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Adventure on a Budget - 9 Fantastic Independent Hostels in The Lake District

Lots of people would love to visit The Lake District more often but often most of your holiday budget goes on accommodation. I love Independent Hostels in The Lake District for lowering the cost, whilst still being in the perfect location for adventure.

Gone are the days of dingy rooms, dirty beds and no other facilities. Just because you are in a hostel doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort and quality.

In my list below there really is something for everyone.

October 11, 2022


Derwentwater Independent Hostel

Right on the shores of Derwentwater, this hostel is the perfect place to head out straight from the door. Private rooms, dorm beds and camping pods are all available to stay in, depending on your budget, as well as whole hostel hire for those wishing to take a large group.

The hostel is set up to be a comfortable place to come back to after your day of adventure, to warm up, spend time with friends (new & old) and make the most of being here in The Lakes.

You could swim or paddleboard from the door on the lake, walk up Catbells, or down into Borrowdale Valley, full of ancient woodland, beautiful rivers and towering mountains. The options are endless.

Elterwater Hostel

A small hostel, right in the heart of The Lake District and the Langdale Valley. This is a real gem when it comes to independent hostels in The Lake District.

You can take up to 37 of your friends with you and enjoy the modern and friendly accommodation if you’d like to book it out or, alternatively, you can book out individual beds in a dorm or a family room to enjoy. The whole building is full of charm and really reflects some traditional Lake District building skills.

The building itself has been used to accommodate people for many years. It housed workers who were involved in building the Flying Boats on Windermere – Just 5 miles away. It was also a former YHA hostel but is now family-run.

Everyone who works there loves the valley, the hostel and everything about Elterwater and The Langdales. You can get recommendations for local walking, running, swimming, mountain biking and more! Coming to a place like this means you could stay here all week and never need to use your car.

There are unlimited walks, all with amazing views and fantastic for all different abilities. One of my favourites is a fully accessible route from Elterwater, to Skelwith Bridge and back. A wonderful route following the River Brathay with plenty of stops for a picnic. Alternatively, pop into Lanty Slee, Elterwater’s newest (and only) cocktail bar named after the legend ‘Lanty’ who made his own legendary Moonshine in local caves.

Wayfarers Independent Hostel - Penrith

Penrith is a beautiful market town just outside the national park, but full of charm and has fantastic connections by train out of Cumbria. Penrith is park of the cycling C2C routes and is a fantastic base for exploring the local area, so why not book an independent hostel.

When booking you can choose from a private room, dorm bed, exclusive hostel or apartment. The apartment is a private twin room with an en-suite and kitchenette if you prefer that extra bit of privacy on a budget. Don’t forget, this is still a hostel so prices are from £73 a night! The rest of the hostel is just as reasonably priced and there’s a full kitchen, plus a drying room and bike storage.

The Wayfarers Hostel is clean, and comfortable and has all the amenities you would need for coming back to relax and sleep after a week of adventures in the mountains.

Almond Lodge - Helvellyn

You can’t get more remote of a hostel than Almond Lodge, nestled right in the shadow of Helvellyn. This adventure hostel is a former school hostel and has been completely remodelled for adventurers looking to escape.

The track that leads up to the hostel has enough views for a lifetime and every window you look through has something different to offer. The hostel sleeps up to 28 and is bookable for exclusive use only. It has a large, fully functional, kitchen, dining room, lounge/snug, map and planning rooms, bathrooms and bunk rooms. One of the bathrooms even has a bath – a bit of a luxury in a hostel, but absolutely required after a day on the hills.

This hostel is perfect for families and groups of friends to get away and enjoy the surroundings. You are 1.2 miles up the hill from Glenridding and on the main footpath up Helvellyn, The Lake District’s 3rd highest peak. This is an adventurer’s paradise!

Lakes Hostel, Windermere

A modern, smart and well-situated hostel in Windermere. There is the option to book a room, the top floor apartment, or hire out the whole hostel – up to 19 beds, you can stay in the hub of a wonderful Lake District Town, on a budget.

The hostel is set up very well for families, groups of friends or families. Each room is equipped with hand-built bunk cabins or a double, or single, bed with comfortable duvets and pillows so you can rest up ready for another day of adventure.

The open-plan kitchen is perfect for making your own meals or you can head into town and eat at one of the restaurants where you can get 10% off for staying at Lakes Hostel. Lakes Hostel can also recommend local chefs who can come and cook for you if you are hiring out the whole building. There’s nothing better than having someone else cook for you after a great day hiking!

Bring your four-legged friend as well to make your holiday complete and plan your walk, run, swim, sail or hike for the next day from one of their communal spaces.

New Ing Lodge

Overlooking the Far-Eastern Fells and just a stone’s throw from Haweswater, New Ing Lodge in Shap is a family-run hostel there to make you feel comfortable whenever you can.

You can tell that a lot of love and care has gone into every corner of New Ing Lodge and that is evident from the quality of the rooms, the helpfulness of the staff, the fantastic facilities and more. The lodge is a former 17th-century listed farmhouse and now is a 10-bedroomed guesthouse and exclusive holiday let.

You get all the pros of a hostel – amazing price, accessible for all, exclusive hire, cooking your own dinner in the kitchen – whilst feeling like you’re at a wonderful guesthouse on the perimeter of The Lake District. The in-house bar is a personal favourite, featuring local beers to try whilst you stop over.

You can also choose to camp at New Ing Lodge on their field, with the use of the house’s communal spaces and bar. The Lodge is directly on the walking Coast to Coast route and is the perfect stopover on your journey. Don’t forget to try Shap’s award-winning fish & chip shop before you leave! This is one of my favourite independent hostels in The Lake District.

In Shap, you can explore the local hills, and the abbey or venture further into Haweswater, Ullswater or the North Pennines. You’re in the perfect place to hop just off the M6 and explore everything in the local area.

Lowside Farm Camping Barn

Situated just off the A66, Lowside Camping Barn is in the perfect location to make the top independent hostels in The Lake District. This camping barn is fully equipped with everything you need to be comfortable after your days of adventure.

This sleeps up to 14 people in a smart, spacious bunk room and a kitchen with an oven, microwave, toasters and plenty of space to sit and plan your adventures. When booking it works out at just £30 per person, per night when there is 8 or more people. That is fantastic value for money!

You are set in the shadow of Blencathra, one of the most impressive mountains in The Lake District, and one of my favourites.

Thorney How Independent Hostel, Grasmere

Thorney How is in an idyllic location, Grasmere, and perfect for your group escapes adn retreats. Staying at Thorney How is ‘the perfect way to encourage your clients to open to a deeper heart and mind space.’

Set just out of the village, in the Easdale Valley, only a stone’s throw from Easdale tarn and Helm Crag. You are in the perfect location to slow down and reconnect to nature. You can book Thorney How for your work trip, group booking, yoga retreat or adventure retreat. Everything you need for all of that from your front door!

The property itself is a traditional Cumbrian farmhouse and was one of the founding YHA hostels. In 2011 it was sold and Thorney How became the beautiful retreat location it is today. The extensive refurbishment of three buildings is a wonderful space to host retreats and group getaways.

15 Immaculately decorated rooms to make you comfortable and feel at home, even when staying in The Lake District. This is really is luxury, on a larger scale, in a fantastic location perfect for swimming at Easdale Tarn, one of my favourites.

Kendal Hostel

Kendal Hostel is a great example of an independent hostel in The Lake District. 14 bedrooms ranging from 2-bed to 14-bed dorms means there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a family on a budget, independent travellers, couples or groups looking for a place to stay.

There are communal areas like a lounge, kitchen to cook and dining room for all guests to enjoy. Kendal Hostel is modern and well equipped to be a base for your adventures and activities in The Lake District and beyond.

Kendal itself is bussing with activity, a busy market town with a lot going on. You’re only 15 minutes from Windermere and 20 minutes from the South Cumbiran Coast. You’re also in the town that has the biggest climbing wall in Cumbria, some of the best coffee shops and Kendal Castle and Kendal Museum, a fantastic day out.

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October 11, 2022