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Bell Tent Glamping at YHA Hawkshead | Lake District

Reach YHA Hawkshead via the gorgeous driveway up to the Regency house, Esthwaite Lodge, where you can cast your eyes over to the breathtaking Esthwaite Water. This natural lake extending to 280 acres was a great inspiration to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.

Glamping at YHA Hawkshead is a tranquil spot to pitch up and explore the southern fells of the Lake District, Grizedale Forest, Potter’s Hill Top farmhouse, and the West Shore of Windermere.

View of YHA Kawkshead and Esthwaite Water
View of YHA Hawkshead and Esthwaite Water

History Of Esthwaite Lodge

Esthwaite Lodge at YHA Hawkshead in the Lake District is a charming 19th-century Grade II listed building that was commissioned by Thomas Alcock Beck, a resident, and antiquarian.

Beck employed Kendal-based architect George Webster to design a property for him that included easy gradients in the grounds for his invalid chair. Esthwaite Lodge was completed in 1821 in the Neoclassical Greek Revival style.

Following Beck’s passing in 1846, his widow and his descendants continued to live in the house until the early 20th century. The Brocklebank family purchased the property and leased the house to several tenants. A plaque on the wall of Esthwaite House shows that the novelist, Francis Brett Young, lived there from 1929 and 1932.

WWII saw the building take on a new purpose as it was used to accommodate volunteers involved with the Hawkshead Afforestation Scheme and later members of the Women’s Land Army. The house was purchased by YHA (England & Wales) in 1942 who still own the property to this day.

Esthwaite Lodge at YHA Hawkshead
Esthwaite Lodge at YHA Hawkshead

Accommodation At YHA Hawkshead

Types Of Accommodation At YHA Hawkshead

There is a wonderful selection of accommodation options at YHA Hawkshead which includes shared and private dorms, tipis, bell tents, wooden camping pods that sleep 2 people (standard with single beds) and 4 people (large pod with a double and 2 single beds), and camping pitches. 

There was a real family vibe to YHA Hawkshead, with kids playing out in the gardens. However, visitors of all ages can be seen enjoying the charming hostel in the secluded woodlands.

Hostel-goers can make use of the facilities within the main house and courtyard building. There are ample shared areas such as a lounge, games room, drying room, and self-catering kitchen.

Tipis and Camping Pods at YHA Hawkshead, Lake District
Tipis and Camping Pods

Sleeping In The Bell Tent | Glamping At YHA Hawkshead

I couldn’t wait to experience the fun of glamping at YHA Hawkshead in a bell tent! At YHA Hawkshead, there are 10 bell tents located on the front lawn and well-spaced out for privacy, peace, and quiet.

The bell tents are kitted out with a double futon bed and three single futons plus all bedding. The duvet was above standard in my eyes – it was heavy, super cosy, and perfect to keep you warm on September nights.

There is a locked chest in the bell tents for your belongings as well as eco-friendly solar lighting, rugs, and soft flooring.

No camping trip is complete without a chat around the fire. Whilst campfires are not allowed, the bell tents all have their own BBQ fire pit. Just buy the wood and kindling from reception for £5.

Away from the pollution of the city, remember to look up at the stars. Your mind will be blown by the clear twinkling sky.

Sleeping amongst nature is good for the soul. I had a beautiful deep sleep in the bell tent with the fresh air in my lungs. The chorus of bleating sheep, mooing cows, tweeting birds, and hooting owls just added to the magic.

The industrial-looking shower and toilet containers tucked away in the trees near the bell tents are spacious and sparkling inside. Glamping at YHA Hawkshead has all the facilities you would need.

BBQ Fire Pit at the Bell Tent - Glamping at YHA Hawkshead
BBQ Fire Pit at the Bell Tent

Eating At YHA Hawkshead

Food And Drink At YHA Hawkshead

We ordered our breakfast upon check-in to collect in the morning. You can choose from sausage, bacon, or vegan sausage breakfast baps for £3.95 and add a hot drink for £1. The sausages were locally sourced with a great flavour and happy to see they arrived in biodegradable takeaway boxes.

If you are ordering tea or coffee (cafetiere), take your reusable cup to bag yourself 25p off the price.

For evening meal options, you can order a stone-baked pizza, burgers (beef or falafel), and side dishes such as sweet potato fries, garlic bread, and crispy cod goujons.

If you join as a member, you can pre-book meals for bookings of less than 16 people and get 10% off the cost. I had missed the fact that you had to book online before you arrive so check this out before you head off on your Lake District adventure.

If you fancy a drink around the campfire, there is a great selection of beers, wines, and soft drinks to buy from the reception.

Breakfast Baps by the bell tent at YHA Hawkshead
Sausage Breakfast Bap

The Self-Catered Kitchen At YHA Hawkshead

So, do you want to bring your own grub? That’s ok too! There’s a large self-catered kitchen in the courtyard area with an oven, fridges, cutlery, and recycling bins. We brought some food to cook up there and ate by the fire at our bell tents.

The self-catered kitchen was spotless. Labels are available to fill out with your name, room number, and date of departure to stick to your food containers. There is a quirky sign saying “FRIDGE GREMLINS. Please can you make sure you label ALL food in the fridges? They are cleaned daily. Any unlabelled food will be removed and fed to the gremlins. Many thanks.”

The self-catered kitchen at YHA Hawkshead closes at 9.45 pm and opens again at 7 am.

Self catering kitchen at YHA Hawkshead
Self-catering kitchen in the courtyard

Eating Out Near YHA Hawkshead

There are some local pubs, cafes, and restaurants in the quaint village of Hawkshead which is either a 4-minute drive or a 20-minute walk.

I’ve sampled some traditional British pubs in the area, I could recommend Outgate Inn and Red Lion Inn but always worth phoning ahead as peak time can be tricky to get a table. Check the best places to eat in Hawkshead.

How Green Is YHA Hawkshead?

As a keen environmentalist, I am always on the lookout for eco-friendly processes within the places I stay and eat. Here are the green credentials I spotted whilst eco-glamping at YHA Hawkshead

  • Recycling bins – There was an impressive number of recycling points around the site.
  • Solar-powered lights on the tipis and bell tents.
  • Non-toxic cleaning products are used to sanitise the hostel.
  • Tea towels and dishcloths are washed and reused in the shared kitchen instead of throwaway options.
  • Drying rooms instead of inefficient tumble dryers.
  • ‘Bug Hostel’ to encourage insects to the wild areas.
  • Containex Shower & Toilet Blocks with strict “Green technology” environmental and quality standards.

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Bug Hostel at YHA Hawkshead
Bug Hostel

Book Your Stay At YHA Hawkshead

This was my first time staying with YHA and I am totally sold! Glamping at YHA Hawkshead Lake District was the serene and welcoming experience I was craving. Get ready to embrace mother nature by booking your spot!


Bell Tent Village - Glamping at YHA Hawkshead
Bell Tent Village

Disclaimer: Thanks to YHA (England & Wales) for sponsoring my stay. Although I was a guest, all opinions are my own.

More YHA + Lake District Inspiration

So where to next after YHA Hawkshead? I have been lucky enough to explore lots in the Lake District as I live close enough for day trips. However, staying overnight is a must in my eyes to really switch off in nature. Try the airstream glamping at YHA Borrowdale or landpod glamping at YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe or a private room at YHA Buttermere.

FAQs | Stay At YHA Hawkshead

Is YHA Hawkshead dog-friendly?

Dogs are more than welcome at YHA Hawkshead. They are allowed in the dining areas and dog bowls are available for your furry friends.

An additional fee of £5 is payable per dog per night for the camping pod, cabin, and tipi accommodation which is payable upon arrival. Dogs stay for free if you are pitching your own tent. Pets are not allowed in the hostel rooms although assistance dogs are welcome throughout.

Are towels provided at YHA Hawkshead?

Towels are not provided as standard but you can hire them at reception to save space in your bag.

Is there free WiFi at YHA Hawkshead?

If you are not ready to immerse yourself in a digital detox, the Free WiFi works well in the communal areas in the main house or the courtyard.

What are the opening and check-in times at YHA Hawkshead?

As per the YHA book terms, check-in time is from 5 pm until 10 pm. Check-out is at 10 am.
The main house is locked at 10 pm, and you are given a code to enter out of hours to access the facilities.

What is the best travel insurance for the Lake District?

You must check the list of outdoor activities covered by your travel insurance. I find that Heymondo covers all I need!

Get 5% off your travel insurance with HeyMondo. Benefit from 24-hour medical assistance, 365 days a year with single, multi-trip, and long-stay insurance (up to 3 months), cover for Covid-19, and non-refundable expenses. The handy app makes this a simple process! They give a little back too by contributing to ‘Doctors Without Borders’.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. It comes at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.

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