A story 90 years in the making

Here’s a quick history lesson, because every day is a school day!

The youth hostelling movement began in 1909. German schoolmaster Richard Schirrmann wanted his pupils to have the chance to experience other parts of the country, to walk and study in the countryside. Schirrmann identified a need for safe, affordable overnight accommodation and established the world’s first youth hostel in 1912.

In the first decades of the 20th century the global movement picked up momentum. On 10th April 1930 the Youth Hostels Association was established in Britain with a clear purpose:

To help all, but especially young people, to a greater knowledge, use and love of the countryside, particularly by providing hostels or other accommodation for them on their travels.

YHA was set up to offer shelter, facilitate friendship and promote fellowship. As an antidote to the poor air quality, cramped housing and harsh conditions of urban life, our affordable accommodation gave young working people a new opportunity to spend their weekends away. YHA offered access to leisure pursuits and the countryside on a scale never before experienced by Britain’s working class.

Though times have changed and facilities modernised over the years, our aim remains exactly the same. We’re so proud to say that for over 85 years we have created unique opportunities for young people to discover, explore and grow in the great outdoors.

Unique locations

Castles, cottages, log cabins, mansions.

Learning Outside the Classroom

YHA has been awarded Learning Outside the Classroom awards at more than 80 hostels.

Value for money

We offer support to groups with our Breaks Programmes.

Safety & security

Safeguarding children is our priority and we work closely with industry leading experts, including the DBS and the NSPCC.

Free pre-visits

Check out the hostel prior to your stay.

Sole use

Have the whole hostel for your group.

Want to know more about YHA?

Our dedicated team is here to help you along the way

About YHAOur story