“ Address: Malham / Skipton / North Yorkshire / BD23 4DB „
Malham YHA, is perfectly placed in the Yorkshire Dales to explore the glorious surrounding countryside whilst still being at the heart- right next to the pub, in fact - of a picture-postcard village. As it's on the Pennine Way, many a weary foot has crossed its threshold.
It was designed by John Dower, one of the most important names in the quest to establish National Parks in Britain.
Malham YHA is a purpose-built Youth Hostel made up of two buildings. One has the self-catering, members' kitchen, accommodation, showers and toilets and the other houses reception, the dining room, a quiet reading room, a TV and games room, more bedrooms, showers and toilets. There's also a drying room so you can have everything 'toasty' for the next morning.
I stayed at the hostel two years ago for two nights over the May Spring Bank Holiday, with my husband and three daughters. We booked a family room, which was a 6 bedded bunk room. It was a fantastic place to use as a base and had a lovely atmosphere.
We could check into our room after 5pm. So, we parked in their car park headed off for Gordale Scar and returned later. If you want to do this, arrive early as the car park only holds 15 cars. The wardens - a couple, with fantastic local knowledge- were very friendly and welcoming and gave us a couple of keys for the room, to enable the kids to have their own key should they need it. They were more confident than I was of their ability to keep a key in their possession for more than a day or two, obviously!
Our room was basic, having three sets of bunks with shelves and a reading light. There was a sink, plenty of hooks and enough storage for all our clothes and rucksacks. Having said that, we had a spare top bunk to put these on. If I'd have been travelling independently, sharing the room with five other individuals, I might have thought differently.
I didn't sleep very well the first night because of the nightmare that was the YHA sheet sleep or sleep sheet whichever way you want to say it. Thank goodness they have listened to the, what must have been gazillions of, suggestions to get rid of the things. Now you are greeted with a duvet cover, two pillow slips and a bottom sheet to make your own bed. You have to strip it too on the day you leave. Pity the YHA haven't got rid of that bit, I hear you say. I agree totally. Having to make your own bed is a bit of a bind, but it's in the spirit of youth hostelling and it gave my kids a worthwhile job to do!
The part of the hostel where we stayed was looking a bit tired in the décor, but overall it was clean and fit for purpose. We used the hostel as a base and therefore only spent a couple of hours after dinner watching TV and playing a game of cards before being zonked to be honest.
As you are in the centre of the village, with a pub next door and another establishment within staggering distance, you don't have to stay in the hostel for an evening meal, but we chose to because it was cheaper for us who have to watch our pennies. And what we ate was mighty fine, I can tell you.
We booked a table for a certain time and it was set beautifully when we arrived. You have to collect your own food from the hatch and take your dirties to the kitchen where someone, God bless 'em, washes them for you.
At Malham there was a menu to choose from: four starters, six main courses -including veggie options -and four desserts. The average cost for a starter was £2.00, a main course £5.95 and a dessert £2.50. There was also a set three course meal for £10. The menus are changed periodically to offer variety for any longer stays. A range of soft drinks, wines and beers are available from the 'bar' (this is the servery actually) to accompany your meal. Because they have a license to serve alcohol, this means that you can't bring your own into this part of the hostel. I'm not sure about the self-catering building though. This might be worth asking about if you plan to go in with a crate of beer. Wouldn't want you being thrown out!
At breakfast time we could help ourselves to cereals and tea/coffee/fruit juice. Hot food was served from the hatch and again you had to take your dishes to the kitchen. Toast and croissants were also available.
Packed lunches were in two sizes, standard and bumper. These were made up of a sandwich, from a selection that they offered including egg, ham, cheese and tuna, with various extras. You also got a carton of juice, some flapjack, a piece of fruit, a biscuit or crunchy bar and a bag of crisps. Bumper packs had two sandwiches that were huge bread cakes like door stoppers. Certainly sorts the men from the boys.
The shower and toilet facilities were excellent: plenty of space to get changed in, refreshingly hot showers and hooks for your stuff. There was even a little fold down seat in one so you could take a load off!
Toilets were kept clean and fresh throughout our visit and even in the loo there were reminders of how you can help save the environment. I think the YHA are turning me into a tree hugger!
The drying room is more than adequate. It has plenty of rails and racks for all your wet stuff as well as utility sinks for any hand washing you might need to do and for those with a domestic compulsion, an actual washing machine.
Some facts and figures about the hostel:
Our room cost us £72 a night back in 2007. Prices have since gone up, but the going rate for individuals is anything from £15.95 for an adult and £11.95 for under 18s. Having just checked on the website, a family room for 6 is £87.95 per night for the Sat/Sun of this year's May Spring Bank Holiday. That's room only.
Payments can be made using your credit or debit card. They don't accept Amex.
The hostel can accommodate up to 82 people all year round, (but I'm not so sure about Christmas Day) in a variety of rooms/dorms including:
1 room with 2 beds
4 rooms with 4 beds
1 room with 5 beds
6 rooms with 6 beds
1 room with 7 beds
2 rooms with 8 beds
Reception is open between 7 and 10 in the morning and between 5 and 10.30 at night. Doors are locked at 11.00 sharp, so there's no staggering back after closing time I'm afraid.
You can hire bicycles from the hostel, store your own safely away and there is a cot available to hire if you have a baby in tow.
Our kids loved to just sit in the tranquil garden and enjoy a few minutes peace listening to the birdsong and watching the apparently resident bunny, before the next instruction from their dad. He likes to think he's in control, you see.
Some practical information now:
You can't miss the hostel as it's next to the Lister Arms - a great local pub with a great local pint, according to my better half.
If you're arriving by bus:
Pennine bus 210 or the Postbus (don't you love that you have to get the post bus) from Skipton to Malham village. From the bus stop you have a 100m walk, but past the pub, funnily enough! Check this information as bus companies are likely to change their routes or numbers.
Skipton is 12 miles away and Settle 7 miles. Then it's the bus link from Skipton or taxi from either.
By Car Turn off the A65 towards Malham - these are B roads.
I used Google maps to help us arrive without threat of divorce and I have to say, the roads are OK. They are narrow and windy in places but on the whole you can pass another vehicle without too much difficulty.
If you fancy a long walk to or from the hostel to or from another one, you could try
Kettlewell, which is 10 Miles away
Ingleton, and one of the three peaks, 14 Miles or
Slaidburn, is 14 miles away too but a different 14 Miles away obviously or you'd end up in Ingleton!
You can find the hostel on Ordnance Survey Map Number no 98
Grid Reference: SD901629 for your GPS
There's lots to see in the local area including Malham Tarn, Malham Cove, Janet's Foss Waterfall and Goredale Scar.
Every year at Spring Bank Holiday you can experience the Malham Safari, which is a treasure hunt of various homemade models, creatures, animals and general works of art. These are often larger than life size and are quite inspiring. In 2007 we saw a life sized tardis and tens of mini ones either floating or carefully placed in the stream that flows through the village and a giant snake was slithering out of the pub wall. Aliens stood in several gardens and there were creatures hidden everywhere. This is definitely one for the kids and gets extremely busy but it's great news for the local pubs I should think.
If you're a keen birdwatcher when we went in May the RSPB had free viewings of peregrine falcons and their chicks. For information from last year, see http://www.rspb.org.uk/brilliant/sites/malham/
For info on the village and Malhamdale see http://www.malhamdale.com/
More info on the Malham YH see www.yha.org.uk/
Hope this has been of some use. Get yer boots on and get out there. Love it!
For cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts, this YHA is a great stopping place.