Cornwall has a great choice of bases for budget-minded travellers. From seaside hangouts with free breakfast to youth hostels with money-can’t-buy views, these stylish places to stay won’t break the bank. From Newquay to Land’s End, many offer family rooms, private ensuites or multi-bed dorms. Thrifty travellers should drop anchor in these wallet-friendly stays for local lobster nights, sea views and surfing on the doorstep. Here’s our guide to the best hostels in Cornwall.
From the beanbags to the shower cubicles, there’s a bright and funky feel to this hostel, housed inside a Grade II-listed building in the heart of St Ives. The large communal lounge has a bar, a large screen for movie nights and a mezzanine area dotted with leather Chesterfields and pot plants. Facilities include super-fast wifi, a private courtyard and a fully equipped kitchen. Choose from shared dorms and private rooms, all with ample storage, if you’re bringing your surfboard.
This fun hostel, located in central Newquay, is geared towards travellers aged 18 to 40, and has a lively on-site bar that’s open until 3am. It’s also an affordable option for families, with rooms available that sleep up to five guests, alongside others that cater for groups of between four and 18 people. Expect plenty of bunks, communal showers and tasty Thai or Italian food for a wallet-friendly dinner.
Looking for a laid-back surf lodge? Reef Island is located a two-minute stroll from the beach, so you can make like a local and walk there in your wetsuit. You’re also close to Newquay’s shops and bars – don’t miss the speakeasy-style Tom Thumb for cocktails. Rooms are shared: go for the budget triple or six-bed dorm for the best value. A family ensuite, sleeping five, is also available.
How about staying in the country’s westernmost hostel? YHA Land’s End has views towards the sea, while also being hidden away in the Cot Valley. The hostel – which is open from March to November – has parking, free wifi and a good range of accommodation options, including private ensuite rooms and traditional dorms. Keen to walk? The South West Coast Path is a five-minute stroll away. Camping is available in the summer months.
A Victorian country house with superb sea views doesn’t have to cost the earth, as this inspiring youth hostel proves. Wake up in your bunk to glorious vistas of Coverack Cove laid out beneath your sash window. You can choose between dorms, private rooms and ensuites, and there are great self-catering facilities and cosy social areas. Outside, the pretty garden features a barbecue area, and you can camp in bell tents with proper beds in summer.
Set inside a beautiful Georgian mansion, this youth hostel is ideal for thrifty travellers. It offers a variety of room options, from shared dorms to family, doubles and twins. Surrounded by pretty gardens, it’s ideally located just under a mile from Penzance town centre, with its restored art deco geothermal Jubilee Pool (where cheap tickets are well worth the toasty swim). On-site facilities include a car park, free wifi, laundry facilities and a games room. There’s also a café serving affordable breakfast and dinner, perfect to set you up for a day exploring.
If you want to be in the heart of the action without splashing the cash, St Christopher’s is a safe bet. It’s positioned just a minute’s walk from Towan Bay – ideal for surf lessons – amid the throng of Newquay’s cool bars and independent cafés. The hostel offers surfing packages with discounted lessons, and the on-site bar Belushi’s is great for après-surf drinks.
Housed inside a converted barn, this family-run hostel has a peaceful setting with views towards Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly. It sleeps up to 14 guests in four rooms, and many of the bunks feature privacy curtains. There’s a fully fitted kitchen and you can eat your own creations (or feast on the breakfast provided) either in the indoor dining area or al fresco. Dogs are allowed in some rooms, and there’s bike storage and free parking.
You can’t escape the nautical theme of this hostel on St Mary’s, the largest island in the Isles of Scilly. Rooms feature marine motifs and are decorated in shades of sea grey and bright white. There’s a good selection of rooms, including twins, family suites and six-person dorms. The café serves local, home-made dishes with a relaxed atmosphere. Don’t miss lobster night, when you can enjoy a three-course meal (including lobster) while local fishers reveal the secrets of Scillonian shellfishing.
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