We’ve pulled together nine great hostels ideally placed for winter getaways in the UK. From city breaks to coastal hideaways, and from active outdoor destinations to cosy lounges with roaring fires, you’ll find the perfect off-season getaway.
YHA London Oxford Street
Centrally located for a city break
One of five hostels in the capital open throughout the winter, YHA London Oxford Street is perfectly placed for big-ticket attractions – the British Museum, for example, is just a 10-minute walk away. It’s also handy for winter walks around Regent’s Park and Hyde Park, and perhaps a bit of bargain shopping to boot. The perfect spot for a winter retreat.
Evocative seaside bolthole
Blustery walks along the wild North Sea coast, moody strolls around the gothic abbey that sits next to YHA Whitby, and cosying up in warm pubs playing board games… pretty much the perfect winter break in Whitby. This large Grade 1 listed mansion has plenty of private rooms and stunning views over the abbey and town.
YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe
Home among the mountains
The village of Grasmere sits deep in the valley made by the River Rothay and is surrounded by some of the most accessible hills in the Lake District: among them Loughrigg Fell, Rydal Fell and Fairfield. Bring a bike, bring your hiking shoes, bring a paddleboard… your next activity break at YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe is here. You may even spot a deer in the hostel’s leafy grounds.
YHA Castleton Losehill Hall
Peak District activity centre
YHA Castleton Losehill Hall is a large gothic mansion near some of the Peak District’s greatest hits. You’ll find numerous private rooms, as well as a Mews for YHA Exclusive Hire and Landpods: comfortable places to lay your head after exploring the hills, caverns and villages of the High Peak. The walk up to nearby Hollins Cross and Lose Hill, meanwhile, offers the best views in the National Park.
City of music, sport and culture
The most thrilling city in England? Manchester, it seems, has it all. Music from the city defined an era, the craft beer scene is fantastic and the cultural highlights are abundant. Then, of course, there’s the sport, and one of the most exciting food offerings in the country. All told, there are ample reasons to stay at YHA Manchester.
Explore the colleges and waterways
Come to Cambridge for the culture, the colleges, the Cam (ideal for winter punting) and – just to prove that not all its attractions begin with a ‘c’ – its world-class museums and galleries. YHA Cambridge, one of the oldest in the network, is a couple of minutes’ walk from the train station (make this a green trip), and recently enjoyed a £1.4 million makeover.
YHA Brecon Beacons
You don’t really see YHA Brecon Beacons until you’re upon it, and even then, this stone cottage seems to hide among the trees. The welcome inside, however, is as warm as its cosy lounge and log fire. The largest mountain in the Brecon Beacons, Pen-y-Fan, can be seen from the hostel – take the time to follow the ridge east, and away from the crowds.
YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass
Sat under Wales’s giant
YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass has a remarkable history. In its past life as a hotel, its guests included some of history’s most illustrious climbers, including George Mallory, who died on Everest. These pioneering travellers were, of course, attracted to the intricacies of Snowdon, and today’s hostel is perfectly positioned for walks around the biggest peak in Wales.
YHA Treyarnon Bay
Sea and surf on the Cornish Coast
Now, there are spectacular views from many hostels in the network, but YHA Treyarnon Bay – clinging onto a Cornish clifftop – could trump the lot. It’s a mere 50 metres from the sea, overlooking the namesake Treyarnon Bay on the north coast of the county, between Padstow and Newquay. As well as private rooms, it also has a buzzing café.
Read next: Be inspired by our guide on how to start climbing.