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We spoke to three outdoor enthusiasts to get their thoughts on dorms, dinners and day-walks.

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Sally Pemberton (pictured above)

Life member since age 12.

Countryside, city or coast? Youth hostels, for me, mean countryside. If I can see green hills in each direction, then this is bliss. Add a gurgling stream and it’s heaven.

Favourite Hostel? YHA Brecon Beacons, because of the lovely Fran. Last year we went twice – she was so welcoming that my kids became hooked on hostelling.

Earliest Hostel memory? Charlbury Hostel in my early teens. I remember shared chores, and being surprised that conversations between different ages were the norm. 

Ideal overseas destination? I’ve always wanted to visit Nepal. I am fascinated by what motivates mountaineers to attempt Everest and would love to write about it one day.

Perfect hostel dinner? After a tiring day I want ‘elbows-on-table food’. Lasagne, chips and salad, followed by apple pie and custard would do. A little glass of wine is rather lovely too.

An item to pack? A battery-powered stand-up lantern so we have exactly the amount of soft light that we want at bedtime.

A book for a rainy day? Winnie the Pooh, the original. He and his friends embrace chilly or rainy weather and never let it stop them exploring. Great advice for all of us!

Favourite day-walk? I used to live near Box Hill in Surrey: fields, forests and views combined with pubs, coffee shops and old friends. I’d always say a silent ‘thank you’ to the eccentric major buried upside-down on the hill.

Sarah Murphy

Manager at YHA South Downs.

Sarah, YHA South Downs


Countryside, city or coast? For me it’s coast. I’m learning to surf so anywhere near the sea is good for me, and who can argue with those amazing sunsets?

Favourite Hostel? Am I allowed to say my own? South Downs is amazing, right on the South Downs Way which is perfect for those long walks and cycle rides. 

Earliest Hostel memory? Coming to my interview, walking into South Downs and thinking “I want to work here!”

Ideal overseas destination? Where wouldn’t I want to go hostelling overseas?

Perfect hostel dinner? I love chilli. It’s the only thing I can actually cook, and I’m very particular about it. No-one beats mine! 

An item to pack? Err, toothbrush? No one likes morning breath… can I say that?

A book for a rainy day? I read trashy books that don’t require me to think too much, but on a rainy day I’ll watch a movie on my laptop – thank goodness for Wi-Fi!

Favourite day-walk? Walking from YHA South Downs up Itford Hill on a good day – the views are amazing. If you have it in you, you can keep going for lunch at Alfriston. 

Glyn Morton

Young-at-heart hiker and hosteller.

Climbing Crag Hill

Countryside, city or coast? Countryside by a whisker, particularly the hilly bits. Though I do love wild, rocky coastlines too!

Favourite Hostel? I’m going to plump for YHA Borrowdale, which surprisingly I only discovered last spring!

Earliest Hostel memory? A school geography field trip staying at YHA Eskdale in the mid-70s. It included the first of many ascents of Scafell Pike.

Ideal overseas destination? Tough question – Greek island-hopping would have to be a contender.

Perfect hostel dinner? I keep it ultra-simple! Oatcakes, crackers, cheese and soup, for example. Oh, the odd fruit scone (my guilty pleasure).

An item to pack? I wear a button-type light on string around my neck for those night-time bathroom visits!

A book for a rainy day? Something by Bill Bryson perhaps, or a good guidebook.

Favourite day-walk? The Snowdon Horseshoe really takes some beating.

Written by Ruby Higton

Here is Ruby and she is a digital marketer at YHA. She looks after all things social media, as well as content writing for and SEO. Her favourite YHA is YHA Perranporth.

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