Destinations, Hostels

Bizarre & British: Alternative places to stay in the UK

YHA St Briavels Castle

British hostelling isn’t all about country houses (gorgeous as they are) and purpose-built traditional hostels – YHA accommodation can include everything from recycled shipping containers to 800 year old castles! Here is our top pick of weird and wonderful places to stay in England and Wales, each with their own unique personality and quirky surprises. Don’t worry; you’ll still get the authentic hostel experience and all the facilities you’ve come to expect from YHA. Book a stay and experience Britain at its exciting and eccentric best.

YHA St Briavels – Norman Castle

Want a taste of real British history? Expect a welcome fit for a King or Queen at YHA St Briavels Castle – an 800 year old castle! The building is remarkably well preserved, with many fascinating historical features intact from its rich heritage (ask for a tour of the hostel and prepare to be amazed). You can sleep in an old prison, complete with 16th century graffiti from convicts, or uncover the spooky secret dungeon under the Oubliette room. Or join guests for a medieval feast in the candlelit banqueting hall and fall in love with the atmosphere of the past. And did we mention it’s supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in England?

Book a stay at YHA St Briavels Castle

YHA Boggle Hole – Pirate Stronghold

Ahoy there! A glorious family fave, YHA Boggle Hole sits in a smuggler’s cove and is everything a dream seaside holiday is made of. From the fun pirate-themed décor (a rum in The Brigg dining room anyone?) to the treasure trails and dressing-up boxes, buccaneers of all ages find it easy to lose themselves here. Spend the day building sandcastles or fossil hunting on the beach on your doorstep, or relaxing in the old mill building’s Quarterdeck Cafe. The renovated hostel is looking more shipshape than ever, incorporating a new Crow’s Nest annexe – an environmentally friendly timber building with stunning sea views.

Book a stay at YHA Boggle Hole

YHA Eden Project – Shipping Container

With the iconic Eden Project biomes just minutes away, this on-site Snoozebox hostel is perfectly in tune with its sustainable and eco-friendly surroundings. Its modern en-suite bedrooms are made from recycled shipping containers, each with their own TV and facilities – the little village of Snoozeboxes is as unique as the Eden Project itself! Explore the indoor rainforest of the famous Cornwall attraction then relax in the bohemian heated marquee lounge. With Eden Sessions concerts all this summer, how about booking a festival-inspired bell tent? These luxurious tepee-like tents are perfect for glamping at the heart of nature.

Book a stay at YHA Eden Project

YHA Black Sail – Shepherd’s Bothy

If getting away from it all is your number one requirement, you can’t get much more remote and rural than YHA Black Sail. Miles away from the nearest road and only accessible on foot, this old shepherd’s lodge is nestled in a dramatic traffic-free valley that’s being returned to its ‘wild’ state. Step out from the rustic 16-bed stone hostel and all you can see is miles and miles of mountains, perfect for exploring. With no electric sockets and limited phone signal, it really is just you and the Great British outdoors! Pack your hiking boots, take a walk on the wild side, and forget about civilisation for a few days at this tranquil Lake District retreat.

Book a stay at YHA Black Sail

You could even sleep under the stars – check out our Campings and Cabins here.

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