Destinations, Hostels, Issue 10

9 superb hostels perfect for exploring National Parks

Our National Parks, Britain’s breathing spaces, are landscapes for everyone. These are spaces where the nation walks, relaxes and plays. There are no less than 15 in England and Wales, all of them areas of dramatic natural beauty,  abundant wildlife and rich cultural heritage. More good news? YHA has more than 50 hostels within their borders. Here are some of our favourites.


YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall
One of two YHAs in Northumberland NP
A gem. YHA’s newest hostel is located minutes away from Hadrian’s Wall, inside a landmark development built in partnership with the Northumberland National Park. The Sill houses an 86-bed hostel and a state-of-the-art Landscape Discovery Centre. It’s also in Northumberland Dark Sky Park.


YHA Brecon Beacons
One of four YHAs in Brecon Beacons NP
The Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales encompasses one of the country’s most singular landscapes, a vast mountain range that falls away dramatically in the north. This is a cosy hostel set in a 19th-century farmhouse. It has unbeatable views over the mighty Pen y Fan mountain.


YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe 
One of 19 YHAs in the Lake District NP
England’s most mountainous National Park is synonymous with world-class walking. Its fells have inspired artists, poets, walkers, and writers for hundreds of years. This property is located a stroll away from the village of Grasmere, and is also a favourite with coast-to-coast hikers.


YHA Exford
One of two YHAs in Exmoor NP
The north Devon and Somerset coast is characterised by high cliffs, ancient woodland and extensive moorland, collectively giving home to everything from deer and ponies to otters and rare butterflies. The hostel is based in an old Victorian house in the middle of the National Park, and perfect for walking, horse riding and mountain biking.


YHA Grinton Lodge
One of five YHAs in Yorkshire Dales NP
The views alone from YHA Grinton Lodge are worth the trip. Set high on a moor, it overlooks Swaledale, one of the most bucolic valleys in the vast Yorkshire Dales National Park. As well as welcoming coast-to-coast walkers, the crenellated hostel also attracts mountain bikers, trail hikers and visitors to nearby Richmond Castle.


YHA Manorbier 
One of six YHAs in Pembrokeshire Coast NP
The Pembrokeshire coast, which runs along the south-western edge of Wales, is one of the UK’s most sweepingly beautiful regions. YHA Manorbier is in as good a position as anywhere to highlight the fact. This recently refurbished cliff-top hostel has panoramic views over the sea and a great family-friendly campsite.


YHA South Downs
One of three YHAs in South Downs NP
The country’s most recently designated National Park stretches along the south coast from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east. This four-star hostel in Southease, near Lewes, is popular with walkers on the South Downs Way, as well as ramblers and cyclists drawn to the rolling hills of this corner of England.


YHA Hartington Hall
One of ten YHAs in Peak District NP
The Peak District National Park covers a diverse swathe of central England, from the wild Dark Peak in the north of the park to the more gentle limestone of the White Peak in the south. This 17th-century manor house is full of character – expect oak panelling, log fires and plenty of history – and it’s also a leaping-off place for walks in the White Peak.


YHA Helmsley
One of five YHAs in North York Moors NP
As National Parks go, the North York Moors is a crowd-pleaser, from the coastal drama of the North Sea to the cultural heritage of the area’s towns and cities. Those towns don’t come any prettier than Helmsley, and this hostel is the ideal spot for exploring here and further afield. And walkers take note: it’s at the start of the Cleveland Way.

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