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YHA Hawkshead


Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0QD


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0800 0195 465

Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturday: 9am - 5:30pm

About YHA Hawkshead

If a luxurious-feeling cheap school trip is what you're after, then look no further than YHA Hawkshead, based in beautiful Ambleside, Cumbria. This grade II-listed regency-style building overlooks the tranquil Esthwaite Water, and is perfect for walking and cycling breaks alike in and around the nearby Grizedale Forest. This hostel also offers camping pods - a more upmarket approach to the great outdoors!

UK school trips, student tours and educational visits can feel free to explore the surrounding Beatrix Potter country from Hawkshead, with easy access to the southern fells. We're also only two miles away from the exciting Go Ape complex, where study tours of all ages can climb 30 feet in the air and use suspended platforms to swing through trees and tackle high wire rope bridges.

Of course, the hostel is only five miles from Windermere, your field trip can try their hands at a number of things, from relaxed lake cruises to wind surfing, kayaking and canoeing - and even powerboating!

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Action Adventure

Quality outdoor experiences and events run by experienced tutors and instructors, in stunningly scenic locations, at fair and affordable prices.

Our new Lake District Action Adventure residential package run in association with Mere Mountains provides you with real outdoor activities on a two, three or four night residential stay.

All prices are based on full board accommodation and inclusive of transport from the hostel to the activity locations.

Package Details
The new Action Adventure package consists of a half day of team development around the hostel on the day of arrival, one full day of activities (usually split into two half day sessions), and a half day of adventurous activities on the day of departure with one additional full day of activities on a three night stay and two additional days on a four night stay.

Available Activities at YHA Hawkshead

Half Day Team Development Sessions

Choose from:
Team Exercise, Fire Lighting, Bushcraft & Shelter Building, Wood Craft & Whittling or Navigation/Orienteering

Adventurous Activities (A two night stay would include three activities: plus two for each additional night)

Canoeing: Tandem open canoes are a great way to get out and about on the water. Learn some new skills and have fun taking part in a range of games. You will be guided by our expert staff and given instruction on all aspects of water safety.

Cat-Canoeing: For longer trips, greater stability and speed we can catamaran the boats, and even add a sail. We use mainly Windermere and Coniston lakes.

Kayaking: Uses single closed cockpit and dual bladed paddle rather than the open profile of a canoe. Once again, this activity gives your students the opportunity to learn new skills and have fun taking part in a range of games. You will be guided by our expert staff and given instruction on all aspects of water safety.

Canoe Bushcraft: Learn the basics of how to light a fire and some simple cooking techniques then paddle off across the lake to create your own wilderness experience.

Raft Building: You will be required to construct a raft from barrels, spars and rope. Your team will need to design a raft that is fast and robust. Our instructors will give helpful hints and advice to ensure knots are tight, but the focus of the session will be on creativity and team working.

Ghyll Scramble: Call it what you will, it is definitely NOT a walk! A great way to experience the Lakeland scenery, scrambling up a spectacular mountain beck: traverse deep pools, climb small waterfalls, swim and jump in. Water levels obviously affect this activity and the fun is adjusted accordingly.

Stream Scramble: For younger groups we recommend a woodland stream scramble. Working together you can boulder-hop your way to the top, with small cascades and bridges to go under. While the stream option is not as extreme as a ghyll scramble, it still provides younger students the opportunity to get wet and into the water.

Mountain Walk: A guided walk adapted and made suitable for the age and ability of the group. You can also develop your navigation skills or learn to use GPS or map reading skills.

Rock Climbing: We offer a number of options including the real thing, learning on one of South Lakeland's scenic outcrops or trying longer multi-pitch mountain routes in the heart of the Lake District. We also have a mobile climbing tower which can be taken to the hostel and, for the cooler months, we use Lakeland's well developed indoor climbing walls.

Abseiling: A popular and thrilling activity - walking off a cliff backwards and living to tell the tale. We have the skill to give you the best experience, with sites ranging from small easy angled slabs for youngsters to steeper longer drops for the more adventurous.

These descriptions are for guidance only. Once a booking has been confirmed, Mere Mountains will contact the school or group leader regarding activity choices and suitability.

Please contact our Group Reservations team for more information and guidance. They can be reached by calling 01629 592637, and are available 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday.





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PE and Outdoor Activities

Here, pupils get access to a full afternoon of fun team-building activities in the hostel grounds, such as Swamp Crossing, Walking Planks and Marble Run. Orienteering and archery are also included on this great deal. After dinner, there is an evening activity and shop time, and the following day offers a hearty breakfast, more games and problem-solving exercises with experienced staff, closing with lunch.

  • Levels: KS2
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The Youth Hostel Association is working with the Field Studies Council (FSC) to provide fieldwork and educational packages for groups staying at our hostels in the Lake District. The FSC is an environmental education charity dedicated to providing informative and enjoyable opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to discover, explore and understand the natural environment.

The FSC staff running your course are all highly trained and experienced in teaching field studies to all ages and abilities. With knowledge and experience of a wide range of subjects and curricula, their field teachers will contact you prior to the course to discuss your programme and will tailor your course to meet the needs of your group and exam specifications.

KS2 Click here for more details
Available sessions:
Skills for the Hills, Discovery Walks, Contrasting Locality Studies, Adaptations of Living Things, Environmental Games and River Studies

KS3 Click here for more details
Available sessions:
Team Building, Tourism Investigation, Adaptations of Living Creatures, River Studies, Glaciation, Footpath Erosion and Discovery Walk.

GCSE Click here for more details
The following course options are designed to fit with the topics undertaken for GCSE Controlled Assessment. During the course, the students will develop their geographical knowledge and understanding, apply their learning to the real world through fieldwork and gain a wide range of geographical skills. They will also develop their personal, learning and thinking skills through independent enquiry, team-working and reflection.

Available options:
River Studies, Tourism (honeypots), Tourism (footpaths)

A-level Click here for more details
The following course options are designed to complement the subjects covered at A level. During the course, the students will develop their geographical knowledge and understanding, apply their learning to the real world through fieldwork and gain a wide range of geographical skills. They will also develop their personal, learning and thinking skills through independent enquiry, team-working and reflection.

Available sessions:
Geography Skills, River Environments, Cold Environments, Nature of Ecosystems

These are the general topics covered, FSC will contact all school groups and tailor sessions to the individual school and syllabus requirements.

All sessions are risk-assessed and led by the Field Studies Council’s experienced teaching staff who all have specialist knowledge and fieldwork expertise. All education staff hold first aid qualifications and are trained in health and safety and group management. The Field Studies Council holds the Quality Badge from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, which is awarded to organisations which have demonstrated that they consistently deliver high quality teaching and learning experiences and manage risk effectively.

Packages are available as two or three night options, although there is the opportunity to add a further day of FSC provision or even mix and match a little education and adventure by adding a day of adventurous activities with our adventure provider in the Lake District.

Packages start from £90pp for a two night stay.

Please contact our Group Reservations team for more information and guidance for which course can be studied at specific locations and for any details regarding self-led geography residential trips. They can be reached by calling 01629 592637, and they are available 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Levels: KS2, KS3, GCSE, A-Level
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Introduction to Ecological Skills
The students are introduced to some of the essential techniques and theories involved in ecology by carrying out one or more mini-investigations, such as determining optimum quadrat size, appropriate sampling techniques, and comparing biotic and abiotic factors in two contrasting areas (for example grazed versus ungrazed, dark versus light, etc.). This package is suitable for AQA and OCR syllabuses at A-Level, and for all syllabuses at GCSE.

Freshwater Study
The students undertake an investigation into two different freshwater habitats by the random sampling of invertebrates and the abiotic factors that may influence their abundance and distribution within a freshwater habitat. This package is also suitable for AQA and OCR syllabuses at A-Level, and for all syllabuses at GCSE.

Woodland Study
The students will carry out an investigation to compare different characteristics of a woodland to determine the effects of management strategies on the ground and field layers of flora. Students will record a range of abiotic factors such as light intensity, humidity and temperature, as well as the plants that appear in this habitat. This package is suitable for AQA, Edexcel and OCR syllabuses at A-Level, and for all syllabuses at GCSE.

Succession Study
The students will carry out an investigation into succession on either a lithosere or hydrosere (site dependent). This will involve carrying out a line transect on a scree slope or from the edge of a pond or lake, investigating the changes in biotic and abiotic factors of the lithosere/hydrosere.This package is suitable for AQA, Edexcel and OCR syllabuses at A-Level, and for all syllabuses at GCSE.

All these packages are delivered in partnership with the FSC (Field Studies Council), allowing you to use our Lake District hostels as the perfect location for your A-Level and GCSE Biology Field trips.

  • Levels: GCSE, A-Level
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Eco Explorer

NEW FOR 2015: Our eco-explorer package covers important aspects of geography, science, history and PE requirements for the new National Curriculum. The range of activities has been designed to allow you to tailor the course to suit the individual needs of your school. Also included is a choice of evening activities specially designed to enhance the package and provide opportunities for your students to develop new skills and create natural crafts as a souvenir of their stay.

Potential Activities

Bushcraft Choose one session or both sessions as a half day option

Fire Lighting – 1 ½ hour activity
Using traditional methods, each of the children will be given the opportunity to build and light a campfire. Children will be under strict supervision and taught how to respect and achieve this difficult, but essential, bushcraft skill. Why not make the most of your new found skill and take part in an evening campfire?

Shelter Building – 1 ½ hour activity
Using the wealth of natural materials available, children will be given the opportunity to build a natural shelter. How will they make it comfortable, which structure will offer the most support and can they make it weather and water proof!

Orienteering - 1 ½ hr session
This orienteering session takes place on a challenging course covering our extensive grounds.

Guided Nature and Sculpture walk – half day session
A guided nature walk straight from the hostel. Grizedale Forest is home to a range of species including rare mammals and birds. Lucky (and quieter) groups might catch a glimpse of the local red deer, the last naturally afforested group in England. The woods are also home to roe deer, badgers, red kites and barn owls. Our walk led by YHA staff will take the group deep into the forest where they will be able to investigate the wildlife and follow the sculpture paths in this wonderful setting. An alternative route up Latterbarrow is also available providing panoramic views across Lake Windermere towards Ambleside and the Helvellyn and Fairfield massif beyond.

Minibeast Discovery – 1 ½hr or half day activity
Using at least two habitats (log pile, stream or meadow), children find and identify minibeasts in each of the habitats, identifying adaptations of each creature. Finds can be recorded using worksheets if desired – this session has great links to the science curriculum and can be delivered as a 90 minute session focussing on discovering minibeasts in their habitats or extended to a half-day session by including a number of curriculum related games such as Wooly Wormo, The Predator – Prey challenge and the Evolution Game (a card based game covering all aspects of evolution, adaptation and life cycles).

Sensory Activities – 1 ½hr session
After a 10 minute introduction to our senses and how they work, children complete a series of games and challenges that require them to use all of their senses. This activity finishes with Nightline challenge.

Environment Games – 1 ½hr session
A number of environmental based games teaching children about the environment and how animals survive.

Evening activities
Our Eco Explorer package also includes an evening session to keep the action going until bed time. Activities are designed to keep the narrative of the stay going and included activities like Build your own Bug Box or taking on the bird nest challenge where children try to make their own nests with a slight catch.

Other evening options could include: Environment Art or Natural Sculptures, Campfire, Wide Games, and outdoor cooking.

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Bolt Ons

Bolt On Activities and Evening Sessions
At YHA we like to cater for all the needs and requirements of the schools and groups that stay with us on a residential experience – that’s why we can offer a range of Bolt On Activities designed to entertain and engage.

Our Bolt On Activities are great for school groups staying on a self-led residential experience but are looking for some extra activities for their groups – these activities also make a great addition as an evening activity helping you to keep your group active from dawn til dusk. Our trained staff can lead your group through a range of activities that will enrich the residential experience.

Bolt On Activities available at YHA Hawkshead
The vast majority of our educational sessions can be booked as a bolt on activity and some of these sessions can be tweaked to run as an evening activity. Additionally we are able to offer some fantastic evening activities for your group on-site and for just £3.50 per person + VAT.

So why not add a guided evening walk, stream investigation, and an archery session or team building activities to your package?

Also within walking distance from the hostel is Go Ape at Grizedale Forest, a great treat for students of all ages.

We can also offer a half day and full day of adventurous activities to add to your stay via our delivery partners Mere Mountains. For more information please view the Action Adventure tab.

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Access Statement

At YHA Hawkshead we strive to cater for everybody.Unfortunately none of our bedrooms or washrooms is accessible to modern standards.

We have:

  • Two steps into the main building and also into the Courtyard Lodge
  • Ground floor bedrooms in the Courtyard Lodge
  • En-suite rooms

For more information please download the full access statement here (108KB)

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Alex Rider

YHA Eskdale is one of the hosts for our new exciting YHA Alex Rider Spy Academies. For more information on the new package including different package options, activities, the free copies of stormbreaker and free certificates of achievement please visit our Alex Rider page.

Available packages at YHA Hawkshead:

- YHA Alex Rider Spy Academy
- YHA Alex Rider Mission Briefing

Do your students have what it takes to be the next Alex Rider?

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Map & Directions

How To Get Here

From the M6 J36 take the A590 towards Barrow in Furness. At Newby Bridge, go straight on at the roundabout then take next right following signs to Lakeside and Hawkshead. From Hawkshead village turn right out of the village following signs for Newby Bridge. YHA Hawkshead is 1 mile out of the village.

Longitude: -2.994753
Latitude: 54.361697
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