YHA is well known for providing high quality, low cost hostels, camping and glamping throughout England and Wales, as well as autism friendly accommodation.
For 90 years, we have been working to transform young lives forever through travel and real adventure.
As a charitable organisation, registered with the Charity Commission, we are keen to ensure that everyone has access to adventure in the countryside and exploring culture in the city. And that includes anyone with autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
So what makes staying at YHA a great proposition if you or someone in your group has autism?
Autism friendly accommodation in England and Wales
With more than 150 hostels across England and Wales, YHA has a wide variety of locations where you can enjoy a family break.
These include bustling city centre locations in places such as London, Cardiff and Liverpool, as well as more rural and off the beaten track sites such as Alston or our most remote hostel, YHA Black Sail, which is only accessible on foot.
And just as there is no standard definition – or picture – of someone with autism, there isn’t just one particular YHA location that will suit everyone, making it the ideal autism friendly accommodation provider.
But we’re confident that, wherever you would like to explore, there is a perfect YHA for you.
Why is YHA suitable for guests with autism?
Autism experts will remind you that anyone with autism is, of course, first and foremost an individual and therefore has differing needs and requirements when it comes to looking for holiday accommodation.
Nevertheless, there are a number of reasons why YHA is a great choice of destination if you or someone in your group has ASD.
A high standard of basic accommodation with no damage deposit
Unlike making a booking in a UK holiday cottage for example, when you book your accommodation at YHA, we don’t block off several hundred pounds on a credit card in case of damage.
And neither do we fill our hostels with priceless family heirlooms that you might otherwise be terrified of breaking. This can be of particular reassurance to parents and carers of younger children with autism, who might worry about unintentional damage of expensive fixtures and fittings when they stay away from home.
Our autism friendly hostel accommodation is a welcoming space, perfect for individuals, small families and large groups.
It’s kept basic to keep it affordable. But we can assure you a warm welcome from the moment you step through the door.
Plenty of space to let off steam
Depending on where you choose to stay at YHA, you will have access to plenty of outdoor space, perfect for letting off steam or regrouping at the end of a busy day out and about.
YHA Castleton Losehill Hall for example, is a fully refurbished Gothic mansion, right in the heart of the Peak District National Park and set amongst 27 acres of parkland. Yes you read that right – 27 acres of enclosed land to tire out even the most energetic of visitors.
We also have hostels right on the coast such as YHA Poppit Sands in Pembrokeshire or YHA Hunstanton in Norfolk, if hanging out at the beach is more your thing. Or perhaps you might prefer a day just walking the coastal paths?
Our hostels are also ideally placed for walking – YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall is within the Northumberland National Park and we have 18 hostels to choose from in the Lake District. Which one you choose will depend on which fell is your fave!
Take a virtual tour of your accommodation before you book
Thanks to impressive camera work, when you’re considering your choice of hostel, you can take a 360 degree, virtual 3D tour of your accommodation long before you book. This means that you can double check that the hostel meets your requirements well in advance of your arrival.
Not only do we offer virtual tours of the bedrooms, but you can also look round many of the key communal areas such as the self-catering kitchen, the lounge and the reception area.
This can be particularly helpful for visitors with social communication difficulties, who can understand a lot more about the location from both the videos and the numerous photographs which you can find on your chosen hostel page.
You can navigate through the tour yourself, choosing which area to view, or be guided through the hostel by watching one of our videos.
Once you have booked, we know that some people with autism really value revisiting these tours and pictures, as a way of feeling familiarised with the property and completely prepared for the change in location.
Exceptional customer service
Before you decide on a hostel and make a booking, you are welcome to contact our friendly customer service team who have a great depth of knowledge about each one of our sites, together with their level of suitability for your individual needs.
If Wi-Fi is important (it’s often essential for families with someone with autism) we can tell you which hostels have it and which don’t.
Once you have booked your chosen location, our friendly hostel team can always help you with any specific questions about the local area such as where the nearest swimming pool, trampoline centre, indoor climbing wall or soft play venue is.
Our hostels welcome individual travellers alongside diverse groups of guests and many of our hostel team have extensive experience when it comes to accommodating someone with additional needs.
Choose to self-cater or eat in our restaurants
Most YHA hostels come complete with a self-catering kitchen, filled with crockery, cutlery, pots and pans plus all the utensils you need to cook a delicious meal for your family, group or just yourself.
Facilities vary but often include range style ovens, inset hobs and microwaves as well as toasters, kettles, fridges and freezers. Ready meals and basic items may be available to buy from reception in some of our hostels.
This means that those with a particular diet or fussy eaters can easily be catered for.
But if you do fancy a night off from the cooking, many hostels also have a restaurant on site where you can grab a stone baked pizza and cold beer, or a hearty dinner, following a busy day out.
Autism friendly activities for teenagers and young people
One of the best reasons to visit a YHA hostel is to take advantage of some of the onsite activities available to groups and families.
YHA is lucky enough to have a number of Activity Centres throughout England and Wales. The longest established of which is YHA Edale Activity Centre situated in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire.
Not only does it feature knock out views of the surrounding hills, wheelchair access and 157 beds, it’s also a year round activity centre, offering activities ranging from caving and climbing to canoeing and raft building.
YHA Edale Activity Centre doesn’t just cater for large groups: it also offers special family packages, including family multi-activity holidays as well as school holiday activities, where you can sample climbing, abseiling, canoeing, raft building, caving, weaselling, orienteering, archery, high ropes course, hill-walking and much more. These offer the chance to work together and spend quality time together as a family, taking part in something new.
Suitable as activities for autistic teenagers as well as autistic adults, YHA’s activity centres offer real, safe and thrilling experiences in the great outdoors, with popular activities including climbing, abseiling, coasteering, canoeing, kayaking, ghyll scrambling and mountain walking.
Bring your bikes and dry off your wet weather clothing
We’re always keen to encourage guests to spend time in the outdoors, so a good number of YHA hostels now offer secure space to store bikes thanks to our investment into making some of our hostels more cycling friendly.
Our world-class facilities now include bike repair and maintenance stations as well as secure lockers and cycle sheds.
And should the weather be a little less than sunny (this is the UK after all!), there is generally a drying room for all your gear, so you can head out the following day to do it all again!
How to book autism friendly accommodation in a hostel
If you or someone in your group has autism and any additional needs that you would like us to take into consideration, then please do not hesitate to contact the YHA customer service team for more information on how to find and book autism friendly accommodation in a hostel.