Bizarre & British: alternative places to stay in the UK

Last modified on June 10th, 2015 at 8:51 am

June 05, 2015
guest blogger

British hostelling isn’t all about country houses (gorgeous as they are) and purpose-built traditional hostels – YHA accommodation can include everything from recycled shipping containers to 800 year old castles! Here is our top pick of weird and wonderful places to stay in England and Wales, each with their own unique personality and quirky surprises. Don’t worry; you’ll still get the authentic hostel experience and all the facilities you’ve come to expect from YHA. Book a stay and experience Britain at its exciting and eccentric best!

YHA Boggle Hole

Ahoy there! A glorious fave for families and kids at heart, YHA Boggle Hole sits in a smuggler’s cove and is everything a dream seaside holiday is made of. From the fun pirate-themed décor (a rum in The Brigg dining room anyone?) to the treasure trails and dressing-up boxes, buccaneers of all ages find it easy to lose themselves here. Spend the day building sandcastles or fossil hunting on the beach on your doorstep, or relaxing in the old mill building’s Quarterdeck Cafe. The renovated hostel is looking more shipshape than ever, incorporating a new Crow’s Nest annexe – an environmentally friendly timber building with stunning sea views.

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YHA Eden Project

With the iconic Eden Project biomes just minutes away, this on-site Snoozebox hostel is perfectly in tune with its sustainable and eco-friendly surroundings. Its modern en-suite bedrooms are made from recycled shipping containers, each with their own TV and facilities – the little village of Snoozeboxes is as unique as the Eden Project itself! Explore the indoor rainforest of the famous Cornwall attraction then relax in the bohemian heated marquee lounge. With Eden Sessions concerts all this summer, how about booking a festival-inspired bell tent? These luxurious tepee-like tents are perfect for glamping at the heart of nature.

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YHA St Briavels

Want a taste of real British history? Expect a welcome fit for a King or Queen at YHA St Briavels – an 800 year old castle! The building is remarkably well preserved, with many fascinating historical features intact from its rich heritage (ask for a tour of the hostel and prepare to be amazed). You can sleep in an old prison, complete with 16th century graffiti from convicts, or uncover the spooky secret dungeon under the Oubliette room. Or join guests for a medieval feast in the candlelit banqueting hall and fall in love with the atmosphere of the past. And did we mention it’s supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in England?

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 YHA Snowdon Pen-Y-Pass

If getting away from it all is your number one requirement, you can’t get much more remote and rural than YHA Snowdon Pen-Y-Pass. An idyllic, award-winning eco-friendly lodge nestled in the foothills of mount Snowdon, spend a night at the base camp which has been the haunt of climbers through the centuries, before making your ascent up the nearby waymarked trails. A unique rural gem, this hostel is 1000 ft. above sea level and won the HI Sustainability Fund in 2013, seeing a huge and impressive renovation with the unspoiled local environment at the forefront of its conscience.

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We’ve removed booking fees on all our hostels meaning more adventure, for less: start exploring.


5 Comments. Leave new

These are all brilliant! I want to stay at all of them! What is the best way to get to YHA Snowdon Pen-Y-Pass from Liverpool? Is there a train or bus?

If you are writing an article on remote hostels or featuring the Lake District I would reccomend you write about Helvellyn and Honister Pass. Have stayed in both hostels over the last six months and both are fantastic.
At Honister, a member of staff, Simon I think regularly cycles downhill for about six miles (the easy bit) to the nearest town for provisions, fills his panniers with shopping and cycles back uphill for six miles to cook the evening meal for hungry hikers. What a star!

Hello Kristin – we’re glad you like them! You can get a train or bus to Llanberis from Liverpool – and from Llanberis you need to catch the #96 bus, which stops right outside the hostel.

Bus one way seems to be cheaper at under £20 per person, and it only takes around 2 hours.

Enjoy the amazing hiking and scenery, and let us know what you think of Pen-Y-Pass.


Thanks for the recommendation Karen – we need to get in touch with these guys and would love to speak to Simon about his hard graft to keep this lovely rural hostel running!


Please put an indication of where these hostels are! We come from NZ and have used a number of hostels in UK in the past; I am familiar with many places in UK but not the smaller places. I would make a note of these for my next adventure in UK

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