The Youth Hostel Association got in touch with me and asked if my family and I would like to review one of their youth hostels, any one we could choose. I dismissed the idea immediately, I’m not a snob by any stretch of the imagination but I had no intentions of taking my children to a grubby run down youth hostel full of all sorts of strange individuals sharing one large room. Out of curiosity I decided to have a google and actually see what was on offer and gosh did I get a shock!
The youth hostels on the website were a million miles away from what I had pictured in my head, they were stunning building in fantastic locations and with private and family rooms. I instantly regretted my initial reaction and got in touch and asked if we could go ahead and please review a hostel, preferably in the Lake District.
Fast forward a few weeks and we are on our way to Ambleside to stay in the Youth hostel over looking Lake Windermere for the night. It took us a little while to locate the building as I honestly thought it was a hotel and a posh one at that, so we circled a few times until we saw a sign and realised that actually that gorgeous building was in fact a youth hostel.
We parked the cars and admired the gorgeous view, it literally is on the lake shore and the views are just breath taking. I went to check in whilst my husband unloaded the car and unfortunately I was told we had been booked into the wrong room, it was a family room but without an en suite. I asked if we could be moved but (not surprisingly) they were full so there was nothing we could. I wouldn’t normally be too worried about an en suite but with a 5 year old and a 2 year old who both wake in the night for the loo I wasn’t looking forward to midnight dashes across the landing to a shared toilette, but we were two hours from home and I wasn’t going to let it stop us having fun.
We were shown to our room which comprised of two sets of bunk beds, one with a double on the bottom the other with two single, a sink in the corner and that was about it. A simple room, great to use as a base whilst you go off exploring.
That night we decided to eat in the youth hostel bar and I was glad we did. The bar could give any hotel bar a run for its money, it was clean, smart and the staff were lovely. We ordered our food and enjoyed a drink on the water front whilst we waited and then enjoyed a wonderful family meal. the food was delicious and reasonably priced with a great selection of children’s meals to choose from.
If you don’t fancy eating in the restaurant there is a self catering kitchen where you can cook your own meals which is fab if you are trying to cut down on price or if you are staying in a large group.
The next morning we were heading out for the day so we didn’t stay for breakfast, although it did look great. We did however notice that at the far end of the car park is a little hut and you can book to do various water activities during your stay, making this an even better location, if possible.
Overall, what can I say, I am a youth hostel convert and I would absolutely 100% look at staying here again or trying out one of the other hostels for a cheap yet wonderful family night away.
Edit – we have now stayed with the youth hostel association a few times including in a teepee and in Oxford city centre.