YHA (England & Wales) is set to begin a phased re-opening of its youth hostels from Friday 17 July.
Online bookings are now being taken for youth hostels in England for individual bookings in private en suite rooms or private rooms with sole-use showers and toilets.
Pods and cabins are also available in a number of YHA locations, with pitch up camping to follow soon.
For family and friends groups meeting Government guidance and looking to re-connect after lockdown but wanting a more secluded, socially distanced location, YHA has also made 63 of its much-loved youth hostels available for Exclusive Hire.
Usually only available over the winter months (November – March), for the first time ever YHA has made properties, like the amazing Grade-I listed YHA St Briavels Castle in Gloucestershire, YHA Black Sail in Cumbria and YHA Tintagel in Cornwall, available for exclusive hire during the summer. With available properties having between three and 20 bedrooms, the charity anticipates high demand for its summer season Exclusive Hire offering.
Enhanced cleaning and safety procedures will be in place at every hostel and guests are encouraged to maintain social distancing and use contactless payment wherever possible.
The limited re-opening of the 153-strong network follows extensive consultation with 10,000 YHA customers during lockdown about their intentions to take a UK break in 2020. Eighty-nine per cent of respondents said they would seek to visit the coast or countryside.
More than 80 per cent of respondents said that they are hoping to take a short UK break later this year, with August, September and October being the preferred months.
The youth hostelling charity has ensured that prices remain as affordable as possible, mindful of the financial situation many people now find themselves in. Stays in three-bed private rooms start from just £29.00 a night and from just £39.00 in cabins and pods.
Dogs are also welcome at YHA’s Exclusive Hire, cabin and pod accommodation.
Exclusive Hire over the summer starts from £299 per night, with a minimum two-night stay. YHA has introduced a new 10% discount for week-long Exclusive Hire stays and also £99 Sunday nights on selected properties when added onto a two-night Exclusive Hire stay.
In line with the latest Government guidance YHA is unable to offer beds in shared dorms following the re-opening of the network. Additionally, in youth hostels offering private and en suite rooms, shared facilities such as kitchens, drying rooms, laundry facilities, locker rooms and lounges will remain closed for the time being.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis YHA closed its hostel network on 23 March offering all customers with bookings made before 17 April for arrivals up to 16 July a full refund. YHA was praised for doing ‘the right thing’ by independent consumer rights champion Which?
James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England & Wales), said: “It’s tremendously exciting that we are able to open our doors again. Like so many other organisations, the coronavirus pandemic has hit YHA hard. But 90 years of history has shown us that YHA will recover and play a key role in helping people reconnect with each other.
“Our focus is on making sure everyone feels safe in our spaces when we open our doors again, and to follow the latest Government guidance. For once in our 90 year history we are encouraging people not to be overly social when in our hostels however I do hope that people will make use of the fabulous outdoor space surrounding our properties to connect with nature, heritage, family and friends.
Visit www.yha.org.uk for full details of all available hostels, COVID-19 procedures, prices and to make a booking.