Wanderer September 2015
YHA The Wanderer
YHA The Wanderer
 
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The Wanderer, Issue 33, September 2015
 
 
The Small Budget, Big Adventure Edition
 
This summer we challenged four travel bloggers to stay with us on a limited budget to prove that there are plenty of thrifty and nifty ways to sightsee on a shoestring – even in peak season. One seasoned backpacker, a city-dwelling couple and two families of four were given budgets of £75, £100 and £150 respectively and tasked with making the most of a weekend at a YHA location of their choice. We’re thrilled with their findings. Here’s how they got on.
 
Oh and, as ever, you can access previous editions in The Wanderer archive. Now bloggers, it’s over to you…
 
Map  
 
 
YHA Manchester
 
 
YHA Manchester
 
  The £75 solo chanllenge, by Katieaka The Hotstel Girl  
 
 
Taking my first sip from a delightfully strong Black Russian cocktail, I leant back and felt myself unwind amongst a sea of electric jazz and bright red lights.
 
 
 
YHA Manchester
 
YHA Manchester
 
With a stomach full of pizza and the promise of two-for-one cocktails, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. The pizza was courtesy of what soon became my favourite lunch spot in Manchester – Slice Pizza – where two slices of pizza cost just £2.95! I continued the night in the city’s popular jazz bar – Matt and Phreds. With free entry before 7pm and two cocktails for £7.20, I was more than willing to indulge in their happy hour.
 
The next morning I woke at YHA Manchester to a much-needed full English breakfast. Bright and spacious, the four-bed dorm room had offered the perfect base. Overall, the atmosphere at the hostel was pretty relaxed, even on the weekend, and I can only put this down to Manchester being such a cool city; most guests are outside exploring. Need a tip? The hostel staff are fantastic at letting you know their favourite spots in the city.
 
Ready for a full day of sightseeing, I set out to John Rylands Library, a beautiful neo-Gothic structure housing over 200,000 books and manuscripts. The Library holds exhibitions throughout the year and is free to visit. My 24 hours in Manchester ended with dinner at the Soup Kitchen, a quirky restaurant/bar in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
 
Dorm bed: £20; Lunch at Slice Pizza: £6.45 (pizza: £2.95, beer: £3.50); Drinks at Matt & Phreds: £7.20; Breakfast at YHA Manchester: £5.25; Library visit: FREE; Dinner at Soup Kitchen: £13.85 (Jerk chicken: £9.95, beer: £3.90); Total: £52.75.
 
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Katie’s Insider tips:
 
 
  1  
The Northern Quarter holds most of the alternative bars in the city, many of which are also free entry! My suggestion is the secret ‘First Floor Bar’ in Cane & Grain for killer cocktails… but you may have to extend your budget just a little!
 
 
  2  
Manchester gets the best of the northern weather, including rain! So if you get caught in a shower, head for Ziferblat. This stylish common area can provide tables, chairs, a kitchen, a piano, breakfast, cakes, coffee and tea – all for free! The only thing you pay for is your time spent in the lounge!
 
 
  3  
One thing I really enjoyed about the atmosphere at YHA Manchester was that there seemed to be quite a few solo travellers. The games room is fully equipped with a pool table and table football so challenge your new roommates before a night out. Loser gets the first round.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA South Downs, East Sussex
 
 
YHA South Downs, East Sussex
 
  The £100 couple challenge, by Bianca aka Its's All Bee  
 
 
When you live in a city that never sleeps, peace and quiet is always in short supply. As my partner and I work in the IT industry, achieving a healthy work-life balance is a constant juggle and I always try to make our weekends as relaxed as possible. So when challenged to spend £100 for a weekend for two, it was a no brainer. I chose one of the most beautiful coastal regions: South Downs.
 
 
 
YHA South Downs, East Sussex
 
YHA South Downs, East Sussex
 
Ravishingly beautiful landscapes of farm lands with rolling hills in the background; a National Park that stretches more than 80 miles; stunning beaches; easy access to walking trails and YHA South Downs’ proximity to the famous Seven-Sisters chalk cliffs that I’ve been dying to see for a while now, this was our opportunity to tune in and stifle out hectic city life.
 
Our trail explorations took us to the coastguard’s cottages just before sunset. Wonderfully remote, peaceful and quiet, we had a good portion of the coastline to ourselves. With the sound of small waves crashing as the sun went down, we couldn’t help but find a bench and just take it all in for a moment.
 
As we settled down with a picnic at Birling Gap, two Red Arrows from the annual Eastbourne show were doing their routine right in front of us. The following day we decided to head to Eastbourne to see the rest of the show and enjoy seafood and ice creams on the beach as the planes took to their formations.
 
Private Room: £65; Evening takeaway: £14.86; Eastbourne International Airshow: FREE; Lunch of seafood followed by ice cream: £12.50; Total: £92.36.
 
  book now  
 
 
 
 
 
Bianca’s insider tips:
 
 
  1  
Lovers of hiking, cycling and walking – there are some beautiful trails with even more beautiful views – so allow yourself time to stop and breathe the beauty in.
 
 
  2  
Lovers of wining and dining – there are two vineyards in close proximity to the hostel. Check out Rathfinny Estate for wine tasting and tours. For a relaxed day head to the Anchor Inn and rent a boat to have a picnic on the River Ouse. An hour’s boat hire costs £6.
 
 
  3  
Lovers of coastal towns, tea and cake – Seaford, Newhaven and Eastbourne are all close by with independent little cafés offering that cosy and homely feel; perfect after long, exploratory walks.
 
 
 
 
 
15 percent off exclusively for members
 
  15 percent off exclusively for members  
 
 
[Name] we really value you. And for no other reason than to say thanks for your continued support, here’s an exclusive YHA member offer. To claim 15% off accommodation, simply book between 17.9.15 and 8.10.15 for stays between 17.9.15 and 17.9.16 and quote promo code WANDER-001 at the checkout. That’s it, 15% off all year! And that’s on top of your usual member discount. Happy holidays!*
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Malham, North Yorkshire
 
 
YHA Malham, North Yorkshire
 
  The £150 family challenge, by Jen aka My Mummy's Pennies  
 
 
Earlier this summer, my husband and I took our two children on a trip to the picturesque village of Malham. We were looking forward to exploring the local walks and nearby Skipton Castle. It was our first family stay at a hostel and we were very impressed with what it had to offer.
 
 
 
YHA Malham, North Yorkshire
 
YHA Malham, North Yorkshire
 
The hostel is in a central location in Malham. The staff were friendly and helpful, chatting to us about our choice of walks and the facilities offered to comfort weary legs after exploring the breathtaking countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. Communal kitchen and dining facilities were available but we decided on the catered options for both dinner and breakfast, keen to set ourselves up for another day of adventures.
 
Just a 10-minute stroll from the hostel, we followed in the footsteps of Harry Potter and walked the beautiful limestone cliffs of Malham Cove. The children were fascinated by the 260-foot high rock formation. Another family-friendly walk with impressive views was towards Gordale Scar. Walking through woodlands that were heavily scented with wild garlic we came across Janet’s Foss waterfall where, legend states, Jennet (queen of the fairies) rests her head.
 
The historic town of Skipton is a 20-minute drive away and home to one of the most well preserved medieval castles in England. Here the children enjoyed immersing themselves in re-enactments of life during the English Civil War, watching a garrison defend against a siege and following a trail through the castle.
 
Family room: £90; Two course dinner at YHA: £19.90 and kids under ten eat free (plus a cheeky bottle of rose wine - at only £9.95 we decided to go for it, even though it tipped us £6 over budget); Breakfast at YHA: £16.48; Family entry to Skipton Castle: £19.70; Malham Cove and Gordale Scar: FREE; Total: £156.03.
 
  book now  
 
 
 
 
 
Jen’s insider tips:
 
 
  1  
Bring evening entertainment; there is a communal lounge room that has a TV and some games but once the children are in bed it’s a good idea to have a pack of cards or a board game handy for your own room.
 
 
  2  
If you’re self-catering, bring food! The village is beautiful but only has a few basic shops that sell walking equipment and souvenirs. The nearest small supermarket is a 15-minute drive away.
 
 
  3  
We were smitten with the area. We really enjoyed the walks and have talked about returning as a couple to do more challenging trails. We’ve even discussed staying in one of YHA Malham’s camping pods for our wedding anniversary next year.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
 
 
YHA Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
 
  The £150 family challenge, by Louisa aka My Gorgeous Boys  
 
 
Nestled away in the woods of North Nottinghamshire lies the modern and cosy YHA Sherwood Forest. It’s a perfect base for exploring Sherwood Forest and the surrounding area. The friendly staff checked us in to our en-suite room; located on the first floor, it slept five, had a shower, sink and toilet and was perfect for the average sized family.
 
 
 
YHA Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
 
YHA Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
 
Our stay was during a hot and humid July and, with just two skylights that opened a little bit, it was exceptionally warm in the room but we all slept really well. The communal living room is also upstairs and with its sofas, books, games and TV it’s perfect for relaxing after a busy day.
 
The evening Supper Club – a fabulous YHA institution – offers a three-course meal for a bargain £8.50 (children under 10 eat free with each adult). We loved the nod to Nottingham tradition as our starter was the delicious pea and mint soup (emulating the Nottingham Goose Fair essential of mushy peas with mint sauce). The meal was served in the light and airy dining room. Downstairs you’ll also find well-equipped self-catering facilities.
 
You are within easy walking distance of Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre which offers seasonal activities, a children’s play area, craft centre and a lovely woodland walk to the awesome Major Oak (thought to be 800-1,000 years old and voted England’s tree of the year in 2014!).
 
Family Room: £49; White Post Farm: £36 (2 adults, 2 children); Newfield Dairy Ice Creams: £8; Dinner at YHA: £17; Breakfast at YHA: £16.48; Sherwood Pines: £4 all day parking; Rufford Abbey: £4 all day parking; Total: £134.48.
 
  book now  
 
 
 
 
 
Louise’s insider tips:
 
 
  1  
Check out the nearby Newfield Dairy which serves up delicious lunches and amazing ice cream with original flavours.
 
 
  2  
Even more forest fun can be had at nearby Sherwood Pines. Alternatively, visit beautiful Rufford Abbey for the sculpture trail. Both have fabulous play areas for children.
 
 
  3  
If you fancy some farmyard adventure, whatever the weather, check out White Post Farm.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Breaks for Kids: Big memories, fuller futures  
 
 
A 7-year-old’s first climb up, and roll down, a hill; 10-year-old twins’ first splash in the sea; a teenager’s first visit to the theatres and museums of a bustling city… all crucial life experiences that can be taken for granted, except by those who cannot afford them.
 
The Breaks for Kids fund subsidises life-changing, educational experiences for less advantaged young people. This year we have already enhanced the lives of 7,000 children. With a growing need, we unashamedly ask for your help again.
 
Please make a much needed donation online, call 01629 592 720 to give over the phone, or text ‘YHAK15 £2’ to 70070 to donate £2.
 
Thank you so much!
 
 
  Breaks for Kids: Big memories, fuller futures  
  Breaks for Kids: Big memories, fuller futures  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Next month:
 
   
 
  The Eco Edition  
 
 
Next month we’re going green (no, not with envy but with environmentally-friendly fervour) to feature four hostels that embody the aims and aspirations of the YHA Green Spirit Plan for sustainability. Join us to discover guilt-free getaways and boundary-breaking eco pioneers as we go off grid to holiday in a way that’s sure to meet with Mother Nature’s approval.
 
 
 
Next month
 
 
 
 
Find out how were changing the 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.
 
Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
 
 
 
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