Join the VisitEngland Hostel Scheme


About the scheme

This scheme assesses accommodation ranging from rural bothies to large group youth hostels with activities on offer. Not all types of hostel are given a star rating, but all of them must meet a set of minimum requirements in order to be accredited by VisitEngland.

Within the scheme, there are a number of designators to allow you to obtain a rating which matches your type of business and give potential guests an idea of what to expect. At the time of your assessment, you will have the chance to discuss your designator with the assessor.

Hostel designators

Hostel: Star-rated accommodation often comprising bunk beds in shared rooms, with family rooms also available. Hostels normally welcome individuals, families and groups staying on a short-term basis. They often have quite a formalised structure which may include restricted access or meal service.

Backpacker: Star-rated accommodation very similar to a hostel but run on a less formal basis – with 24-hour access, for example. They are often more appropriate for longer term independent travellers and the younger end of the market. They tend not to take family groups.

Group Accommodation: Star-rated accommodation usually in shared rooms with bunk beds. They may be fully serviced or self-catering.

Activity Accommodation: Star-rated accommodation normally provided on a group basis. The establishment will offer fully certified or licensed activities and may be fully serviced or self-catering.

Download an application form

View the current Hostel scheme fees

Note: the following two types of hostel are not star rated but must meet or exceed minimum standards of cleanliness, maintenance and quality.

Bunkhouse: Rural accommodation, which can be booked by groups or individuals. Services and facilities may be limited but will include a self-catering facility.

Camping Barn (bothy, bod): These provide very simple accommodation in a rural setting, often referred to as ‘stone tents’. They have the advantage of being roomy and dry. Visitors should normally expect to bring their own sleeping bags and cooking equipment. Groups or individual travellers may be accepted.

Accreditation-only membership

This level of membership has been designed to provide accommodation businesses with a robust and dependable method to demonstrate that they are operating in a compliant, safe and clean way. Initially launched in 2010, the scheme has been regularly revisited to ensure it covers the latest legislation.

VisitEngland works with destinations and local assessment organisations to offer this accreditation scheme on a local level. However, if a business is in an area without a local scheme, they can apply to VisitEngland directly.

Entry Level Accreditation offers reassurance that the accommodation is compliant, safe and clean, but does not include a star rating or quality accreditation, which are available through one of VisitEngland’s range of quality assessment schemes.

View the current fees and download an accreditiation-only application form



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