National Forest Youth Hostel Review

We recently went away to YHA National Forest with our family and my best friend's family. We chose this hostel because it is equidistant from our houses! My best friend lives in south London and we are in North Yorkshire, so we had to find somewhere right in the middle of us! The journey down was a complete nightmare given that schools had broken up that day and we averaged 40mph for the entire journey of over 120 miles! Painfully slow.
YHA National Forest
When we arrived we were pleased to find a warm room with ample space for the four of us. It was late when we got there, so we put the children into bed and went downstairs with the baby monitor to wait for my friend to arrive. There was a real mix of people in the hostel, from a group of older women, to students in fancy dress, to women arriving for a fitness bootcamp, to a smattering of families with young children. My friend's family arrived at about 10.30pm, so we didn't get too much time to catch up on the Friday night, but we made big plans for the Saturday and agreed to meet again in the morning.

Youth Hostel Family Room

 The self-catering kitchen was smaller than in other hostels we have stayed in, but was very clean and well equipped and was never too busy. The fridges were also not too full and there was plenty of space to store our own food. On Saturday we met our friends down in the kitchen and had breakfast together. We had chosen to have a self-catering breakfast but my friend opted for the full English which looked amazing! After making up some sandwiches to take out with us for the day, we headed off for an adventure at Conkers, which is an award winning attraction in the heart of the National Forest. I will hopefully write a separate review, but we had a fantastic day there.

Self-catering kitchen

We arrived back from Conkers mid afternoon on Saturday and settled the children down to watch a film on the ipad. The communal living area is very large with lots of comfy sofas, a bar and the kitchen. There is a pool table and table football, along with children's toys in the corner. Even though the Youth Hostel was fully booked on Saturday night it didn't seem too busy.

Communal living space

There is also a smaller lounge upstairs which is a lot quieter and doesn't have a TV. It was nice to escape here occasionally when there were a lot of people in the downstairs living space. This was the first Youth Hostel we have ever stayed in which had an en-suite shower room. Usually you have to shower in small communal showers near your room, so this was pretty luxurious! It was great to be close to a toilet for the children too.

Communal living spaceEn-suite shower room

We made the most of the sunshine in the late evening before dinner, playing football at the front of the hostel and then playing Connect 4 on the giant set. Then we went inside to have our dinner. The food was fabulous and children eat for free (main course and pudding) which makes it amazing value for money. For seven of us to eat it cost £40 and some of us had two courses. I was really impressed with both the quality of the food and the price.

Giant connect fourBurger and chips

After dinner we got the children upstairs, showered and in to bed and then took the baby monitor downstairs to the bar to meet our friends for a few drinks. There was a great ambience in the living area as people played bananagrams, chatted with friends and generally chilled out. All of a sudden an alarm went off. As we were sitting next to the kitchen, we assumed it was limited to there, until we saw people getting up. After about thirty seconds we realised it was an actual fire alarm and it suddenly sank in that the children must be able to hear it too. I legged it up to their room and promptly realised my husband had the key. Luckily he wasn't far behind me and we got into the room to find two scared looking children. We grabbed a child each, reassured them and went out into the car park. Luckily the alarm stopped pretty quickly and we were allowed back into the building. We settled the children back down and went downstairs again. I didn't let go of the room key all night though and definitely learnt a lesson about being able to get to them. I was also impressed with the speed of the staff checking the hostel and making sure it was safe.

YHA National Forest

On Sunday morning we got a well-deserved lie-in with the clocks changing, before we went down for breakfast. As with all youth hostels, we then needed to strip our beds and bring the linen downstairs. Checkout was at 10am, so we checked out and then headed out for a final morning together. We had a fantastic time at Moira Furnace, even though it was closed to visitors. We ended up in a kids playground playing offground tag. I had forgotten how much fun that game is. All seven of us had an amazing time haring around trying to catch each other before we had to say goodbye and head home to the north.

We had a fantastic stay in YHA National Forest. The staff were really helpful. Food was fantastic and the rooms were clean and warm. The only downside was that it was quite noisy from inside the rooms and once people started getting up in the morning it was hard not to hear people talking in the room next to us or the corridor. In spite of this, I would highly recommend this youth hostel to other families. We really did have a wonderful time and aside from the fire alarm, the children loved it too! If you want to have a look at what this youth hostel has to offer, click here.

Sunset outside the Youth Hostel

Disclosure: We paid for this ourselves and were not asked to write a review.