Since our first family holiday to Porthmadog a few years back we have loved nothing more than exploring. We live in such a beautiful historic country and it would be a shame not to explore it. One of the many places on my list of where I would like to travel too, York was one of them. I couldn’t actually pinpoint why, other than the city just looked beautiful! As a family however travelling can be a bit of nightmare. We love camping and would usually just find a site and pitch up for a few nights, however October half term was approaching and even I think it is a little too cold to camp. We got in touch with the Youth Hostel Association to arrange a stay at YHA York. It would give us the perfect opportunity to explore the city and have a base to come back too.
Our Half term plans were split into 2 mini holidays; 2 nights at York, and 2 nights in Blyth to visit family. The boys don’t fare well with travelling and all 3 get travel sickness, so it seemed a sensible idea to split our journey to Blyth in half. Since Check in to YHA York wasn’t until 2pm it meant we could have a relaxing start. Within a couple of hours we had arrived at York and easily found our way to YHA. Neither Mark or myself knew what to expect. Having never stayed in a hostel or really knew anyone who did, we didn’t want to assume.
Check in was really simple and quick! We were handed 2 card keys and we booked and paid onto breakfast for the duration of our stay. At £22.50 for 2 adults and 3 children we thought it sounded like a great deal! We were advised however there were 2 school coaches booked into breakfast so we could either wake super early and be one of the first to eat at 7.30 or come a bit later around 9am. Our room was a Private family room with en suite and sleeps up to 6 people.
The minute we walked into the room we were impressed with the size, our room was spread over 2 floors. However we were slightly confused over the layout. The bottom floor featured bunk beds with a roll out bed underneath, and a single bed by the main door as well as the en suite. The top floor featured 2 open plan rooms which housed a double bed in one of them. The top floor rooms also over looked the downstairs.
When it came to where the boys slept we were in a bit of a discussion as the main door didn’t have an inside lock. We trusted the boys to not go outside during the night, however it would have made sense to us to have the single bed upstairs. It would have appeased our feelings somewhat if the bed wasn’t so close to the main door, however overall it didn’t affect our stay. If we had younger children however, or children who sleep walks/gets out of bed and wanders then I would have asked to move the bed.
The first afternoon
The afternoon of our first day was spent exploring YHA York and seeing what was available. Immediately we were super impressed with the self catering kitchens. There were 3 full kitchens with fridges and freezers available to use. So although there are dine in options you could choose to cook for yourself. Inside the kitchens were pretty much everything you needed to use, saucepans, chopping boards, utensils even ketchup! Sticky labels were also available so you could label your own food to place inside the fridges and freezers. Ample seating was also provided! Although if it was really busy, you could choose to eat outside (if the weather was nice) or eat in the main communal area.
We then went on a ride around York to see what was available to us. A couple of miles from the YHA was an Asda. Although it took a while to get there due to all the traffic! There is a great park and ride system set up in York, but we discovered the city centre was only 10/15 minute walk so we didn’t use it. We bought some food supplies from Asda and went back to the YHA for some dinner. The evening was spent with the boys relaxing playing games and Mark and I were busy making final plans for the following morning.
As we had chosen to go for breakfast at 9 it meant we had a bit of a relaxing morning. We decided we was going to walk to the National Railway Museum as according to Google Maps it was going to take 23 minutes. Then after we were going to head into town, a further 10 minute walk for lunch and browse and get a taxi back to the hostel. Breakfast was lovely and considering the 2 school bookings it didn’t affect the amount of food which was available. There was cold breakfast options which were cold ham, packaged cheeses, fruit bowl and yogurts as well as croissants. The hot food options were the standard sausages, beans, scrambled eggs, hash browns, half tomatoes, mushrooms, with a vegetarian and gluten free options. We could also help ourselves to toast which also had a selection of jams and spreads.
Once we finished breakfast we then went off for our day out! It was really lovely to see the parts of York we would have missed if we used the car. We walked past a couple of schools, through a couple of residential streets and walked over River Ouse! York is a really beautiful city! The National Railway Museum was free to enter and all under cover, so perfect if the weather wasn’t great! We spent a good few hours looking around all the trains. Arthur and Oliver were impressed that they could actually go into some of the trains to sit down. I managed to take plenty of photos and I will even write about our day out in a separate post.
When we got back to YHA York the boys were tired. They had been great and walked miles around the city but all they wanted to do was kick back with their games. As WIFI is only available in the common areas we decided to sit with coffee and let the boys play. As the boys were happily playing together and Mark and I were having fun we decided to stay for some food. Currently YHA York offer free children meal per paying adult, so we only had to pay for 1 child’s meal rather than 3. We spent just under £25 for 2 stone baked pizza’s and 3 kids meals which came with a choc ice. The boys were able to make the meal their own and chose exactly what they wanted. Arthur wanted Sausage, pasta and beans whereas Jack was happy was Pasta, Meatballs and beans!
When the food arrived Mark and I were somewhat impressed with the Pizza’s. We were not expecting what we received, but the stone baked chicken and sweetcorn was lush!
When we got back to the room the boys were tired and they ended up going straight to sleep. Whereas Mark and I were not ready to go to sleep. This was probably the only “issue” we faced. Before coming away I had pre downloaded some movies and shows onto one of our tablets for us to watch in the evenings. With everything being open plan, it meant we couldn’t have the volume up too loud. However I was just thankful we had something to do, to occupy us for a few hours before we went to sleep.
Our final morning was spent packing our stuff away! Thankfully the car park wasn’t too far away so it meant we could get it all packed before breakfast. The boys were all eager to get to breakfast and eat! I can’t say I blamed them, the food was lush! and with a 2hr car journey further up north Mark and I were keen too.
Once breakfast was finished we went back to the rooms to make sure it was empty and then went to check out. Check out was simple and done within a matter of minutes and that was it! The end of our YHA York stay! The boys are asking to go back as they loved it and we loved it too.
*We were given a 2 night complimentary stay in exchange for an honest review. All food/days out etc were paid by us*