What tips can help you find affordable accommodation near UK national trails?

11 June 2024

Walking is a popular pastime in the United Kingdom, with miles of scenic routes crisscrossing the country. Whether you want to take a day walk along the coast or embark on a multi-day trail through the north of the country, the UK offers plenty of options. However, finding budget-friendly and comfortable accommodation along these routes often presents a challenge. This article offers tips on how to find affordable accommodation near UK national trails.

Utilize Online Resources

In today's digital age, finding accommodation for your walking tour has never been easier. Various websites and apps can assist you in locating budget-friendly lodgings within your planned route.

Keep in mind that simply entering the keywords "cheap rooms in such and such a location" might not yield the desired results. Instead, use more specific terms like camping, farm stay, bed and breakfast, or hostel. Moreover, by entering the trail's name, you can find accommodations that are not only affordable but also nearest to your route.

Several websites specialize in walking holidays and provide listings of accommodations along or near popular trails. For example, Sherpa Van (tel. 0871 663 3936) offers comprehensive listings of accommodations along many of the UK's long-distance footpaths.

Consider Camping

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, camping is a viable option. Not only does it allow you to stay close to nature, but it is also one of the most cost-effective accommodation options.

Many national trails in the UK have designated camping spots along the route. These are generally well-maintained, with amenities such as toilets, showers, and even small shops for basic supplies. You need to book ahead during peak season, so get in touch with the authorities managing the trail to secure your camping spot.

If you prefer a bit more comfort, consider glamping. It provides a camping experience with some of the comforts of a hotel room. However, availability and prices will vary, so it's best to do your research and book in advance.

Opt for Bed and Breakfast

A bed and breakfast is an excellent option for walkers who want a comfortable stay without breaking the bank. Usually, these establishments are run by local families, offering homey rooms and hearty breakfasts.

These accommodations are often located near popular walking trails or in villages that serve as trail gateways. The advantage is that you start your day with a full breakfast, ideal for a day of walking.

Searching for B&Bs along your trail route in advance and booking your stay can help you avoid the last-minute rush. Moreover, these establishments may be able to provide you with useful local advice, such as the best spots to visit, local eateries, and even secret trails unknown to most visitors.

Farm Stays and Self-Catering Accommodations

Staying on a farm is another affordable accommodation option. You'll have a unique experience, enjoying country life and fresh farm meals. The farms often have comfortable guest rooms, and some even offer self-catering accommodation, allowing you to prepare your meals, a feature that can help you save on food costs.

Self-catering accommodations such as holiday cottages and apartments are also worth considering. These are fully equipped with kitchen facilities, allowing you to cook your meals and save money. Remember to check for nearby supermarkets or local markets where you can stock up on supplies.

Contact Local Tourist Information Centers

Finally, local tourist information centers can be a goldmine of information. They can provide details about accommodations near the trail, including camping sites, hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering options. You can also find information about discounts or special offers that might not be available online.

Contact them over the phone or visit their websites for more information. These centers are often staffed by locals who are well-versed in the area. They may be able to give you insider tips on finding accommodations that suit your budget and needs.

In conclusion, finding affordable accommodations near UK national trails requires some research. By utilizing online resources, considering different types of accommodations, and reaching out to local tourist information centers, you can find a comfortable place to rest your weary legs after a day of walking. Remember that the key is to plan in advance and book your accommodation as early as possible. Enjoy your walk!

Explore Youth Hostels and Independent Hostels

Youth hostels and independent hostels offer budget-friendly accommodation options and are scattered all over the United Kingdom. They provide an excellent base for walkers and hikers keen on exploring the national trails. The hostels are typically located near long-distance trails such as Hadrian's Wall, South Downs, and the Coast Path, making them a convenient option.

Youth hostels, run by the Youth Hostels Association (YHA), are known for their affordability and camaraderie. While they may not offer the luxury of a hotel room, their amenities are more than sufficient for a comfortable stay. Rooms are usually shared, but private rooms are also available at a slightly higher cost. The facilities typically include shared bathrooms, a self-catering kitchen, laundry services, and even free Wi-Fi. A full breakfast is often included in the price or available for an additional fee.

Independent hostels, like youth hostels, offer affordable, self-catering accommodation. They are privately owned and have a more personal, homely feel. Some even offer unique stays, such as converted barns or eco-friendly lodges. These hostels also provide public transport information for their guests' convenience.

Both youth and independent hostels can be booked online, and early booking is advised, particularly during peak season. Contact details for the YHA in the United Kingdom are: tel. 0800 0191 700. For independent hostels, visit www.independenthostelguide.co.uk.

Take Advantage of Public Transport for Larger Distances

UK's public transport system is well-developed and an excellent option for walkers who wish to cover larger distances along national trails. Services include buses, trains and even ferries, connecting many towns and villages along or near the trails.

Trailheads at both ends of long-distance paths like South Downs Way, Coast to Coast, and Hadrian’s Wall are well served by public transport. Utilizing these services can remove the need for accommodation at every stop, reducing overall costs.

For instance, a day trip from Chipping Campden can take you to a far-off section of the Cotswold Way, and a return journey in the evening will eliminate the need for an overnight stay. Similarly, walkers exploring the North York Moors can use the Moorsbus service to travel between different sections of the trail.

Remember to check the public transport schedules and plan your walking route accordingly. You can get this information from the local tourist information centres or the transport services' websites.


Finding affordable accommodation along the UK's national trails does not have to be a daunting task. With the vast array of options available, from wild camping and farm stays to bed & breakfasts and hostels, you can tailor your stay to your preferences and budget.

Don't forget to use the numerous online resources and local tourist information centers, which can provide a wealth of information. Also, consider incorporating public transport into your walking holiday, especially for long-distance trails.

Advance planning is crucial, so start early. As the saying goes, "The early bird catches the worm." Research, book ahead, and you will find a comfortable stay within your budget.

Ultimately, the journey is as significant as the destination. So, take your time, soak up the scenery, and enjoy every mile of your walk on the UK's national trails. Happy walking!

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