Being 43, I’ve decided that I’m too old for youth hostels (although I’m frequently the youngest there if I’m being honest), but they have had some impressively cheap private rooms on offer this year. Lee Valley YHA is conveniently located a two-minute walk from Cheshunt railway station, which is just a £4 fare from London Liverpool Street on the Overground.
There are a series of lodges in addition to the main building, which are probably much in demand during the summer by cyclists, walkers, canoeists and sociable people. During the winter months there is a different dynamic, but it’s a quiet location which feels like it’s in the countryside.
My private room, which was basic, but functional. There were sufficient power sockets, although no wi-fi is offered in the lodges, although I didn’t need it. There’s also no television in the rooms, although there is one of the communal area and I never watch it anyway.
YHA are really not good at communicating on site what they offer in terms of meals and facilities, so I was aware that they did do meals and drinks, but I have no idea what they are, or when they’ve served. In terms of running a bar cafe in the day, it’s a marvellous idea, but I’m unsure why they have to keep these things most secret than they need to. I didn’t see a menu on the wall, on tables, in the rooms or communal areas, although I was told they did breakfast. To be fair, the YHA do though put the menu on their web-site, although not with anything useful such as opening times.
The welcome was friendly and the staff member seemed keen to help, engaging in a positive manner. The set-up of lodges within the complex is useful, as it means that groups can privately hire one if they like, without disturbing the operation of the rest of the hostel. Each lodge can cater for a maximum of twenty people, with the hire fees being from £199 per night (although this price doesn’t seem to actually ever be available, despite on-line bookings running ahead for fifteen months). There’s also car parking on site, not that this was of much relevance to me.
The private room, with en suite, that I was in cost £17 per night, which seems very reasonable to me. It’s around a ten-minute walk to the centre of the metropolis that is Cheshunt, with the security at the site seemingly quite tight. At this price, it’s all rather lovely.