Following the recent news of the YHA’s significant reduction in numbers, Independent Hostels steps forward to assert that hostelling is far from dead. With over 320 independently run hostels across the UK, Independent Hostels outnumbers the current YHA hostels and matches the heyday numbers of the 1950s.
While people’s expectations of hostels may be evolving, independently run hostels have adapted to keep pace with the changing landscape. There are hostels offering dormitory-style accommodation for those who enjoy sharing, as well as those providing private and en-suite rooms for those seeking privacy. From high-tech hostels with super-fast Wi-Fi and eco-technology to off-grid retreats perfect for unwinding, the range of options is diverse. Furthermore, while some hostels offer luxurious amenities at higher prices, there are many others where a bed for the night can be booked for £15 or less.
While the days of walking between YHA hostels may be dwindling, the Independent Hostel website showcases 50 long-distance routes that feature independent hostels along the way, providing alternative options for travellers.
Hostels offer a unique and special way to travel, often situated in breathtaking locations where they may be the only available accommodation. The essence of hostelling lies in sharing, whether it’s the communal self-catering kitchen, stories shared around the firepit, or tips on nearby walks, cycling routes, or climbs.
As one hosteller aptly expressed, “As a single traveller, there’s nothing so lonely as a hotel room and a breakfast table for one. I love the sharing of space and friendships that I get in hostels.”
The recent focus on the YHA’s challenges in Radio 4’s “You and Yours” programme failed to mention the thriving independent hostels, despite discussions with Sam Dalley, Director of Independent Hostels. Stephanie Fry, owner of Witherslack Cycle Barn in Cumbria, highlights the need to acknowledge the growing number of independent hostels, which cater to a diverse range of travellers at an affordable price.
David Hilton, an avid hosteller, also calls for recognition of the Independent Hostels Group’s efforts in preserving and maintaining hostel buildings. The network includes over 52 hostels that were previously affiliated with the YHA, along with many others that were never part of the organisation.
To discover more about independent hostels in the UK, visit: https://independenthostels.co.uk