So… where to start with YHA Cambridge?
As you’re all aware, my first exposure to YHA (the British Youth Hostel Association) was with an invite to the launch of YHA Brighton, a stunning example of how youth hostels are modernising and become more luxurious!
I was told that YHA Cambridge had undergone a redesign similar to that of the Brighton hostel, so after a bit of email chatter with the fabulous Samantha (who has her own beauty blog: Coco Butter!) we arranged my very first stay in Cambridge…and my very first overnight stay in a YHA hostel!
I think it should probably be said from the get go that my entire stay really was fantastic. If I had to pick one thing I didn’t like it was that the hallways outside the rooms could get a bit noisy with heavy shoes, etc, but in busy hostels this is usually a given.
Other than that the stay was spot on. For more details… read on!
I’m really kicking myself at the moment for not getting more names of staff members so they could personally be named and famed for being so bloody awesome.
First stop though, of course, has to be Ian. Ian was behind the desk when I arrived early, and a little later in the afternoon when it was time for me to check in. I was pretty hungry on arrival, and whilst YHA have their own fabulous menu (seriously fabulous; I had the sausages for dinner and they were honey sweet and oh-so-good) I only had one night in Cambridge so I wanted to explore a little.
Whipping out a map Ian proceeded to point out all the spots I’d have time for that day, including an excellent little coffee shop I will be writing about soon! He told me what was worth visiting, and what wasn’t, as well as letting me know the best time to go punting according to the weather forecast! Thanks Ian!
The next morning I had the same great service at reception when buying my punting tickets! I was all a flutter trying to check out in time to get in an early morning punt (I may have slept in late but more on why that was later!) before I had to be back in London, but the two lovely ladies at reception made sure I got everything done in time. They also double checked to make sure I knew where I was going and as I get lost regularly I definitely appreciated the thought!
Finally of course there was Mark and another great female receptionist who were both on the late shift the night I stayed and chatted away with me on the various topics of maps, hostels, travelling, and Johnny Cash! Needless to say, all the staff at YHA Cambridge really make you feel at home and are full of a willingness to help with any questions you have about the hostel and the area!
So there are two very important points about the accommodation at this hostel.
1. I mentioned that I overslept. Well I wasn’t sleeping. I woke up around 7am with high hopes of getting in to Cambridge town early… and then proceeded to lay in bed for another hour and a half because the beds were so comfy!! I have to say it was one of the best night’s sleeps I’d had in a long time.
2. If my dorm-room gave me one of the best night’s sleeps then the showers at YHA Cambridge were officially the best hostel showers I have ever used in my life. I understand it’s difficult to trust someone who seems super enthusiastic… but trust this. I did not want to get out of this shower. Not at all.
Honestly I’m amazed I even left the room at all. Other facilities include wooden lockers (so no noisy metal banging from early morning check outs), a plug and reading light for each bunk, and a handy little sink!
The only thing you can’t get in the rooms is wifi, which has just recently become free in almost all YHA hostel common areas. As I had a fair bit of work to get done that night I ended up joining a bit of a laptop club going on downstairs.
However, with Johnny Cash and other classics getting some airtime over the speakers, and a few groups sitting around chatting, the atmosphere was calmer than in other hostels but still very welcoming.
Aside from the great staff, I think part of the open and friendly atmosphere at the hostel comes from the long benches that invite solo travellers and groups to share and interact at. There are also a number of gorgeously comfy sofa chairs placed around the front of reception, as well as a very cosy lounge area in an adjoining room.
One of the cutest aspects of YHA Cambridge, and one that really reflects the open atmosphere, is the noticeboard where guests can grab a pen and leave a note on anything they fancy! It could be aspirations on their future, reflections on their stay in Cambridge… there were even notes of solidarity for the recent attacks in Paris.
A great feature is that, despite also offering a great food menu, guests also have access to a bright communal kitchen, which is always a great space in which to meet others and perhaps share a dinner with new friends!
The hostel also offers great luggage storage. Not only is there a locked luggage room (just ask for the key at reception) but there are also lockers within the luggage room so if you have valuables (I always carry a laptop for example!) you can lock them away in the small lockers for £2. The larger lockers fit medium suitcase and cost £3.
Whilst a good fifteen minute walk to the colleges of Cambridge University and the top of town, the hostel is just a short 5 minute walk from the main train station which I found really convenient! I would much prefer a short walk to drop of my luggage after a journey, and not only is the walk short but it’s really simple.
I’ve put a map down below for you to see how easy YHA Cambridge is to find!
Once you get on to Tenison Road, just make sure to look out for this sign on the side of the hostel… I loved it!
Beds in a dorm room at YHA Cambridge fluctuate midweek from £17-£20, and on weekend nights it goes up to around £25. Interestingly, there are cheaper great quality hostels in London, but being one of few hostels in Cambridge, YHA definitely have an advantage.
Saying that, the price is definitely reflected in the superb quality of service and facilities that I rarely find in other budget hostels. As always I recommend booking directly with the hostel to ensure best prices!
A Tip on Pricing: If you like what you see here, or have stayed in other YHA hostels across Britain that you have enjoyed as much as I enjoyed my stay at YHA Cambridge, then it’s well worth investing in the YHA Membership Card. Not only do you get up to £3 off each night’s stay in a YHA, you also get discounts on outdoor activities with partners of the hostel association. For more information see the YHA membership website.
And if you’re under 26 then it only costs a fiver… bargain. You know I’ve got my teeth in to one…
I have to thank YHA for organising such a great stay for me, but of course all opinions are honest and my own!
And in my own honest opinion I would definitely stay with YHA Cambridge again!
Lots of love,