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The Wanderer - Issue#10 - October 2013
UK map The Cosy Retreats Edition Dear member,
Stick the kettle on, fill your hot water bottle and snuggle up somewhere comfortable, because this month we're talking about cosy retreats.
This edition has something to coax everyone out of hibernation, from hostels with log fires and warming wines to the best locations for crisp walks and winter sports. So warm up your imagination, dig out your earmuffs and get set to join us on this season's adventure. Oh, and if you're looking for a good read as the nights draw in, remember you can access previous editions of the Wanderer here.
YHA Land's End
There's no end to Land's End YHA Land's End
Nestled peacefully in the Cots Valley, just five miles from the most westerly point of the British mainland, is YHA Land's End. The hostel windows frame the wild Celtic Sea, perfectly complimented by an open fire and a welcoming atmosphere. No one could blame you for curling up with a Daphne Du Maurier novel and Cornish Cream Tea and staying indoors. However, if you do manage to tear yourself away from the hostel, you'll be well rewarded.

Right on our doorstep is the famous South West Coastal Path. Take any direction and you'll find something spectacular. Head towards the coast and admire the cliff top views that have inspired many an artist. From there, cross the cliffs and sands to Sennen Cove, or meander to Cape Cornwall and discover a scene as dramatic as the one you've just left - the World Heritage mining relics at Botallack. Or take the opposite direction altogether and head inland to explore the moors and ancient stone sites like Men-an-Tol or Carn Euny.
If that's not enough of a treat for the senses, visit Land's End 4D cinema. You'll see everything in 3D with the added fun of feeling it too. Think jiggling seats, shifting floors, wind and sea spray. But if you really want to give your nerves a work out, the new Arthur and Merlin experience uses the latest interactive technology and special effects to conjure a magically scary world.
At the end of the day, there's no better place to be than back at the hostel. So get under the blankets, toast your toes, and each other, with a glass of red in front of the open fire. Ah, bliss.
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Chris Discover more
YHA Woody's Top
Escape to the country This converted farm building is the epitome of a cosy retreat. Snuggled up in the Lincolnshire Wolds, it's one of our most tranquil and relaxing hostels. The surrounding area is just as charming, with historic Lincoln and its cobbled streets and cathedral just down the road, and the RSPB reserves are just a short trip away. There is one exception that may be worth breaking the peace for though, and that's Cadwell Park racing circuit. Woody's Top is the perfect base for a day trip to this Lincolnshire gem.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you bring your winter woollies, because the best way to explore this part of the country is on foot or bike. Whether that's a short meander to a local quaint market town, a more ambitious hike off the beaten track, or a long distance cycle through the gently rolling landscape of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
If you're visiting in November or December, one stop on your adventure should be to meet the locals. No, we don't mean a trip to the pub (although that's also a good option) but a visit to Donna's Nook Beach to see seal pups being born. After that, if the seal pups haven't given you enough of a warm glow, head back to the hostel and rustle up a hearty winter's dish in our self-catering kitchen. Then sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the sound of, well, peace and quiet.
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Michelle Discover more
YHA Woody's Top
walking on the beach Keep warm in the widest range of the North Face at Cotswold OutdoorA good winter jacket is worth investing in; to keep you cosy and warm, whatever adventures you're planning. Whether you're hitting the mountains or enjoying a winter walk; The North Face have a great selection of winter jackets to keep the cold at bay. Visit your nearest Cotswold Outdoor store this winter for great advice on clothing for cold weather, plus, as a YHA member you'll also receive 15% off* in store and online.
YHA Idwal Cottage
YHA Idwal Cottage YHA Idwal Cottage There's no place for a comforting break quite like Wales. And our YHA hostel in Snowdonia will give you a welcome as warming as a tipple from its fully licensed bar. Located in the Ogwen Valley, which lies between the Glyder and Carneddau mountains, this location has something for everyone, from outdoor lovers to those who prefer a more leisurely pace of life.
One thing that suits all levels and ages is fishing. This sport is very popular in Llyn Ogwen and, if you're lucky, you might just catch a living time capsule. The famous Gwyniad is a sub-species of European white fish which was trapped in the lake after the Ice Age 10,000 years ago!
If fishing doesn't float your boat, we're certain one of Snowdonia's other water features will. Walk around Llyn Idwal and discover stunning waterfalls, or take a trip to Rhaeadr Ogwen Waterfalls, these natural cascades are where the Ogwen River begins its journey out to sea and are sure to take your breath away.
There are plenty of land-based activities for those who prefer more solid ground. Take a walk to the magnificent Snowdonia Hills which, as the name suggest, are even more beautiful in winter. Or step it up a gear and explore the area on a bike. The circular routes make it the perfect playground for cyclists.
Or forget all that and don't leave the hostel at all. With its home comforts, and warming wines, who could blame you.
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Jeroen Discover more
YHA Stour Valley Bunkhouse
Step into a Constable There's nothing like 1000 acres of farmland to buffer you from hectic modern life, and that's one of the many things that make Stour Valley Bunkhouse the ideal winter getaway. Another is that it's right at the centre of Constable Country, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it ideal for walkers and birdwatchers alike.
It was the area's natural beauty that inspired our greatest landscape painter, and we're happy to report that the meandering lanes and picturesque River Stour have barely changed since John Constable captured them in his famous paintings.
You can relive his masterpieces with a cycle through the network of quiet lanes - the gentle slopes make a bike ride accessible for all ages and abilities.
Of course, we'd be doing art a disservice if we didn't mention the area's other great artist, and former President of the Royal Academy, Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959). You can visit Castle House, his former home and studios. This elegant Tudor and Georgian building is now home to the largest collection of paintings by the artist. It's also set in forty acres of beautiful countryside in the Dedham Vale, between Essex and Suffolk with a Garden Café to relax in. It's no wonder Munnings described it as "the house of my dreams". You'll need to hurry though as only the café is open during the winter months from 1st November onwards.
It might have a bit of competition though, because underfloor heating and a wood burner makes the cosy Bunkhouse a great place to snuggle up with that book you've been meaning to read for ages. Enjoy.
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Caroline Discover more
YHA Stour Valley Bunkhouse
YHA Pen-Y-Pass YHA wins international eco-competition YHA has beaten off competition from youth hostels across the world to win £25,000 for its ground-breaking Biomass Boiler project at YHA Pen-y-Pass.
Projects in 15 countries were shortlisted for the prize fund and more than 18,000 votes were cast in the global competition organised by Hostelling International (HI). YHA Pen-y-Pass, in Gwynedd in the Snowdonia National Park, scooped more than 40% of the total votes with runners up Spain and the USA receiving 2,489 and 1,764 votes respectively.
A big thank you for everyone that voted for us.
YHA Pen-Y-Pass YDo you care about YHA? Do you want to make it bigger? Better? Different? The YHA AGM is a great opportunity for members to find out more about the Association. It's the place where new Trustees are elected and key issues are debated, and we want to make it much more representative of all our membership. So, in 2014, we have extra places available at the AGM for you to come and share your ideas with new people over a drink or a meal and join in the YHA Big Debate. If the number of applications exceeds the number of places they will be allocated by ballot.
The AGM is on Saturday 12 July 2014 at YHA Castleton in the beautiful Peak District. If you would like to find out more about how you could join us for the event and help move YHA forward, call Jo Ferguson on 01629 592654 or email joferguson@yha.org.uk. We can't wait to hear from you!
Next Month:
The Photography Edition If you're a budding David Bailey, or just a camera phone snap happy, keep an eye out for next month's edition of The Wanderer. We'll be seeking out the most photogenic parts of the UK and will have something to make everyone smile.
Bagpuss slippers
Find out how we're changing lives one stay at a time Because YHA is a charity, when you stay with us you're helping keep prices affordable, hostels beautiful and you're even enriching the lives of young people. Find out more.
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