Go Ape has several locations across the UK where you can climb and fly through the trees. If it's adrenaline fuelled family fun you're after then look no further.
YHA St Briavels Castle
Lydney, Gloucestershire, GL15 6RG
YHA St Briavels Castle is a venue with real wow factor that will amaze and inspire visitors of all ages. The castle is over 800 years old, with bags of character and remarkably well-preserved features throughout, and a magical charm that promotes social interaction and historical interest in equal measure.
The castle is a Grade I listed ancient monument, a rich piece of history and an inspiring location. Be transported back in time to Medieval world of King John and the Magna Carta within this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Why guests love YHA St Briavels Castle
Accommodation at YHA St Briavels Castle
YHA St Briavels Castle has 66 beds in the following layout: 1 x 4, 3 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10, 1 x 12 and 1 x 14
There are six character rooms that include:
- Isobel’s – a modern room, complete with his and hers sinks – the bridal suite of the Castle
- The Prison complete with 16th & 17th century graffiti
- The State Apartment, with the “King’s Seat” at the head of the once great banqueting hall
- The Oubliette, discover its dark hidden secret below
- There are also two spacious “dormitory” rooms – forming the tops of the two towers – which are perfect for larger groups of families and friends who are happy to share. Both rooms are available for private hire by single families during periods of high demand at family room prices, booking direct with hostel is essential as these are not available to book online.
- Constables Room is in the East Tower, with Edwardian window bays with single beds
- Porters Lodge has original stone walls, a feature fireplace and window bays with single beds
The social spaces of the Castle were reconfigured in 2015 to create an amazing banqueting hall fit for a king!
The Castle Chapel isa comfortable family lounge; with dressing up, children’s toys and books. There is no TV at the Castle so the emphasis is really on the social occasion of making new friends, playing games together and sharing experiences. The modern world has however breached the Castle walls and there is WiFi available in the social spaces; Chapel, Banqueting Hall and Old Stables.
The Old Kitchen is a quiet lounge; with wood panels, a period fireplace and fantastic historical features (including the original staircase and dog spit wheel).
The Banqueting Hall (formerly King John’s Lounge) is a spacious dining room, with a grand fireplace and period features an amazing backdrop to the regular feasts held within its walls. With tapestries on the wall, the flicker of candles, a sumptuous feast, and the sounds of Minstrels making merry tunes, the hosted banquet is a wonderful social experience that both entertains and informs guests. Forget your knife and fork and “Rules of Mum”, it is eating with fingers and banging the table with raucous delight that take precedence here.
The Old Stables is a versatile social space; with service of breakfast and supper club for families, a classroom/meeting room for groups, daytime café, banquet craft zone, and relaxing social space in the evenings.
The grounds are an archaeologically preserved site and operate as an English Heritage visitor attractions during the afternoon regrettably no camping is permitted at St Briavels Castle. There is a peaceful walled garden and courtyard area, to soak in the culture and watch the flights of fledgling archers as they practice this noble sport within this magical setting. This is also the venue throughout the year for amazing historical and literary themed events, such as “Shakespeare At The Castle” at the end of July, a WW2 weekend in April and the “Heritage Open Weekend” on the second weekend of September.
The acoustics in the grounds are fantastic for live music events and plays, and are open as a community resource for local schools and youth groups.
Food and drink at YHA St Briavels Castle
- Cot available
- Cycle store
- Free wi-fi
- Garden / grounds
- Drying room
- Board games
- Library/Quiet room
- Private rooms available
Food & drink
- Group catering available
- Licensed bar
- Meals available
- Self-catering kitchen
Transportation & parking
Other YHA products
- Meeting Rooms & Corporate Hire
- Trade bookings
- YHA School Trips
Need to know
Check in: 17.00 - 22.00
Check out: Before 10.00
Towels and toiletries: Towels and toiletries are not provided but are available to hire or purchase from reception. Bedding is supplied.
Parking: There is parking available for guests outside the hostel.
Open every day?: YHA St Briavels Castle is open all year round for group bookings. Beds and rooms for families and individual travellers are released three months in advance so please check the website for availability.
Wi-Fi: Free wi-fi is available in social spaces.
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YHA School Trips
YHA St Briavels Castle provides great opportunities for English and History students with various educational packages available. The hostel has beds for up to 66 people, classroom facilities and meals provided.
We run fantastically rewarding History, PE & Geography Packages that help children to “Learn Outside the Classroom” (and are LOTC accredited).
Visit the YHA School Trips website for more information.
Volunteering with YHA is a fantastic way to have fun, learn new skills, boost your CV and travel to different places. We have a variety of different opportunities to choose from and volunteering roles to suit everyone.
The tasks are varied and in return you will meet some great people, who both work and stay in our hostels, as well as enjoying your time off discovering the local area and attractions.
You can find out more and apply to volunteer at this hostel on the volunteering website.
The Castle dates back to the 12th Century, and many a tale from this world and the next can be found across the Internet. As an introduction why not take a Virtual Tour, but there really is no substitute for the real thing, and joining one of our regular Castle Tours where you can become a history detective and help uncover the secrets of the past.
As King John’s former hunting lodge we are uniquely placed to offer this within a living reminder of the King and one of the most important pieces of history to shape our society today. You enter this remarkable and unique YHA site through a triple portcullis gatehouse into a secluded courtyard and walled garden, and then enter through the grand wooden period door into the West Tower to a warm welcome fit for a King or Queen. Take a walk through time within this former hunting lodge of King John from the 13th century, spend a peaceful moment in his Chapel, rest your feet in his bed-chamber, and wonder who spent time in the debtors prison and met their grizzly end on the Castle gallow.
All bedrooms are full of character with amazingly well-preserved Castle features, original stone walls & features from the Medieval to Victorian period (when the Castle was extensively renovated as a family home). However, they are basic (bunk beds/storage only). The only exception is Isobel’s which does have sinks and a double bed, with single over.
There are no en-suites and some rooms are quite a walk from washroom facilities and up steep, narrow staircases – the Grade 1 listed nature of this site does not permit modernisation to facilitate demands for smaller rooms/en-suites. The compromise in facilities however is more than made up for with the opportunity to step back in time and imagine yourself a travelling lord or lady staying as the guest of a Medieval Sheriff, joining his household for a feast and rest on your journey of discovery through the Royal Forest of Dean. A smaller, quiet social area is set up in the Old Kitchen under the remains of the “Turn Spit Wheel” – a marvellous old feature that would have turned the Wild Boar on the spit over the kitchen fire, powered by a small dog.
Meet the team
Hostel Manager Linda
My name is Linda Harrison and I have the privilege of being the latest custodian of St Briavels Castle, just one character to reside within the lifetime of the Castle but hopefully adding in a small way to the rich legacy of this remarkably well-preserved and awe-inspiring site. It truly is a pleasure to come to work every day, to step within the Castle walls and share its secrets and fascinating story. My background is history and archaeology so the Castle and I are a match made in Heaven, and I enjoy to continue to discover and share its hidden past.
Working for the YHA for over 10 years, I have been privileged to spend time in fabulous locations (including the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Devon), sharing customer experiences and journeys, and developing new skills and interests along the way, including, since my arrival in the Forest of Dean, richly rewarding school activity packages & YHA Summer Camps.
There are plenty of family fun attractions and outdoor activities; wooded walks, cycle trails, canoe routes, world-famous rock climbing and views at Symonds Yat, watch the Severn Bore, and visit even more castles! You are in the middle of the Forest of Dean and close to the Brecon Beacons, or if you are looking for a city break for the day Gloucester, Bristol and Cardiff are all within easy reach.