I was rather worried about staying at this hostel after some of the negative reviews on this site. Nevertheless since it was the only one with availability when we wished to travel I decided to go ahead and book. Unfortunately the website would not let me book a family room for six - instead offering 2 four roooms, which did not suit us very well. I went ahead and emailed the hostel direct and had a prompt reply. Hostels often don't have the advertised family rooms - instead they have eight rooms.
At each of the other hostels I booked we received an eight room but at the family price. It would seem that we were charged for an eight room rather than a family room at Grasmere which is annoying when you are on a budget. This is one of the negative issues with Grasmere, being more professionally run than other hostels means there is no flexibility.
However, the manager was very helpful when I rang to book and despite the above issue he did go out of his way to send through the menus and details of the hostel and booking.
The paperwork mentions limited parking - as we were travelling with a fully packed people carrier this concerned me but when we arrived at the hostel there were plenty of spaces. (Early arrival is probably best, park and explore Grasmere!)
Grasmere is a lovely hostel, although busy, and is situated on the Northern side of Grasmere village, close to Allan Bank (NT), a co-op with opening hours until 10pm and a childrens playground. Grasmere itself is a lovely little village if rather touristy during the day.
The manager was again friendly and took the time to talk to the children, he gave us all the information we needed and showed us personally to our room, ensuring we had all we needed before he left. The room was clean, with a sink, the beds made up and it was by far the best hostel room we stayed in out of three this summer.
The Hostel itself has a family games room - invaluable - with giant chess, connect 4 and jigsaws and other board games available. There is also a quiet lounge and a large dining room. It also has a very pretty garden with outdoor seating. All of these were very clean. Unfortunately the self catering kitchen is in an outbuilding, which is not very convenient and you need a key to get into it (provided on arrival). The bathrooms were a little surprising bearing in mind the rest of the decor which is beautiful. They were dated and not particularly clean. This is probably because the hostel was so busy however.
Another nice service at YHA Grasmere is that tea and coffee, and other beverages are available during opening hours. Although this is put on a tab, which can run high if you are not careful, it is very welcome after a long journey!
On arrival the manager highly recommended the hostel's own food and having enjoyed meals at two other hostels we decided to go for this option. Whilst they are very reasonably priced ( the same as the other hostels) we were not so impressed with the food. Where as both the other hostels had offered my fussy six year old a mini portion of an adult meal on the kids go free offer Grasmere refused to do so. This meant paying for another meal. The meals when they arrived whilst on a par with good pub grub were not as good as those at YHA Coniston although an improvment on YHA Patterdale. The cream on my fruit salad was decidedly odd smelling and although i returned it to the kitchen nothing more than an apology was offered. I must stress though that none of the food (apart from the cream) we have eaten at the YHA this year has been bad and the dining rooms are always clean and the staff friendly.
Food has to be collected from a counter, school dinner style rather than being brought to your table as at the other hostels and you are responsible for clearing up your own table afterwards. This is not a problem in itself but not the service we received at other cheaper hostels.
Again at breakfast time the dining area was very busy and there was a self service counter. You even had to make your own toast on a rather cantankerous rolling toaster.
Despite the one or two hiccups and the rather rigid approach to sales the Hostel was friendly, clean, and provided the best nights sleep out of any we stayed in. It was still a cheaper option to a bed and breakfast and enabled us to be right in the middle of Grasmere.
With this in mind I would highly recommend YHA Grasmere, don't be put off by the negative reviews! I hope we can visit again soon.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set within the beautiful Lakeland village of Grasmere, this Victorian mansion features fabulous views of the surrounding fells and valleys. Guests can enjoy the restaurant and relaxing TV lounge. Dove Cottage, the home of William Wordsworth, is just 15 minutes’ walk away from YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe. The shores of Grasmere Lake are just 15 minutes away on foot and the surrounding fells contain numerous scenic walking trails. Grasmere village is just a 10-minute walk away. Home-cooked meals are available in YHA Grasmere’s restaurant, while guests can also cook within the self-catering kitchen and make use of the dining room. There is also a cafe on-site and a small shop for guests. The majority of rooms at YHA Grasmere’s contain bunk beds. Guests are able to relax in spacious, lovely grounds, whilst there is also a games room and Wi-Fi access. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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