5 Unique UK Hostels
Tyler Curtis heads off the beaten track and encourages you to add 5 unique UK hostels to the mix this summer…
1. Gumber Bothy, Arundal
Have you ever wished that the constant beeping of cars plaguing inner cities would one day suddenly stop? Have you a craving to pack your bags, leave your material life behind, and just escape for a few days? Do you harbour a secret fantasy in which you live on a sheep farm? Okay, so perhaps you haven’t given that last one much thought, but most of us dream about leaving the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind sometimes. Nestled away in the charming countryside of Arundel, as part of the 3500 acre National Trust Slindon Estate, Gumber Bothy Bunkbarn and campsite offers an idyllic getaway for those whose perfect break centres around hiking, cycling, and basking in nature. Swap your iPhones, TVs and cars for quaint bunkbeds, an abundance of wildlife, and enough beautiful walks to keep you strolling for days.
2. Wandering Duck, Manchester
Fancy manoeuvring a little more than your suitcase this summer? Well then, step aboard the Wandering Duck, a 69ft narrowboat-come-hostel, which cruises along the canal network linking the beautiful Peak District to England’s very own concrete jungle, Manchester. This is an entirely unique concept for those with a true sense of adventure, and with an intimate number of just eight travellers per tour, passengers moor often than knot (sorry!) come away with a close group of friends. Although your meals are provided and your tours are guided, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll be seated the entire time. There are plenty of opportunities for you to assist with steering the boat and operating the locks, so be prepared to muck in and become a part of the crew. If you can’t bear to stay still and enjoy cruising at a chilled pace, then the Wandering Duck is the trip for you.
3. Pant-yr-Athro, Camarthen, Wales
Atmospheric, hospitable, and undeniably one-of-a-kind, this Mexican-themed casa is a burst of excitement in Carmarthen, the supposed birthplace of Merlin the Wizard. Ideal for groups of friends and solo travellers, Pant-yr-Athro welcomes everyone with open arms. As if that wasn’t appealing enough, the hostel’s fascinating décor was inspired by its owner’s very own adventures around the globe, so you’re in the hands of a fellow expert traveller. Despite claiming to be Wales’ oldest town, Carmarthen is far from sleepy. Get ready to trek, cycle, and horse ride your way to the spectacular beaches this country is famous for, making sure to check out the breathtaking views from Llansteffan Castle along the way!
4. Findhorn Village Centre, Moray, Scotland
A quick ‘Google Images’ search of ‘Findhorn Bay’ or ‘Moray Firth’ will show you exactly why Findhorn Village Centre and Hostel should be the next place you stay. Find yourself completely immersed within the local community, with Findhorn’s two function rooms even hosting coffee mornings and pilates classes each week. With plenty for both yourself and the local villagers to enjoy, the friendliness of the staff only adds to its charm. Located along the gorgeous Scottish coast, exploring Findhorn’s scenic surroundings should be the next item on your bucket list. Catch a water taxi to the extraordinary Culbin Sands or go dolphin-spotting along the Moray coast – the world is your oyster in this enchanting old fishing village.
5. Sparrowhawk, Dartmoor
Roaring pub fires, muddy boots, and mysterious rock formations are just a few of the things which might spring to mind when thinking about Devon’s magical moorland. Tucked away in the wilderness of Dartmoor National Park, the very homely and eco-friendly Sparrowhawk offers just that – and more! A quaint converted stone stable, this hostel ticks all of the boxes for friends and families looking to stray from the beaten track (and straight into the path of Dartmoor’s adorable wild ponies). Not only are there boundless opportunities to cycle, ramble, and picnic, but Sparrowhawk’s huge collection of maps and brochures can also guide you in the direction of a few lakes – ideal for a spot of wild swimming. Wind down after an excitable day with a BBQ in the hostel’s courtyard, or relax with a cider in one of the nearby pubs and mingle with the locals. But, whatever you do, don’t forget to bring a torch!