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Thorney How

UK England North West England Cumbria Grasmere

Grasmere Cumbria LA22 9QW
A welcoming indie hostel inside a traditional Cumbrian farmhouse.

Thorney How has a place in backpacker history as the first hostel in England owned by the YHA, which opened in the 1930s. It's now under independent ownership, with the current incumbents making a decent stab at reconciling the traditional nature of the place – originally a Cumbrian farmhouse, set up a rough track a mile or so outside Grasmere – with the demands of modern visitors.

The basic pine bunk-rooms (sleeping 2 to 6) and self-catering kitchen are still essentially YHA in style and character, although a rolling refurbishment programme has added more showers and toilet facilities and made all seven rooms in the main house en-suite. There's also an upgraded bunkhouse annex (16 beds in 4-bunk dorms, sharing showers and toilets), plus an all-day café-bar, open both for guests and for passing hikers, where you can get anything from a bacon roll breakfast to a bistro dinner and a pint. Saturday-night film shows are proving popular, and there are also two electric bikes available for hire. In short, there's a much more welcoming, inclusive air than previously, making Thorney How a reasonable budget base for couples and families as well as the more usual backpackers and walkers.

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