A few weeks ago I escaped from the children for a well needed night away with my mum in Edinburgh. We were taking part in the Great Edinburgh Winter Run on the Saturday so arranged to meet up on the Friday afternoon for a catch up and a late lunch at The Ivy on the Square. If you haven’t been to The Ivy yet, you really need to check it out. I’m a bit of a food snob but I have to say it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Pumpkin soup, duck curry and chocolate bomb…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
That evening we were booked into a twin room* at the Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel and after a few hours of stuffing ourselves silly and wandering the streets of Edinburgh we were definitely looking forward to checking in and getting settled. The hostel is only about a 15 minute walk from Waverley train station but typically we ended up on the other side of town so it felt like a bit of a trek to get to! We really should plan our wanderings a bit better.
It was easy to find though and we were greeted by a friendly receptionist who talked us through the facilities before directing us to our room. Edinburgh Central is spaced over a few floors with reception and plenty of seating areas on the ground floor, as well as the café and a large breakfast room which boasts a couple of gorgeous murals of Edinburgh’s sights. I love things like this, I’m always snapping pictures of murals or street art when I’m on my travels. I was particularly fond of the hedgehogs and their Tunnocks tea cakes!
Downstairs you will find the laundry facilities and a large well-stocked kitchen & dining area should you wish to self-cater. I have to say, I was really impressed by the kitchen. It’d be so handy if you were travelling with kids; we all know how fussy they can be with their food sometimes! I believe there is also a kiddies play room but I didn’t get chance to check it out.
Once we had checked in, we took the lift up to the first floor to find our room and to rest our weary legs before the next day’s 5k. The Scottish Youth Hostel Association offer a variety of rooms including en suite single rooms, twins, family rooms and six bunk dorm rooms. This particular hostel has a grand total of 251 beds. Our room was a private twin with ensuite toilet and shower. And, rather bizarrely, two sinks!
It was at this point, once we had dumped our bags, that I realised I had left my SD card at home. I was so annoyed with myself. I’d lugged my big DSLR camera all the way to Edinburgh only to find that it was useless and I would have to take all my photos on my phone! Epic blogger fail, right there!
So, alas, you will have to make do with mobile phone photos but I’m glad that I can a least share some snaps with you, and maybe even convince you that youth hostelling isn’t just for slightly-less-than-hygienic backbackers. In fact, my mum is in her fifties and regularly uses hostels on her travels. And her personal hygiene is relatively good.
Our room was at the front of the building and had a lovely big window, perfect for people watching! There was also a table with tea/coffee facilities, a TV and a wardrobe unit. The shower and toilet were separate to each other which was actually really handy to avoid queuing for the loo when the other was in the shower.
Speaking of which… You know how I like a good powerful shower; it can be make or break for me when I’m away. But I am pleased to report that the Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel passed the Nest & Dressed shower test! There really is nothing worse than a piddly shower.
That night, I slept like a log. In fact I think it was the best sleep I’d had for a while so there’s definitely no complaints from me regarding the beds! The next morning I had a shower, shimmied into my running gear and sipped on a cuppa while we packed our bags. We wanted to get our breakfast fairly early to give it time to settle before we ran our way round Holyrood Park.
There was a great selection on offer including cereals, juice, fruit and toast plus a full cooked breakfast buffet. The toasters took ages so I’d definitely advise you to pop some toast in first then go make your coffee etc before collecting it. My mum had pretty much eaten her cooked breakfast by the time her toast had browned!
Pros & Cons
It was clean, comfortable, value for money and in a fairly good location. If I was to be staying more than one night I would probably take or buy in my own food rather than rely on the café (there was a distinct lack of cheese on my evening snack of cheesy chips!) but that would just be my personal preference. And of course there is a multitude of eateries on the doorstep so there’s no chance of going hungry!
I liked it! Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel gets a big thumbs up from me! I’ll definitely be renewing my membership so I can stay here again on my next visit. I’ve also got my eye on Glen Nevis Youth Hostel which is currently being redeveloped as part of SYHA’s ongoing modernisation programme. I can feel a family summer holiday coming on!
SYHA is a self-funding charity, hence the membership; but you don’t need an annual membership to give hostelling a go. For a fee of just £3 you can become temporary member allowing you to stay in one of over 60 youth hostels across the country. There’s even one in Oban if you fancy exploring my neck of the woods.
Are you a fan of youth hostels? Any you’d recommend? I’d love to hear about your hostelling adventures!