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St. Briavels Castle (Lydney, Gloucestershire)

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County: Gloucestershire / St. Briavels / Lydney / Gloucestershire GL15 6RG / Tel: 01594 530272 / Fax: 01594 530849 / Email: stbriavels@yha.org.uk.

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      19.07.2006 20:39
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      Beautiful and where else do you get to stay in a castle for under £20. Current YHA staff are inept.

      This is an amazing place to stay. It's also in a wonderful location, two miles from the main road and completely peaceful and quiet.

      It is fairly accessible by public transport from provided you are willing to walk a little.
      The 69 bus runs regularly between Chepstow and Monmouth from Monday to Saturday and more infrequently on Sunday. You can get a timetable from the bus driver. Just ask the bus driver to drop you at Bigswear Bridge on the side that the youth hostel is located. You will then have to walk to the hostel 2 miles away. (and it is an uphill walk)
      When I rang the hostel the current hostel assistant was not aware that buses ran frequently and told me that there was just one bus a day.

      The village is how you imagine a traditional English village should be. However please be aware that there are no shops and one pub.(I also noticed a tea room but this was closed when I was there.) The pub does really good food but this is only available at certain times of the day.

      The hostel also does food......theoretically. There is a menu posted by reception but when I asked whether I could have dinner, the hostel assistant launched in to a sorry tale about how isolated she was and how the village was so remote that she had problems getting supplies. (Sounded more like Alaska than 2 miles from the main road) She then advised me to go to the pub as it was "more sociable". I live in London and had come to the countryside to escape from "sociable" but felt sorry for her so agreed to go to the pub for dinner. Later I noticed that the hostel kitchen was working furiously to produce a variety of meals and when I looked in the dining room I found tables full of merrily eating guests. I was ever so slightly annoyed at this.

      The following morning, after a wonderful night's sleep I arrived in the dining room to find no milk left for my cereal. I was told that there was no milk left in the whole castle and the hostel assistant again launched into the "we are so remote" tale. I asked her whether she had planned sufficiently given that it was Saturday and the hostel was full (I counted at least 40 people in the dining room). She told me that she had used "at least 10 pints of milk this morning already". . . . for 40 people...all having cereal. Hmm!

      OK I know I've ranted a bit but it is beautiful and well worth a visit. Just don't listen to the current hostel assistant. And bring your own food and use the members kitchen.

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