The History of the Independent Hostel Guide
The Independent Hostel Guide was started in 1993 when Sam Dalley decided to turn her photocopied list of twenty Independent Hostels into a book. Fifteen of the twenty hostels agreed to fund the booklet and the Independent Hostel and Field Centre Guide glided off the photocopier. Distribution of the publication was hard work but never the less double the number of bunkhouses and hostels got in touch that year asking to join the guide. The following year Cordee Books and Maps agreed to distribute the Independent Hostel Guide through their bookshops and the professional guidebook was born.
In 1995 Irish hostels were invited to join and in the year 2000 Continental Europe hostels were incorporated, by this stage the guidebook had reached a coverage of 280 hostels, bunkhouses, camping barns and group accommodation centres. 2003 saw the introduction of the Independent Hostel Guide website which featured all the accommodation details that were found in the guidebook. Despite this sales of the guidebook, now printed on recycled paper continued to grow.
In 2007 Independent Hostels UK was founded and adopted the Independent Hostel Guide as its handbook. This lead to the lapse of Irish and Continental Europe hostels in the handbook which took place in 2009.
Independent Hostels UK, in partnership with Berghaus, is the UK’s network of independently managed bunkhouses, hostels, camping barns and group accommodation in England, Scotland & Wales. With over 330 member hostels the network is comparable in size to the Youth Hostel Association in the UK (YHA plus SYHA).
The network aims to promote all of the accommodation providers equally from small rural setups all the way to the large city hostels by offering a broad marketing package that targets the UK’s outdoor market and independent travellers.
Independent Hostels UK was established under grant funding from the government and is now a self supporting membership body guided by a small committee of member directors.
The network of hostels has grown dramatically since it first started out as a small collection of 14 listed in the very first Independent Hostel Guide (IHG). The handbook of IHUK now lists over 330 hostels, bunkhouses, camping barns and group accommodation centres and approximately 10,000 copies are distributed each year.
Happily the Independent Hostel Guide website continues to feature these hostels online and Non UK establishments are still welcome to join up as friend of IHUK and have a feature on the IHG website and can click here to join.
If you are an independent hostel in the UK join the IHUK, click here.
To order a copy of the 2012 guide, click here. At only £7.45 including postage and packing it represents great value and is an invaluable resource when out and about, particularly where there's no internet access.