Destinations, Spring Guide

Carless and carefree trips to our national park properties

National parks are just brilliant, aren’t they? They’re the great breathing spaces, full of fresh air, cool water and green things. We’re lucky enough to have more than 60 properties in national parks across England and Wales. And we want to make sure everyone can come to visit, even if they don’t have access to a car. Because if you get to us by public transport it’s not only environmentally-friendly and economical, it’s also part of the adventure.

Here are some routes to our national park hostels that are carless and carefree…

YHA South Downs

South Downs by train

YHA South Downs is located (you guessed it) in the rolling hills of the South Downs national park. The hostel is just a five-minute walk from Southease station in Sussex, which is 25 minutes from Brighton or one hour and 20 minutes from London, both direct. Opened by HRH the Queen in 2013 after a £3m investment, this modern hostel is snuggled in the middle of substantial gardens with plenty of local walks nearby. If you’re looking for a bigger adventure, check out the camping and glamping options available at YHA South Downs. Book yourself into a premium bell tent – a spacious tipi-like structure complete with futon beds, soft furnishings and a log burner. Or try our brand-new Landpods which are raised off the ground for added comfort and have retractable roofs so you can finish your day in the national park with a night under the stars.

YHA Hathersage

Peak District by bus or train

A great base for all manner of Peak District pursuits, Hathersage’s many shops specialising in outdoor gear hint at this small village’s status as a mecca for adventurers of all ages and abilities. YHA Hathersage sits in the centre of the village, minutes from the start of the Charlotte Brontë literature trail or the oversized grave of Robin Hood’s sidekick, Little John. The journey to the village from Sheffield is very easy, it’s accessible by bus, train or, for the truly adventurous, by bike. The 271, 272, 273, 274 and 275 buses run from Sheffield to Hathersage and there’s a regular Northern rail service between the two.

YHA Newport Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Coast by bus and train

The Pembrokeshire Coast national park is a quiet, peaceful haven of clifftop walks and seaside towns. YHA Newport Pembrokeshire sits in the shadow of the Preseli Hills and within walking distance of Newport Sands beach. The small coastal town is just a 50-minute bus ride on the T5 from Haverfordwest train station, which sits on the Marches line (Llinell y Mers) just one hour and 25 minutes from Swansea.

YHA Ambleside

Lake District by bus and train

One of the first national parks in the UK, the Lake District’s swooping fells and glittering lakes are hard to beat. In fact, the Lakes’ stunning vistas have inspired lonely cloud wanderings, Middle Earth battles and the tales of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter. YHA Ambleside sits less than 20 metres from the shores of Lake Windermere. Imagine that, opening your curtains in the morning to the sun bouncing off 10 miles of bright blue lake. You can get to YHA Ambleside on the 555 bus from Kendal – a 50-minute journey that’s quite ridiculously pretty from the top deck. The 555 is hourly Monday – Saturday, and every two hours on Sundays. A five-minute train connects Kendal to Oxenholme, which is on the West Coast Mainline.

YHA Malham

Yorkshire Dales by bus

YHA Malham is the perfect base to explore the delights of the Dales. With dramatic limestone scenery just a stone’s throw from the village centre, Malham in the Yorkshire Dales national park has few equals anywhere in the UK. A short walk will take you to Janet’s Foss, a magical waterfall said to be the home of Janet, Queen of the Fairies. There are regular buses to Malham from Skipton – during winter the 75, 210 and 211 will take you to a stop just three minutes from the hostel from Monday – Saturday. From 21st April the 873, 884 and 881 operate on Sundays too. Skipton is easily accessible by rail, with both Bradford and Leeds only a 40 minutes’ journey.

YHA Rowen

Snowdonia by train, bus and foot

A lovely rural retreat high in the Welsh hills, YHA Rowen is a traditional Welsh farmhouse packed full of character. The hostel is one of the most remote in our network, making it the perfect base for exploring the hills, mountains and wild scenery of Snowdonia national park. You can get to YHA Rowen by taking the train from Chester to Conwy, which takes 45 minutes to one hour 20 minutes depending on the service. You can break up the journey with a stay at YHA Conwy, or you can head straight for the number 19 bus to Llanrwst from stop M outside Conwy railway station. After a 20-minute bus ride, get off at the post office in the tiny village of Rowen and then set off on foot for the hostel, which is just over a mile’s walk on the winding country road.

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