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About Thorney How

Thorney How offers welcoming, clean and comfortable, easy guest accommodation. For simple holidays and backpacking in Grasmere, the heart of the Lake District.

Thorney How offers a range of pleasant, sociable and welcoming environments for its guests to enjoy.

The flexible accommodation can cater for individual bookings, family rooms, small groups and large groups. Corporate enquiries welcome, please call to discuss your needs.

Up to beds are arranged in a total of 11 bedrooms ranging from 2 beds to 6 beds per room. Our rooms have mainly bunk style with some twin and double beds.

New from 2017. All main house rooms will be en-suite. Including 2x double, 1 x twin, 2 x family room – with up to 4 beds. 2x larger 6 person dorms

Bed linen is provided unless otherwise stated.

The main gentleman’s style residence and 350 year old farmhouse is charming and has well proportioned, comfortable and warm rooms with fabulous views onto the grounds and the distant Fairfield / Helvellyn mountain range. The main house has 7 rooms and up to 26 bed spaces.

Helm Crag
Helm Crag, Autumn Colours

Just behind Thorney How sits Helm Crag, with stunning views across the Grasmere valley and surrounding fells this is one of Grasmere’s most popular walks.

Dog Policy

We recognise that fell walkers often wish to bring their four legged companions with them when staying away from home. However, we now have a flock of sheep resident in the grounds and cannot accept dogs.

We do not allow dogs to come into any part of the buildings. We do not allow dogs to stay in cars either during the day or overnight.


The 4 roomed separate bunk house sits alongside the main residence underneath Helm Crag with views of the Easedale Valley. This is an independent 16 bedded space suitable for mixed types of groups.

Private parking, electric car charging points, mountain bike hire, cycle store, drying room, licensed bar, cinema film screenings and spacious grounds completes the experience.

Thorney How, previously owned and managed by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) from 1931 to 2010 was acquired in 2011 as a family owned and run independent accommodation. We have since been upgrading areas of the building in order to develop and extend the original provision bringing our own personal experiences to create a unique and welcoming environment providing relaxed holiday accommodation.

Family room – 4 bunk beds ensuite
Family 4 person en-suite room

About the Grasmere area

Grasmere is probably Cumbria’s most popular village. Offering tranquil charm, literary heritage and of course it is at the centre of the magnificent lake district fell walking country.
See the Go Lakes Grasmere Leaflet for futher information

Grasmere is at the heart of the Lake District. Image courtesy of Stuart SmithFrom our front door, you are surrounded by beautiful scenery, and landscapes full of adventureGrasmere, misty morning views across the lake.Helm Crag, evening sunset.Striding Edge, Helvellyn snow scene credit Dave WillisCastlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick

If you’re planning to do the classic Coast to Coast path or simply wanting to explore the surrounding fells from a convenient base, Thorney How, just minutes from the centre of Grasmere, is a great place to stay.

Grasmere lake lies to the south of the village, around which there are some gentle walks and cycle routes for those that prefer the lower ground.

Mountains to climb

For those that prefer a greater challenge, in Grasmere you’re centrally situated for taking on the craggy peaks of the Scafell Pikes, Great Gable, Helvellyn, Fairfield, Skiddaw and the Langdale Pikes.

TripAdvisor review May 2016:

‘“What a great place. ” – Stayed here the night before we did Scafell pike and what a lovely place it was. The location is wonderful surrounded by hills and fields and the whole place feels peaceful, we had a fantastic nights sleep.
The food was excellent, we had chicken pie and it was one of the best I have had, lovely comfort food served in a nice bar/restaurant area. ‘

Coast to Coast Trail

The brainchild of Alfred Wainwright, the well-known writer and hill-walker, the Coast to Coast Walk crosses three National Parks, undoubtedly some of England’s finest scenery. Many walkers choose to link Youth Hostels (YHA) with Independent Hostels and B&B’s to complete the walk.

More information can be found here

TripAdvisor review May 2016:

‘“Perfect place to stay while doing the Coast to Coast walk” – Lovely hostel, clean and very well organised and run. Welcoming staff. Beautiful location. Great selection of beer, and food (the Tuscan bean casserole was amazing). Top notch, pity we only had one night there before the next leg of the walk!’

Grasmere Village

Grasmere is now almost totally given over to the tourist industry, with plenty of gift shops, and places to eat and stay. Grasmere as a busy tourist hub with good public transport links offers plenty for the traveller. Only a short step to Thorney How brings a sense of quiet and remoteness for those that feel the need to get away from it all.

Grasmere was once the home of the famous poet William Wordsworth; today you can visit two of his former homes – Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. Also in the centre of Grasmere is St. Oswalds Church, the churchyard of which contains the Wordsworth family graves. Next to the churchyard you will find the famous Grasmere Gingerbread in the tiny historic store.

Grasmere is a charming village right in the heart of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, England. Within easy reach are the honeypot towns of Ambleside, Keswick, Hawkshead, Coniston, Bowness and Windermere.

For general South Lakes visitor information please see Traveller’s Guide to the South & Central Lakes

The History of Thorney How

Thorney How consists of two adjacent buildings. The main building was originally a farmhouse with attached barn built around 350 to 400 years ago and is of traditional Lakeland stone construction.

Thorney How’s Victorian heritage is enhanced by several literary references and visits by William Wordsworth and his associates.

Local information states that the lane running along the north boundary of Thorney How is known as Flashing Lane or Lonning (referring to a quiet lane or short cut).

Thorney How was acquired by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) in the 1930’s and has the distinction of being the first property that the YHA fully owned.

Thorney How remained in the ownership of the YHA as a working youth hostel for nearly 80 years until 2011. During their ownership the YHA made changes to the property by converting the barn into a dining room, adding shower and toilet facilities, building an extended reception area.

A second more modern building – the Bunkhouse – was added to house additional bed spaces and staff accommodation. Records indicate that the Bunkhouse was once a single storey farmers cottage.

Thorney How was sold by the YHA in February 2011, it was reopened as a family run Independent Hostel at Easter 2011.

The Bunkhouse has been upgraded by its present owners in 2013 with additional showers and a biomass fueled heating system.

Further upgrades are now (2015-17) being undertaken in the main house accommodation with en-suite facilities being added to all rooms.

Thorney How is proud to be part of UK Independent Hostels