When an email popped into my inbox about visiting YHA Castleton Losehill Hall, in the heart of the Peak District National Park, I had images in my head of big dorm rooms and queues for the shower, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve never stayed in a hostel before, the closest I’ve come is a surf lodge, a few times in Newquay, with a large group of friends. I didn’t think a hostel was going to be a place I enjoyed staying in at 35, I like my sleep these days! However, intrigued, I clicked through the link and discovered my preconceived idea was pretty wrong.
YHA offers a total mixture of accommodation options. From the traditional bed in a shared dorm room, to double and even family rooms. The beds aren’t all bunkbeds and a lot of the rooms have an ensuite. But not only that, they are in some of the most beautiful parts of the country and have amazing value. Meaning it’s a great, accessible way to travel, no matter your set-up.
On my one-night stay I see a mix of solo, family and couple travellers, all happily using the facilities alongside each other, something you don’t always see.
YHA Castleton Losehill Hall is set in a beautiful restored gothic mansion, with roaring fireplaces and plenty of places to cosy up after exploring the outdoors. It also has facilities like washing machines and a drying room so there really is no excuse to get out locally.
Talking about exploring the outdoors. You can’t visit the Peak District National Park without seeing some stunning scenery and on our trip we were lucky enough to have a guided tour up the hills along towards Mam Tor.
After our walk and a quick freshen-up, we venture downstairs to one of the lounge rooms where we play board games together before heading through to the dining room for Supper Club. A concept designed to bring travellers together to chat about their day’s adventures.
The Supper Club is a comforting two-course meal for £9.95, perfect for warming and filling you up after a tiring walk in the nearby hills. There is plenty of talking, drinking and laughing in a group of people I had only met a few hours previously, apart from the lovely Emma pictured below who I already knew. We share travel stories and talk about our families and homes. It is a lovely relaxing way of meeting new people. So much so that we continued the chatting and game playing back in the lounge before sneaking off up to bed.
I stay in a 4 bed room consisting of two bunk beds, each with their own light and plug socket. There is a pretty good shower in a wet room and a separate toilet with the sink outside in the room. It’s basic but comfy and I sleep well after we stop chatting, despite forgetting my ear plugs. The bedding is provided but you do need to bring things like your towel and any toiletries. I also brought my slippers with me for inside, rather than my walking boots.
The next morning most of the group leave fairly quickly after a cooked breakfast, this time served in the communal dining room adjacent the kitchen. I spend some time exploring the extensive grounds and see the animals. So much space my kids would love! I feel completely comfortable on my own which I don’t always do when traveling solo.
Before heading home I decide to make the most of my time in the Peak District and walk into Castleton, which is full of cafes and independent shops, before driving to the Longshaw Estate, a nearby National Trust property. I had a hard time choosing where to go with so much to see and do locally.
My trip has totally changed my idea of staying in a YHA, so much so, that I’ve already got a few venues saved as possible destinations for a family trip to explore new parts of the country! I’ve even been eyeing up Ireland and in particular Ben Lettery a beautiful remote place, surrounded by horse riding trails, a lake and mountain hiking. Sounds pretty perfect!