YHA Welsh Bicknor

The background to our fortnight in Gloucester was that we were booked to do a raw food (which is a NOT cooking) course there. My husband had seen Deborah Durrant at the 2013 London Vegfest and signed us up to do her hands-on Feast program. The course is expensive for South Africans. The current exchange rate is grossly unfavourable for us to say the least! But we’re both passionate about wholesome food. And if it helped us in our forays into raw food, then it would be well worth it. More on the course later.

River Wye

We arrived in London and spent a few days with my husband’s aunt as per usual. She’s 90 and has a love/hate feeling about us coming over. She lives alone in a large 4 bed roomed house in North London. It’s getting harder and harder for her. My husband has the awful job of trying to get her to accept care. His aunt loves when we’re around to help with things she can no longer do. She also feels safer when we’re in the house and likes that we clean and prepare food for her. Or take her out to the local pub for a meal. But she struggles to remember when we’re coming and going. It startles her when we walk in the house. So we keep our stays short. The raw food course ran from Monday to Friday so we added the weekends on either side to our time in Gloucester.

Typical steep narrow road

My husband hired a car from Enterprise Car Hire. We always use them as they’re the cheapest if you figure how to get the best price. (We don’t get paid to say that) We usually take the smallest or second smallest car. For the fortnight it cost £360. (Excludes fuel but includes £10 per day insurance) I booked 3 nights at a YHA youth hostel in Welsh Bicknor which cost £15 per person. Includes bed linen, but not towels. You can hire towels for £2. All food is extra but at those prices it’s to be expected. Supper was

Symonds Yat West

£7.50 for a main course, £3.50 for a local craft beer and £8.95 for a bottle of French wine. The food, beer and wine were all good. My husband had a Vegetable Thai Red Curry and I had a Veg Balti.

The YHA hostel in Welsh Bicknor is set in a gorgeous location amongst historical buildings right next the River Wye. It’s at the bottom of a narrow steep lane that does not accommodate two-way traffic. A bit of a problem if you encounter a car as you may have to reverse backward up a narrow steep hill.

Symonds Yat Trail

That’s how it is and no-one makes a fuss. We saw deer, wild birds, squirrels and rabbits – every time we went out.

I used youth hostels exclusively when I traveled Scotland with friends a few years back. Despite the name Youth Hostels, they are not exclusively for youngsters. I had only positive experiences. However we stayed at one in Brighton together earlier in the year. The first time my husband has ever stayed in a hostel. We were disappointed. (Read about that in My Holidays and Trips at the top of the page)

I gave the hostel in Brighton a bad rap and I wish I hadn’t. Maybe I needed to know more about how hostels work. Not sure if it was a YHA hostel. Basically YHA are a charity. They strive to provide accommodation at rock bottom prices. Obviously funds are limited so if you want designer decor, luxe linen and gourmet food – well then give them a miss. But if you just want a place to sleep that provides the basics then youth hostels deliver.

Here’s what you get –

  • friendly and helpful staff
  • bunk beds with clean linen – you pay extra for a towel
  • shared amenities – showers with hot water
  • you can self-cater or have low cost meals – I consider myself a fussy eater but I was happy
  • heating
  • local tourist information and brochures
  • some places have TV and wi-fi – some do not
  • basic furnishings – furniture and carpets can be a bit tired
  • decor is not a priority
  • some things are due for repairs like leaking taps or a lick of paint
  • affordable accommodation in key locations i.e. near to scenic walks or in cities
    Ross on Wye

Find Part 2 – on this link.

On the – My Holidays and Trips – page you can read more about other destinations we have visited.

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