With 78% of teenagers now living in urban areas and 52% of teenagers saying spending time close to nature improves their mood* there is no better time than now to book a stay at YHA. With a selection of hostels and outdoor options in locations close to nature and heritage, here’s some of our recommendations for best places to stay with a (often difficult to please) teenager.
Camping with a twist
Make the dark tunnel of adolescence a little lighter with a stay in a Landpod in the Lake District.
YHA Eskdale will wow even the toughest teen crowd with its wildlife and beautiful surroundings. Situated on the edge of the Lake District’s most awe-inspiring wilderness area, the hostel is set in 15 acres of private grounds.
Your teen may be impressed to know that it’s an environmentally friendly hostel. Heating and electricity is generated via renewable energy, in the form of biomass and solar panels.
Stay in the grounds of the hostel in a Landpod which is basically fancy camping without the set up. The pods are slightly elevated off the ground for a cosy night’s sleep, two small double mattresses and all bedding included, with LED lighting. Outside the Landpod is a table, bench and a BBQ firepit. The best bit? The Lake District has some of the darkest skies in the country, you can roll the roof open to star gaze.
And you can book a great value full breakfast each day – rumour has it the sausages are delicious.
During the day give the teens a sense of accomplishment by climbing Scafell Pike via the Eskdale route. Or drive a motor boat, paddle, kayak or take a cruise on Lake Windermere, Coniston, Ullswater or Derwentwater. Hire a Segway at Grizedale forest near Windermere, or you can also do tree top challenges or zip wires for an adventurous day out.
Explore a green city
If your teen is more of a city dweller, then why not head to York. It is an extremely green city with over 25 gardens and parks.
One of our favourites is Stockheld Park, be careful not to get lost in the maze. The Museum Gardens are alongside the river with the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey in the grounds, where you can laze around with the city’s students and stop for an ice cream.
Walk the city walls and take your teen shopping for vinyl at independent record shop Rebound set with a backdrop of the glorious York Minster. Amble down The Shambles and onto the Grayson Perry exhibition at York Art Gallery (from May-September).
Take a ride on a cart and smell how the Vikings lived at the Jorvik Viking Centre or catch a film at Everyman cinema in town. Once you’re weary then head back to YHA York where you’ll find a café/bar, pool table, spacious grounds and the all-important WiFi!
Go seal spotting
Make some magical memories at YHA Sheringham where you can join one of the daily boat trips from Blakeney harbours to spot some seals in their natural environment. Excursions run every day between April and October.
For adrenaline junkies there’s nearby Hilltop outdoor centre where you can do activities such as Air Jump, Superswing, Tree Top Trail and High Ropes. If your teens can’t wait to get behind the wheel, then check out the Karttrak in Cromer.
For something a little more tropical there’s Amazona Zoo, home to over 200 South American animals and tropical birds. It’s worth making a visit The Folly Tearoom in Holt which will wow your teenager with its impressive array of cakes.
The hostel itself is just a five-minute wander into town, where you will find such delights as traditional sweet shop The Chocolate Box. The beach is ten minutes away if you fancy a (very) cooling dip. Back at the hostel there’s a lounge with TV and a games room. It’s a classic British seaside holiday spot.
Hit the surf
Crank up Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and head to the coast for an unforgettable surfing trip. Based near the most south-westerly point in mainland Britain, with spectacular views, and a range of visitor attractions our westernmost hostel, YHA Land’s End is perfect for a value family break in deepest Cornwall.
Tucked away, but with fine views to the sea, the hostel is a short walk from beaches and the Cornish countryside, so is equally good for surfing breaks, birdwatching and walking holidays.
Why not camp out on the front lawn and take in the views of the Atlantic Ocean and watch beautiful sunsets in this sublime location. Lots of lovely local footpaths to walk and don’t forget to take their picture at the iconic Land’s End signpost.
For surfing try out the Sennen Cove surf school set on a long sweeping beach, ideal for catching waves and sessions available for the whole family to take part and for all abilities.
There’s plenty of other places to visit nearby. St Michael’s Mount is a must see or you could give Coasteering a go and scramble, swim and jump your way along the Cornish coastline.