Hats off to Hatters Hostels, Birmingham
A twinkling gem in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Hatters Hostels provides the ideal base to explore the UK’s ‘second city’. What better place to lay your hat and rest weary legs after a long day rambling through its revitalised streets?
My February visit was amidst those storms which relentlessly battered the UK, but my train gallantly pulled into Birmingham New Street undeterred. Despite my stand-off with gale force winds and torrential rain, finding the hostel from the station was straight forward, taking around 10-minutes. My umbrella dismantled, hair ruffled, and jeans drenched, I couldn’t have been more relieved to walk through the bright green entrance doors of the Hatters Hostel. Sat behind a reception appropriately adorned with love hearts for St Valentine’s, Sergey gave a warm hearted welcome, and checked me in to my fabulous double room with an en suite.
Maze-like, each corridor and stairwell bestowed hidden surprises; from trendy artwork, to random seating booths. Nestled on the hostel’s upper floors, the TV room, common room and kitchen provided perfect hang-out spots to meet other guests. Resembling something of a penthouse suite, the common room was one of the hostel’s best features. Its expansive windows offered impressive views across Birmingham, whilst a fresh décor with ample seating and table-space tempted visitors to chill out and share stories, or muster up a bite to eat. My fellow hostellers were a mix of nationalities and all very friendly. Lauren, a Hatters’ staff member, kindly took the time to show me Hatters’ recent extension next door. This additional accommodation had its own common room with wall art from local artists, a pool table and kitchen facilities – a swanky addition to the Hatters’ family.
Unexpected sunshine the following day made exploring Birmingham much more enticing. Exploding out of a period of industrial decline, the city now boasts an array of stylish contemporary buildings, from Selfridges to the very impressive Library of Birmingham – both exteriors adding a touch of originality to contrast with its neighbouring age-old architecture. Catch a show at the UK’s oldest cinema, Electric, or wander through the internationally acclaimed Ikon gallery. Step inside the Custard Factory, which isn’t as the name suggests, but does serve up a quirky cocktail of arts spaces, independent shops and alternative culture.
Birmingham is an old city emanating a fresh personality that has proudly shaken off its unpleasant 60s concrete façade. Hatters stands as a proud contribution, offering backpackers a cosy stay with dazzling facilities, and excellent staff. Sister hostels in Manchester and Liverpool complete the Hatters’ dynasty, offering a spectacular ‘three stop’ stint of exploration, frolics and funny British accents!
Visit www.hattersgroup.com for more info about the hostels.