire one. All bedding is included, sometimes you have to make up your own bunk, when you leave you strip the linen off and leave it at the collection point. Booking in time is about 4pm, but the warden may be around if you arrive earlier.You can come and go as you please, but normally the front door is locked at 11pm. If you come in later you punch a code into the lock to gain entry. Try not to disturb other residents.
This is the lounge area next to reception. You can usually order coffee and snacks.

Breakfast is served from 7.30am. Help yourself to tea and coffee, cereals, toast and jam. 
The hot food is served here, a good choice, the usual English Breakfast. Yogurt, fruit, and cheese available.

This is the dining room at Malham. Clean, light and bright. When you have finished eating take your crockery to the trolley and place things in groups together. Cutlery goes in a bowl of soapy water, plates piled up, and waste food goes in the bin. There is the option of going self catering, just ask for the members kitchen. All the pots and pans you need, you don't need to take anything from home.

There is a very nice lounge at Malham. Comfy easy chairs, watch tele, magazines and books to read, and games for children to play. Most hostels have these facilities, some rooms are bigger, some smaller. The city hostels can be busy and noisy, they seem to attract a lot of young people, they generally have a quiet room away from the noise. A lot of hostels now have WI FI. 
I always have a bottom bunk if there is one available. I prefer a smaller dorm, but there has been times when I have had to go into an 8 or 10 bedded room. Some room mates can be a bit noisy, but most are fine. A lot of hostels have lockable lockers, take a small padlock with you. If no lockers, don't leave valuables in your room. Everyone in the room is issued with a key. There are separate showers and toilets for everyone to use. 
I was a member in 1981 - 82 - and 83. They had a system where you got a rubber stamp whenever you stayed at one. Some of these hostels are now closed. I believe you can still collect these stamps, but I haven't kept up with it.

Whenever I book a bed, I check availability on the web site. There is a facility for booking online, but I prefer to ring up and book over the phone. There is always a pleasant and helpful person on the other end. You can also ask about a private room, if you prefer that option.

Here is the link to the YHA web site.

I've borrowed a few pics from the web site, some of the hostels I have stayed at. Have a good look around and see if there is one you fancy.

Grasmere, Lake District. a stunning Victorian Mansion.

Grinton Lodge, North Yorkshire. An old Hunting Lodge, set in it's own grounds with fantastic views over Swaledale.

 Hartington Hall, Derbyshire. A country house in the heart of the Peak District..

Perranport, Cornwall. A cosy hostel in a cliff top location with fantastic views, and two and a half miles of sandy beaches.

Ravenstor, Derbyshire. A National Trust property near Buxton.

I made a short video when I was at Earby Youth Hostel. It will take me ages to find it on my computer so if you click on the 'My Videos' page at the top under the header it will take you there. This link will also take you to the page. The one you want is the eighth one down. It is 6 mins 43 seconds long.

Phew, I think I have covered most points, if I have forgotten anything, please ask. This is not a sponsored post, although it does read like an advert, ha ha. Hostels are great places to stop if you are single, there is always someone friendly to talk to. Happy hosteling.
Toodle pip

PS. Here is the link to the Scottish Youth Hostel site.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks Ilona. It's great to know what to expect, although the reviews I've read are very good. It's lovely to see a photo of the Grasmere hostel. I often pass it on many of my walks. You always seem to have good experiences of hostels so I'm really looking forward to it. I've read that at Whitby I will also get free entrance to the abbey included in my stay, I hope it's true. Are you going to let us in on any bad experiences you've had? X

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    1. Hi. Yes you get free admission to the Abbey at Whitby, a nice little bonus. I can't think of any bad experiences. The only niggle I can think of is that occasionally you get the odd inconsiderate room mate who comes in late, switches the main light on, then faffs about with their belongings. Most hostels have a small bedside light.

      But you pays your money, you takes your choice. For a cheap bed I can put up with that. I can go under the duvet, and take my hearing aid out, ha ha.

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    2. Just thought of another niggle. If the hostel is busy, like many city ones are, and a lot of guests are self catering, the kitchen gets a bit cramped. Best to pick your mealtimes not to clash with everyone else. Also, some just dump their pots in the sink and don't wash up. Have to say this is mainly the young ones who probably don't wash up at home. Kitchens get thoroughly cleaned by the wardens late at night.

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    3. Thank you, again, Ilona. I have linked back to your post on my blog. X

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  2. Always there to give friendly advice to anyone who asks. Thats Ilona. A lovely post tonight with smashing pics. Never knew there were such posh ones. I worked at a Y.M.C.A myself for 7yrs. nowhere near as posh as those but it was quite an old 1960's building. It was pulled down and theres a really nice new one now.

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  3. Ilona: A fabulous post with so much information. The last time I stayed at a hostel was on a field trip to Wales with the school, many many years ago. I don't remember it being quite as nice as they are nowadays and we all had to do a chore in the morning. All in all they appear to be quite a nice accommodation and certainly worth checking out. You get 10+ on this one, you are a gifted writer. I also think you would be the perfect spokesperson for the YHA!

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    1. Hi. I remember asking what job I had to do after breakfast and before leaving. That doesn't happen any more. The only thing you have to do is remove your bed linen, and wash up the pots you have used in the self catering kitchen.

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  4. I have never been to a Hostel before and I don't know what I was expecting but i was surprised, its looks like a dorm, the dining area is lovely as well, so clean and tidy, , its looks very clean and comfy,, beautiful area!

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  5. Have stayed in a few youth hostels, they seemed to have gone through a big refurbishment programme over recent years and a lot are comfy and have good facilities like you describe. I know the one in Ambleside looked like it had a lot of money put into it. The breakfast is good too for about a fiver if I remember correctly.

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    1. Hi Steve. You're right, the breakfasts are great, plenty to fill you up and freshly cooked. They have recently gone from £5 to £5.50, still good value.

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  6. Anyone coming to the south west this year should check out Treyarnon Bay YHA. I have not stayed there as it is close to where I live, but anytime we go to the beach, we go for a spot of lunch in the cafe as a treat. Stunning location overlooking a fabulous beach. Lots of coastal walks nearby and the staff are always friendly and accommodating.

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    1. Thank you Wendy for your recommendation. I can vouch for the food in all hostels. I have not come across a bad one yet.

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    2. I'll second this - we stayed there in January & had a lovely time. Stunning spot, & a warm welcome.

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  7. Very useful(thanks Iiona), bear in mind for future reference!

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  8. Useful information, thanks Ilona. It looks like a very good way to have a value holiday break. Who'd of thought that you could get en-suite rooms at a youth hostel :-)

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  9. Great information Ilona. Thank you for taking the time to write about it.
    So staying in a Youth Hostel is the cheapest and quite decent accommodation one could get in UK, right?

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  10. I think it is surely a great idea to use these if they are available to you. We have some in the states as well, especially along the coasts.

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  11. I've never used them although have used bunkhouses in Europe and the US. Your post has really tempted me to have a go. Not sure how Louis would react. He's been brought up as a bit of a softty and they might be lacking in luxury for his taste. x

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  12. Hello.Really interesting read on YHA and sites.A very budget oriented facility but still very pleasant and clean and functional seems to be the norm from what I gather.It 's been decades since I stayed in one and that was in Vancouver,Canada.(also slept on some beaches there,as it was allowed back then)It was so nice to have a shower and get a solid night's sleep,nice people to meet.It is a very pleasant memory.If I ever travel the U.K. it is good info to know about.Thank you. Have a good one,D.

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  13. It looks like a very good way to have a budget stay away, I would use them in a minute if they allowed pets.

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  14. This takes me back Ilona. When I was 17 (40 yrs ago)I rode a tandem along Loch Lomond - stayed in a castle and a log cabin - met great folks and had sing-songs. The cabin was basic, we had to wash in a stone trough outside, breaking the ice first - but we absolutely loved every moment. Would do it all again in a heartbeat.

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