We offer a weekend away most, if not all, months.
As one of the oldest YHA groups in the country our history is full of weekends away to beautiful parts of the country. We still frequently stay at good value YHA accommodation but now also use independent hostels and cottages. During the summer months we often have a number of weekends away camping outside. We visit most of the best countryside and national parks of England and Wales each year. A few places like the Peak District, Brecon Beacons and Somerset are more popular because of their proximity to London meaning shorter travel times.
Peak District, February 2016 - Photo by Anna
Weekends away are one of the most enjoyable aspects of our group and something members look forward to. We generally car share on the Friday to travel to our destination, depart times and locations will vary, and special consideration made for new members to ensure they are aware of travel opportunities. Some members travel and arrive early, others depart and arrive later. The only condition is that members ensure they can access the accommodation (i.e. have made arrangements with other members or hostel staff etc). Many hostels have a small bar and most offer tea and coffee facilities. Apart from really remote locations, most of the places we stay are near to villages, and most villages have a country pub, which is where some members may spend part of their Friday or Saturday evening.
Cotswolds, June 2015 - Photo by Anna
On the Saturday of a weekend away there will normally be a main outdoor activity, often a walk. Distance, time and route may vary and there may be options to split the route during the day to enable different interests and abilities of members to be served. Alternatively some members may choose to organise other activities, maybe cycling. A little advance research of the area often reveals a wealth of opportunities. Lunch will vary, some take packed lunches, often the route will engage with a village or town so there will be shops, cafes and pubs available serving food. For longer walks a tea shop stop in the afternoon is maybe an option, many village halls and churches offer tea and cakes especially for tourists and walkers.
New Forest, October 2013 - Photo by Anna
In the evening we will all be hungry. Some hostels offer very good food in house and villages and towns offer a range of establishments serving food. Sometimes we eat at different places and times, particularly when we are a large group - a table for 30 on a Saturday evening can be hard to find! When we stay in cottages we may cook ourselves and take advantage of all the facilities, many will have 'traditional' well-equipped kitchens, large dining rooms and a lounge with an open fire.
Devon, July 2013 - Photo by Anna
The Sunday of a weekend away will often involve a variety of different activities. The main reasons are because some members like to explore the local towns, villages and tourist attractions (museums, history, culture etc) and because members may need to depart at different times. Usually there will be at least one good quality outdoor activity. Depending on location, time and weather, many will depart late afternoon to be home by Sunday evening latest.
Brecon Beacons, February 2013 - Photo by Anna
For longer weekends, in particular Bank Holidays but occasionally other times during the year, we stay until Monday, meaning we get three nights away. The Sunday will often offer a second major outdoor activity which many members will choose to do. Alternatively travel to a more distant or challenging location or activity is a possibility. Two good days of fresh air, beautiful views, different food and all the conversation and friends you could possibly want.
Ridgeway, September 2012 - Photo by Marin