South Downs Youth Hostel
Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Saturday morning we packed up welly’s & potties for our trip to the Youth Hostel on the South Downs. The hostel has recently been refurbished and so as we turned into the entrance we were greeted by lovely flint barns, well signposted car park & café.
The car park is not next to the hostel but you can drive up to unload if you have tons of stuff which we did having a combination of wet weather gear and a baby.
The café was closed when we arrived, it mainly caters for walkers, and is open until 4pm but the menu looked inviting and well-priced.
The hostel is midway between Lewes & Newhaven, a paradise for walkers but not near any pubs or restaurants so we were unsure where we would eat. It was good to find out on arrival that it has a restaurant on site serving meals from £9.95 for a single course up to £12.95 for three courses. There is also a licensed bar and prices were reasonable at £8.95 for a bottle of wine, several people were buying a bottle to drink in the lounge that evening. As an alternative there is a self-catering kitchen and it was well stocked with everything you needed, there was a large group of teenagers having a meal in there and it smelt wonderful.
To cater for walkers there is a boot room and laundry room, you can buy washing powder for 75p and there is also a tumble drier.
There are two lounges both with comfy seating, one with a TV and a quiet lounge without. Disappointingly they didn’t have wifi as I was hoping to catch up on some emails, and the other guests were playing computer games or reading.
The hostel has a few types of accommodation; there are camping pods which are funky looking timber buildings, these come without beds so are basically like an upmarket tent. There are also dorm rooms with several beds in, good for groups, twin and quadruple rooms. All rooms have bunk beds in and are small and basic with just a wardrobe and the minimum of floor space. To be comfortable you really need to upgrade to the next size room, we were given a twin room and found the room extremely tight for the three of us, with a cot and associated baby paraphernalia. In the granary, were we were staying there were three separate rooms sharing a bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen.
For a group of friends, or a family with older children the hostel is a good inexpensive place to stay. It’s in a really good location for walking and the Newhaven ferry port is only five minutes away, great for a trip to France.
It won’t suit everyone as the rooms are basic with nowhere to sit so be prepared to spend your evenings in the communal lounge. If you have been Youth Hostelling before and know what to expect, or don’t mind sharing facilities, then it’s well worth a visit as the South Downs hostel is nicely refurbished.
Beds from £10, rooms from £30.
For more information or to make a booking visit www.yha.org.uk/hostel/south-downs.