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YHA Hawkshead (Cumbria)

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County: Cumbria / Hawkshead / Ambleside / Cumbria LA22 0QD / Tel: 015394 36293 / Fax: 015394 36720 / Email: hawkshead@yha.org.uk.

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      21.02.2009 23:56
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      Great if you like it cheap and cheerful

      Hawkshead Youth Hostel is situated between the village of Hawkshead and Grizedale Forest.

      It has all the usual facilities that you can expect from a Youth Hostel including adequate parking, a great welcome, a good drying room for all your wet gear, self-catering facilities, games and TV room and fantastic food if you're eating in.

      This consists of full cooked English breakfast, a tasty picnic lunch in two sizes and a three course evening meal with most food locally sourced. Breakfast is around £4, lunches are £4-£5 and you can spend about £13 on a 3 course extremely filling evening meal. It's about eight months since we last went and prices may have changed in that time. Beer,wine and spirits are available at the bar which means you can not take your own alcohol into the hostel.

      There are a range of dormitory sizes (from 3 -9 people) including some with ensuite showers. These are basic bunk-bedded dorms with a sink, or two as well as individual bunk lights and storage for each person. Toilets and showers are along the corridor and are usually hot with enough space to change comfortably in.

      Thank goodness YHA have listened to their customers and have ditched the dreaded sheet-sleep which was a total nightmare to negotiate, especially if you had difficulty sleeping. Now each bed has two pillowslips, a sheet and a duvet cover provided. You still have to make your own bed though, they haven't got rid of that one yet. When you check out(checkout time is 10am) you strip your bed and put it in the laundry hopper.

      If you're the quiet type there's a lounge for reading and relaxing, while if you want to keep the kids entertained you can spend an hour or two in the telly and pool room. The grounds are lovely too with plenty of wildlife to spot, or you can take a leisurely walk into the village( take a head torch for coming back in the dark though, there are no lights on the road),

      Grizedale forest, which is a mile up the road offers bike hire, a variety of graded walks, sculpture trails, an adventure park and the most thrilling adventure of all - Go Ape, which is probably reviewed somewhere else on the site.

      Further afield you have Beatrix Potter's house and a few miles away there is the chain car and passenger ferry that takes you to Bowness on Windermere.

      We have stayed there twice now as a family of five and found that the prices are reasonable about £15 per person per night, for room only and the dorm we stayed in (8 bedded ensuite) was very comfortable. The first time we stayed we had to move from Langdale at short notice. The warden sorted the move quickly and efficiently and the weekend really couldn't have been better. The staff have excellent local knowledge whatever your interests and can book a bed ahead at a nearby hostel if you are travelling independently.

      Another thing worth remembering is that we had a family room for 5 people. If you are travelling on your own, you will be sharing your dorm with several complete strangers, so no good if you're attached to single en-suite room facilities.

      The hostel locks it's door at 11pm so if you're an all night partier, it's probably not the place for you either.

      If you're after a reasonably priced, safe and comfortable place to stay while in the Lakes then Hawkshead fits the bill, although if you're expecting anything other than basic, don't bother.

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