Last reviewed with no updated 2018
The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) believe travel, adventure and discovery transforms young lives and embody this by offering a unique range of accommodation and activities in rural, coastal and city locations. Members of The Scout Association have the opportunity to enjoy over 150 superb town and country locations in youth hostels, bunkhouses, campsites and camping barns throughout England and Wales.
Membership and Benefits
The YHA and The Scout Association have a partnership that means members of The Scout Association will pay special prices when they stay as a group and discounted prices when they stay as individuals. Find out more about these special prices and discounts. The benefits listed only apply to YHA England and Wales but can be accessed by all members of The Scout Association.
Camping and Cabins
Not only do YHA offer superb hostel accommodation but they also have some fantastic sites available for camping at some of their very best locations. If you fancy sleeping under the stars, why not try one of the YHAs camping and cabin options? As a camper at one of the YHA sites, you’ll either have your own dedicated facilities or be able to make use of the hostels. Whether that's cooking up a storm in a self-catering kitchen or just freshening up after your night under the stars, you'll feel every bit as welcomed as the hostel guests.
Whilst most hostels don’t have any age restrictions, there may be some hostels that are unsuitable for young children or guests with disabilities. It is always good to double check beforehand by checking the relevant hostel page on the YHA website. You must be over 16 to stay in a YHA hostel without an adult. Under 16’s can stay with YHA as long as they are travelling with an adult. Under 12’s can stay if travelling with an adult, but not in a dorm room. This makes it a great activity for Scouts and Explorers, but remember to check the rooms available to ensure that you are meeting the requirements of the Yellow Card.
There are nearly 300 youth hostels in the United Kingdom offering a range of accommodation in the countryside, towns and cities. They are administered by three Associations: YHA England and Wales (YHA), the Scottish YHA (SYHA) and the Hostelling International Northern Ireland (HINI).
The bedrooms are normally furnished with bunk beds and all bedding is provided but you need to take your own towel. In Northern Ireland most rooms are en-suite. Most Youth Hostels have a self-catering kitchen with all equipment provided. Most Youth Hostels in England and Wales, and many in Scotland, also provide cooked meals at reasonable prices.
The Youth Hostel Association has its own safeguarding policies and procedures, which you should ask about prior any visit to a hostel. When making enquiries you should ask the hostel what facilities and accommodation are available. For example, not all hostels will have separate accommodation for adults and young people or private rooms. You need to make sure you have made appropriate arrangements for sleeping and privacy that fall in line with The Scout Association’s guidance.
The Hostel Network
There are over 230 hostels in England and Wales. In the main walking areas, hostels are sufficiently near together for a tour to be planned walking from hostel to hostel. In other areas, walkers may need to make use of buses or trains to reduce the distances walked, but cyclists can virtually tour the whole country. There are also Youth Hostels in key city locations such as London, Manchester and Bristol.
There are over 70 Youth Hostels in Scotland. Here again they are concentrated on the popular mountain areas, with hostels more sparsely situated over the rest of the country.
Northern Ireland has three main hostel chains, one circling the Mountains of Mourne, a second along the Antrim Coast Road and a third in the Sperrin Mountains. There are also a number of City located Youth Hostels in Belfast, Armagh, Newcastle, Eniskillen, Bushmills and White Park Bay.
Full details of hostels are given on the respective websites. It is not compulsory to book accommodation in advance, but it is advisable to do so to be sure of a bed, especially when travelling with groups.
To introduce members to a variety of exciting activities, YHA England and Wales has licensed activity centers offering multi-activity holidays suitable for all abilities. Similar holidays are arranged by the Scottish YHA and these include skiing. Full details can be obtained from the Scottish YHA.