Despite recent news of the YHA reducing its numbers, the independent hostel industry wants to make it clear that hostelling is far from dead. With over 320 independently run hostels across the UK, the Independent Hostels network is thriving and offers more options than ever before, surpassing the current number of YHA hostels and even rivaling the heyday of the YHA in the 1950s.
While people’s expectations of hostels may be evolving, independent hostels have kept up with the changing landscape. There are hostels that provide dormitory-style accommodations for those who enjoy sharing, as well as hostels with private and en-suite rooms for those seeking privacy. From high-tech hostels with super-fast Wi-Fi and eco-friendly features to off-grid hostels that provide a peaceful escape, there is a diverse range of options available. Some hostels offer luxurious amenities at higher prices, while many others provide affordable options, with beds available for £15 or less per night.
Although the days of walking from YHA hostel to YHA hostel may be dwindling, the Independent Hostel website showcases 50 long-distance routes that include a selection of independent hostels to choose from.
Hostels offer a unique and special way to travel, often located in stunning and remote locations where they may be the only available accommodation. The essence of hostelling is all about sharing, whether it’s the communal self-catering kitchen, engaging in conversations around the firepit, or receiving tips on local walks, cycling routes, or hiking trails right at your doorstep.
As one hosteller aptly put it, “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.”
Unfortunately, a recent radio programme failed to mention independent hostels while discussing the YHA’s challenges. This oversight overshadowed the significant growth of independent hostels, which offer unique experiences and are becoming increasingly popular. These hostels provide an economical option for a special type of traveller.
Stephanie Fry, owner of Witherslack Cycle Barn in Cumbria, voiced her disappointment, saying, “Unfortunately, it came across very negatively, focusing on the YHA closures, with no mention of the blossoming independent hostels that are taking over in much larger numbers. There are so many fantastic independent hostels in the UK to visit, albeit fewer YHA ones.”
David Hilton, an avid hosteller, emphasized the importance of acknowledging the Independent Hostels Group’s efforts in preserving these buildings as hostels. The network consists of over 52 former YHA hostels and many others that were never affiliated with the YHA. It is crucial to ensure that as many hostels as possible continue to serve travellers in the future.
For more information about independent hostels in the UK, visit: https://independenthostels.co.uk