“ Address: High Close / Loughrigg / Ambleside / Cumbria / LA22 9HJ „
I've stayed in lots of hostels, both YHA and independent but High Close (Langdale YHA) is one of my favourites. When I was thinking about writing this review it was funny because there are lots of negatives but I still love the place despite (or because of) them!
O.k so I'll start with the negatives. It is a hostel and an older one at that so it is far from 'posh', it would benefit from a lick of paint in places and it's basic. You may have a long corridor to walk down to the bathroom from your bedroom. The hostel is quite high up and so if you go adventuring from the hostel, you're likely to have a steep climb uphill to get back.
So why do I like it? It feels homely but yet quite grand. It has a lovely covered balcony round the edge of the hostel where you can sit and read and watch the many rabbits in the large grounds. It's in a very lovely location although it is not really within walking distance of anywhere to eat - well you could walk to the Brittainia at Elterwater (which does fantastic food) but you'll probably be hungry again by the time you get back up the hill. My advice would be to drive to the Brittania and then head back and have a couple of drinks at the (licenced) hostel.
Another reason why I like high close is that it's one of the cheaper hostels - this weekend we had a four bed room just for the two of us and paid £34 for the night (this is the YHA member price). Some of the other hostels charge much more than this.
There is some fantastic walking or cycling to be done from the hostel and you've got the popular towns and villages (e.g Grasmere and Ambleside) not far away although at High Close you may feel a million miles away from anything.
The hostel never seems overly busy either which means the kitchen isn't packed with people and you don't have to wait for a shower. This weekend (August) there was enough people for it to have a good atmosphere but not too many for them to get under your feet. The walls seem quite thick as well and the building is quite big so I've never found it to be noisy when you're in your room.
It would to be a great place to take kids. It has a large lawn and grounds for them to play, self-catering facilities, a bike shed, a games rooms (table tennis), board games, books and much more.
In summary, I'd highly recommend High Close so long as you can accept the fact it's an older hostel and is quite remote.
Close to the Langdale Pikes, the YHA Langdale hostel is an ideal base for walkers wanting to explore the Langdale valleys.