Blog Post

Hostelling Scotland’s Winter Hostelling Guide

The beginning of the year can be a real struggle, with many shaking off the effects of the party season and clinging on to New Year diets and work-out regimes. To help you through the first few months of the year we’ve pulled together this helpful guide, providing ideas for what to do and where to go this winter. There’s so much to see and do in Scotland during the winter months – just make sure you get your long weekends and staycations planned and booked in plenty of time so you can get out there and experience all this beautiful country has to offer!

Winter Skiing

Scotland has five ski resorts with the best outdoor skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the UK and we have youth hostels next to them all. So, why not plan a winter weekend away this season?

Head to the Glencoe Mountain resort for winter skiing, snowboarding, sledging and avalanche rescue training. Situated along the West Highland Way this is Scotland’s oldest ski centre, which offers stunning scenery and a great choice of runs. Stay at Glencoe Youth Hostel which is a 10-minute drive away.

Nevis Range Mountain Experience near Fort William is home to the UK’s only mountain gondola and there is plenty to do for all the family. Book your stay at the 5* Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, sitting at the foot of Ben Nevis with breathtaking mountain views and a cosy log burner.

Glenshee Snowsports Centre in Ballater is the country’s largest ski resort and is sometimes referred to as the Scottish three valleys. It’s within easy reach of Braemar Youth Hostel which opens on February 1st.

Lecht 2090 in the Eastern Cairngorms is the smallest ski centre in Scotland but it definitely packs a punch. If you’re not into snow sports then take a trip on the chairlift and enjoy the spectacular views!

CairnGorm Mountain Snowsports Centre is just 4 miles away from Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel (which opens on January 31st) and only 11 miles from Aviemore Youth Hostel which is open all year. It offers great facilities for beginners and has a café and shop for refreshments.

Film-set locations

Scotland has become a TV and film hotspot, with directors choosing to film in some of the most beautiful locations in the country. If you’re planning a Scottish staycation then make sure you check out these film locations for yourself…

The Isle of Skye’s dramatic landscape has been used in many film and TV productions, including The Land That Time Forgot, The BFG, Stardust and cult classic The Wicker Man. Stay at Portree Youth Hostel to uncover the western island’s epic mountains and stunning scenery. Watch our latest video of the Isle of Skye Road Trip here – it’s sure to inspire!

The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye (VisitScotland)

If you’ve watched Outlaw King on Netflix you’re sure to recognise some of the 45 Scottish locations that appear in the film. Locations include Doune Castle and Bannockburn (both near Stirling), Linlithgow Palace and Glasgow Cathedral. 2019 blockbuster Mary Queen of Scots, starring Margo Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, was partly filmed in Blackness Castle and Glencoe.

Linlithgow Palace (VisitScotland)

Winter running

Shake off the January blues in style by taking part in a winter running challenge! There are plenty to choose from in the first few months of the year.

Stay at Stirling Youth Hostel if you’re travelling to Buchlyvie for Buchlyvie 10k on Saturday, January 26th. We recommend you give Trailfest’s 5km NIGHTRun just outside Glasgow a try on Monday, February 25th. Remember your head torch for this evening trail run, happening at Pollok Country Park at 7pm. If you’re looking for a longer running challenge, then Inverness Half Marathon, which takes place on Sunday, March 10th is the event for you! Book your private or shared room at Inverness Youth Hostel today.

Brilliant events

Our calendar is brimming with exciting events from north, south, east, to west. Whether you’re into sports, film, or you’re in need of a good laugh, there are plenty of events to look forward to in the next couple of months… 


This year Burns Night falls on a Friday (January 25th), so make sure you celebrate in style! Robert Burns’ birth is recognised annually, and this year is the 260th anniversary of his birth. Burns Night events and ceilidhs are happening around the country and the capital is putting on a six-day festival, Burns & Beyond, from Monday, January 21st to Saturday, January 26th. Book your stay at Edinburgh Youth Hostel if you’re planning to attend this brand new arts festival. 


Don’t miss Glasgow Film Festival, regarded as one of the UK’s leading film fests. The team at Glasgow Film Theatre, which organise the yearly event, has already announced that 2019’s programme will include special anniversary screenings of Alien and The Matrix. The full programme for Glasgow Film Festival, which runs from February 20th to March 3rd will be revealed on January 23rd. Why not make a weekend of it and stay at Glasgow Youth Hostel? It’s just a 20 minute walk from the event venue.


The first weekend of March is all about the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow. Over 600 athletes from 50 nations will take to the tracks at The Emirates Arena from March 1st to March 3rd. If you’re making a weekend of it then book your stay at Glasgow Youth Hostel today! Later in March, Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Europe’s largest, will return for its 17th year.  The extensive festival line-up includes Josie Long and Reginald D. Hunter, who will leave you laughing from March 14th to March 31st.