You’re reading our series Summer’s Not Cancelled, celebrating summer in this new normal. From rediscovering nature and cherishing time with friends and family to virtual festivals and unforgettable staycations – summer’s still here, it’s just different.
Many of us are hesitant to board a plane right now, so holidaying in the UK is all the rage, as we rediscover the beauty on our doorsteps (or a short drive away). You’ve got the location down, but what about the accommodation?
Hotels might be out of budget for some people and many B&Bs are booked up for the season. So have you thought of staying in a hostel? The affordable alternative gives you the option to enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep at a fraction of the price.
Hostels are often in stunning parts of the countryside, providing a sanctuary for weary hikers or backpackers. And before you start picturing large dorms of people in bunkbeds, know that most have the option of private rooms, too.
Facilities can range in luxury, but expect to find toilets, showers, and kitchens. Bear in mind some facilities might be closed off – so it’s worth checking before booking. And if you’re worried about sharing or being around others, don’t be. All hostels have taken appropriate actions to ensure they’re following all government guidelines.
We spoke to Hostelworld – and did our own research – to find some of the funkiest hostels in the UK.
Formerly a seaman’s hostel, this traveller’s palace is a design-forward spot that makes even the trendiest Berlin stay quake in its boots. Expect stylish retro-inspired decor throughout, with beautiful vintage finds.
It has a huge bar, courtyard, cosy hangout area in the lobby, book swaps, table football, yoga classes and free amenities. Setting the standard for hostels in the capital, you’ll feel welcomed into the hostel’s sociable atmosphere with a free beer down in ‘underground’ WomBar. Oh, and did we mention there’s private access to the 9th floor lounge and balcony, with fabulous views of the city?
Prices from £23 per night in a dorm and from £94 per night in a private room.
This beauty is located in a recently refurbished Victorian building, among popular hangouts such as Piccadilly Gardens and the Northern Quarter — think vintage shops, concept stores, and gastro pubs serving a range of craft beers.
Selina NQ1′s bright Bohemian rooms will bring a smile to your face. There’s plenty of lush green plants, mixed pieces of antique and repurposed furniture, and local artists’ work on the walls. The rooms bigger than most (so you can stretch out and let loose), meaning they’re perfect for families, couples or even solo travellers. The hostel has an on-site coffee shop, a library, fusion restaurant, and a cocktail bar to get your holiday started.
Prices from £56 per night in a private room.
Who needs Tokyo when you can get your own Asian-style pod hotels in the heart of Edinburgh? This former courthouse and jail is now a cool, luxury hostel that looks like a Pinterest dream with modern furniture and sleek designs.
Many of the original elements are still preserved, letting you stay in the holding cells that have been transformed into plush private rooms, or in your own pod inside the old courtroom.
Prices from £18 per night in a dorm and from £60 per night in a private room.
Edinburgh is a must-see for history lovers, with castles, palaces, and monuments galore. So why not spend your night somewhere just as historic? This brand-new hostel was once the Royal Edinburgh Military office, with a top-secret military safe left behind that has been transformed into a contemporary new private room.
Designed in conjunction with local escape room specialist Escape Reality, the room features the original six-inch thick steel door, safety deposit box wallpaper, and has a mini-safe where you have to crack a code and break into it to win goodies. Sadly, there won’t be a secret stash of cash on arrival, but how many people can say they’ve had a unique stay in a secret safe?
Prices from £13 per night in a dorm and from £56 per night in a private room.
5. SoHostel, London
If you’re looking for somewhere right in the heart of the action, then you can’t get much more central than SoHostel. It’s situated in London’s buzzy Soho area and decked out with bright, contemporary decor. This hostel also has a salon space to get ready, arcade games room, as well as a spacious bar-lounge.
The best thing? All of SoHostel’s profits go towards helping London’s homeless, so guests can sleep well knowing they’ve done a good deed and potentially helped someone turn their life around.
Prices from £28 per night in a dorm and from £95 per night in a private room.
6. YHA Bath, Bath
Live out your dreamy European summer getaway in Bath. This stunning Italian-style mansion offers acres of private gardens for you to roam around and beautiful views over the city.
It’s in a prime location near art galleries and historical hotspots, such as the medieval Bath Abbey, the 18th-century Pulteney Bridge, and Roman Baths – a must-stay for all the history buffs out there. Currently, rooms using shared toilets and showers will be allocated a specific toilet and shower for sole-use for hygiene reasons.
Prices from £39 per night in a private room.
Okay, so this might not be trendy, as such, but it’s pretty damn cool. There’s off-the-grid – and then there’s Black Sail hostel in Cumbria. Siting deep within Cumbria’s precious pockets of wilderness, the only way to access this hostel is on foot and the nearest road is 2 ½ miles away. Be prepared: there aren’t any electric sockets and limited mobile phone coverage. But who needs a phone when you have breathtaking views of the Lake District right in front of you?
If you’re hungry after a long day of hiking, there’s a full-time member of staff who will cook you delicious meals. They’re currently open for an exclusive hire-basis only, with contact-free check-in. The hostel sleeps up to 16 guests, so it’s worth getting a group (at a social distance) and booking the whole place out.
Prices from £99 per night for the entire place.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.