What’s the best trail in Britain for hostels, bunkhouses and camping barns?
In contrast to how well campers are served on the long-distance trails, those who use hostels, camping barns and bunkhouses (collectively we will call them ‘hostels’ for the rest of this article) are poorly served along many trails.
Those trails that can claim to have a reasonable supply of hostels include Cleveland Way, Pembrokeshire and South Downs. Note that there won’t be a hostel available on large chunks of these trails either; but for parts of them they are pretty well served.
Other trails that merit a mention in this category include the Hadrian’s Wall Path, where those living near the trail have been positively encouraged to set up businesses that serve the tourists; and the Coast to Coast, which travels through some parts of the country (Lake District etc) that have always had a decent supply of hostels. Again, there are still sections along these trails where there are no hostels; but for most of their length you are able to stay in a hostel most nights.
But we’ve settled on two winners here. The first is the Pennine Way, which does a pretty good job of offering budget hostel accommodation along almost its entire length with only one or two places where you’ll have to find alternative accommodation – remarkable for a trail that’s over 250 miles. And the second is the West Highland Way, which again offers decent, budget (non-camping) accommodation thanks to some of the locals’ fondness for wooden ‘wigwams’.