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I've just returned from York after a short stay at the not very imaginatively named York Youth Hostel after finding it and booking it through Hostelworld.
The initial attraction was the price as my friends and I are all students and we just wanted a place to sleep and dump our cases in for a few days while we visited York. Prices vary depending on the time of year and the size of room and whether you are willing to share a dorm or want more privacy. Our room cost us £72, but as it was a 4 bed private room, it worked out as under £20 per person per night.
When I booked I was given directions to the hostel on my confirmation email and was told it was a mere 6 minutes walk from the train station. And certainly this seems about right. It maybe took us slightly longer as we were dragging cases and looking out for street names as we went, but it certainly was very close.
We checked in and headed to our room. The room was tiny with 2 bunk beds and two small chests of drawers and a fold away broken chair squashed into it and the walls were decorated in a rather unattractive pea green. However, you get what you pay for and the room was clean enough, although there was a bit of a musty smell in it. On exploration, we found some toilets at the end of our corridor and these seemed relatively clean, although the towels for drying your hands on were dirty and looked like they hadn't been changed in years.
However, when we left the hostel to explore York, we were pleasantly surprised to find out the its location was very central and all the main attractions of York were well within easy walking distance.
That evening, after returning to the hostel, it was time to try out their living room, which was suprisingly homely with comfy sofas, a TV and DVD player and a bookcase filled with a random assortment of books and games (admittedly, not very good books and games, but they were there nevertheless). There was also a seperate recreation room with table football, a pool table, table tennis and some old-fashioned arcade games and another TV and DVD player although this room was ice cold!
There was also a kitchen which we didn't use it, mainly because it contained no plates or cups etc. and a hot drinks machine. Sweets could be bought from the reception desk which was manned 24/7.
The next morning we all had to endure the wonderful experience of showering. The showers were on the ground floor and our room was on the first floor, and so we all had to trudge down with our stuff. There was one sealed off shower cubicle and the other showers were in a long row separated only by shower curtains. Thankfully the hostel wasn't busy and my friends and I didn't have to shower next to any strangers. The first shower in the row worked relatively well, but the rest of them had buttons like those found in most toilet sinks that have to be repeatedly pushed for a constant flow of water and had no way of regulating the temperature. They started off freezing and ended up boiliing, so I think I must have ended up taking the quickest shower in recorded history.
On our last day we had to check out by 10am, but weren't leaving York until 5pm, but luckilly relatively large lockers were available for £2, so we were all able to store our stuff and enjoy one final day exploring the city.
I've been to a fair few youth hostels in my time, and this one was by no means the worst. It was a lot cleaner than some others I've used and had quite good recreational facilities. The rooms were small, and some of the staff weren't particularly friendly, and although the showers were on a par with torture unless you managed to bag the one good one, price wise it would be hard to beat and I certainly can't complain about its central location. If I were returning to York on a budget ever again, this is certainly a place I would consider staying in again.