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Guests have been collecting stamps at YHA hostels for more than 80 years – and the tradition continues.

Everyone loves the chance to reflect on where they’ve been. It was back in 1939 when the first YHA hostel stamps were issued, and they quickly became a point of interest. The stamps were designed as a way of giving guests a passport-style memento of their travels around the country, and were initially plain in design, before becoming more detailed and characterful in the 1960s and 1970s. A fresh stamp in your collection was a way of marking a new journey, and a new experience.

An updated stamp book has now been released to commemorate our 90th anniversary, meaning hostellers of all ages can begin their collections afresh. And as you’ll see from the assortment shown here, the stamps themselves come in various shapes and sizes, each reflecting something of their hostel’s personality. The YHA Helvellyn stamp shows an outline of the Lakeland peak it’s named after. The YHA Manchester stamp shows an interpretation of the city’s iconic modern logo. And the YHA Helmsley stamp, for reasons that may have been clear at the time of its design, shows a hedgehog on a penny farthing. Some mysteries are perhaps best left unsolved.

In truth, not knowing what image you’re going to be presented with when the ink-stamp hits your book is half the joy. The simple pleasure of collecting hostel stamps has always been a satisfying, no-frills way of recording adventures and keeping hold of travel memories. Long may it continue. 

To find out more about our commemorative stamp book, please visit our website.

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The Journey: 90th anniversary
group of people in 1943
Then and now

Then and now

We're celebrating 90 years of adventure for all. Take a look at then and now – our trip back in time offers a taste of how life has changed during YHA's history. 1930 Price of a pint of beer: Approximately 5p Take in the view: Blackpool Tower (158m/518ft) UK...

The Journey: 90th anniversaryCarry on stamping