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Reviewed on 31 Jul 2020
Reviewed on 22 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 1 Aug 2020
Sandwiched between the half-timbered inns and crooked Tudor buildings of the medieval centre, waiting by the leafy banks of the River Ouse and conveniently popping up by the railway station on the edge of town, hostels in York can be a ticket to some of the best parts of this immersive English city. Many will channel the rich history of the place, with features like stone-fronted exteriors, fire-warmed lounges and charming cottage-style design, aiming to provide an immersive and authentic taste of local medievalism. Rooms range from the basic to the downright outlandish, with low-cost dorms rubbing shoulders with offbeat boutique lodgings – think space-age murals on the walls and Pop Art graffiti in the hallways. Some of the bare bones that can be expected in hostels in York include dedicated reception service, self-catering facilities, laundry amenities, and tour and ticket booking assistance.
While price is likely to be the main reason you're tempted by hostels in York, there's also plenty to be said for the unique style of these budget-friendly stays. Take the boutique rooms that hide in the midst of the old town area. As ales slosh in the nearby pubs and cups clink in the cosy tearooms just outside, these can whisk you away on cosmic adventures with astronaut wall art or futurist interior flurries. There's something a little more traditional on the menu for couples who are keen to get somewhere cheap and cheerful close to the Gothic turrets of York Minster and the romantic walks of The Shambles. To get that, you can home in on old inns and country cottages, which could have Victorian lounges and cast iron fireplaces.
It's common to find hostels in York have their own on-site cafe or eatery. You can head there in the morning to fill up on pastries, fresh fruits, coffee brews and perhaps even the occasional full English fry-up – though that's likely to cost a tad extra. Closer to the outskirts of town, it's possible to find options surrounded by parklands or private gardens, whether spilling down to meet the meanders of the River Ouse or set in the midst of the York University greens.
Though it's out on the leafy banks of the Ouse on the north side of the city, the YHA York remains one of the top picks in town. A charming Georgian-era building is merged with a modern extension of floor-to-ceiling glass and dark metal, there, to create a stylish space, including a large cafe and beautiful garden. What's more, you can stroll the riverside paths to the south to hit the soaring towers of York Minster. Even closer, however, is the Yorkshire Museum, where you can trace the story of this vast region of England back through Viking, Roman and prehistoric eras. For something totally different, the Fort Boutique Hostel can be a real adventure. Its dorms and doubles are brimming with intriguing artistry, graffiti works and even alpine-style wood cladding. The real joy, there, however, is being just steps from the enthralling Stonegate shopping street, a short hop from the famous pubs and boutiques of The Shambles and only a stroll from the JORVIK Viking Centre – a chart-topper for history buffs.