An unusual venue in East Yorkshire for hosting a family gathering
If cramped bedrooms, grubby bathrooms and messy kitchens are what come to your mind when you think of youth hostels, it’s time to think again.
The movement has gone up-market with luxurious, spacious and spotlessly clean properties available for exclusive hire.
YHA (Youth Hostel Association) has made 80 of its locations, from castles to cottages and lodges to mansions, available for booking by private parties.
Whether you are planning a celebration with family or friends, a weekend away with a club or society, or a hen or stag do, the exclusive hire scheme means you get the entire place to yourselves.
The Friary in Beverley, which has room for more than 30 people to stay, is one of the properties available for exclusive hire, and situated just yards from our home, it was the perfect place for a recent family gathering.
Visit: The Youth Hostel Association or call 0800 0191700
The historic building, hidden away down Friars Lane in the shadow of Beverley Minster, recently underwent a refurbishment costing more than £300,000, and it shows.
There are en suite bedrooms, a warm central heating system and well-equipped kitchen.
Characterful features such as the huge stone fireplace and wooden beams in the relaxing lounge have also been sympa- thetically restored.
Wander around the various staircases and the “Great Hall”, which we used as a dining area during our stay, and you will find beautiful examples of wall paintings which are hundreds of years old – a privilege to see.
The only clue that this is a YHA property are perhaps the bunk beds, but there are doubles, too, and plenty of room for a large gathering.
Outside is a walled garden, perfect for summer evenings, and an exhibition room on the ground floor tells the fascinating history of the Dominican friary – cited in the Canterbury Tales – for anyone keen to know more about its past.
There’s no television or wifi, so you have to make your own entertainment, and we planned ahead, ordering plenty of food and even installing our own cask of ale from a local brewery (Great Newsome) for the duration of our stay.
The Friary is a self-catering exclusive-hire property, but others offer a catering service, which can be arranged in advance, and some are licensed to provide alcoholic drinks if required.
Beverley town centre is also on the doorstep, but fully stocked up with supplies and with the surroundings of our 600-year- old holiday home all to ourselves, it was hard to find a reason to leave.
It might not be what you would expect from a youth hostel but the association’s principles of offering quality accommoda- tion in fantastic big city and rural locations remain – it’s just that with exclusive hire, you get to enjoy these benefits all to yourself, while at the same benefiting YHA, a charitable organisation.
So instead of booking a hotel or holiday cottage for your next event, take a look at what youth hostels are available, as they might be able to offer more than you think.