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Whether travelling independently, with a family or friends, or with a larger social group, St Briavels Castle is a venue with a real “WOW” factor that will amaze and inspire young and old alike. The Castle is over 800 years old, with bags of character and remarkably well-preserved features throughout, and a magical charm that promotes social interaction and historical interest in equal measure.

The Castle is a Grade 1 listed ancient monument, a rich piece of our heritage and an inspiring location at amazingly affordable prices. The perfect background for weddings, private parties, family holidays, activity breaks, as well as school visits (where students really do “learn outside the classroom” as they are transported back in time to Medieval world of King John and the Magna Carta). Access to the hostel is limited during the day, but we'd love you to join us for a banquet or Supper Club. Late night return to site is available – ask for the daily door code before you head out.

Within this AONB area there are plenty of family fun attractions and outdoor activities; wooded walks, cycle trails, canoe routes, world-famous rock climbing and views at Symonds Yat, watch the Severn Bore, and visit even more Castles! You are in the middle of the Forest of Dean and close to the Brecon Beacons, or if you are looking for a City Break for the day Gloucester, Bristol and Cardiff are all within easy reach. Discounts are available at a growing number of local attractions so please ask for details on arrival.

Free WI-FI in communal areas for guests!

YHA St Briavels Castle has 70 beds in the following layout: 1 x 4, 3 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10, 1 x 12 and 1 x 14

There are six character private hire rooms that include:

  • Isobel’s – a modern room, complete with his and hers sinks – the bridal suite of the Castle
  • The Prison complete with 16th & 17th century graffiti
  • The State Apartment, with the “King’s Seat” at the head of the once great banqueting hall
  • The Oubliette, discover its dark hidden secret below 
  • There are also two spacious “dormitory” rooms – forming the tops of the two towers – which are perfect for larger groups of families and friends who are happy to share. Both rooms are available for private hire by single families during periods of high demand at family room prices, booking direct with hostel is essential as these are not available to book online.
  • Constables Room is in the East Tower, with Edwardian window bays with single beds
  • Porters Lodge has original stone walls, a feature fireplace and window bays with single beds

YHA cannot always guarantee accommodation within a specific room. This is business dependent. Please call the hostel direct to discuss special requirements. 

The social spaces of the Castle were reconfigured in 2015 to create an amazing banqueting hall fit for a King! (This means that the public rooms featured on the virtual tour have now changed). We are looking to update the virtual tour in the future, but we hope that you enjoy discovering the rooms when you arrive!

The Castle Chapel is now a comfortable family lounge; with dressing up, children’s toys and books. There is no TV at the Castle so the emphasis is really on the social occasion of making new friends, playing games together and sharing experiences. The modern world has however breached the Castle walls and there is WiFi available in the social spaces; Chapel, Banqueting Hall and Old Stables.

The Old Kitchen is a quiet lounge; with wood panels, a period fireplace and fantastic historical features (including the original staircase and dog spit wheel).

The Banqueting Hall (formerly King John’s Lounge) is now a spacious dining room, with a grand fireplace and period features an amazing backdrop to the regular feasts held within its walls. With tapestries on the wall, the flicker of candles, a sumptuous feast, and the sounds of Minstrels making merry tunes, the hosted banquet is a wonderful social experience that both entertains and informs guests. Forget your knife and fork and “Rules of Mum”, it is eating with fingers and banging the table with raucous delight that take precedence here.

The Old Stables is a versatile social space; with service of breakfast and supper club for families, a classroom/meeting room for groups, daytime café, banquet craft zone, and relaxing social space in the evenings.

The grounds are an archaeologically preserved site and operate as an English Heritage visitor attractions during the afternoon regrettably no camping is permitted at St Briavels Castle. There is a peaceful walled garden and courtyard area, to soak in the culture and watch the flights of fledgling archers as they practice this noble sport within this magical setting. This is also the venue throughout the year for amazing historical and literary themed events, such as “Shakespeare At The Castle” at the end of July, a WW2 weekend in April and the “Heritage Open Weekend” on the second weekend of September.

The acoustics in the grounds are fantastic for live music events and plays, and are open as a community resource for local schools and youth groups.


Sleep well? Break your fast like a king with a delicious hot and cold buffet breakfast, including all your sizzling Full English faves, refreshing fruit juices, crunchy cereals and mountains of toast. Breakfast is served from 7:30am until 9am, but we can be flexible for groups - just ask. Breakfast is now available at 10% off - ONLY WHEN PRE-BOOKED (in-hostel price: £5.25). Simply add it to your basket at check out to save!


We can provide a packed lunch including a freshly prepared sandwich, a delicious cake, cereal bar, a bottle of mineral water, a packet of crisps and a piece of fresh fruit. Eat in the hostel or take your packed lunch with you to enjoy during your day of exploring.

Supper Club

This hostel offers the YHA Supper Club menu. This is a three course meal served at set times and sold at a set price - we can do a family sitting at 6pm as well as the usual 7pm sitting! Guests in the Youth Hostel will have the opportunity to all sit around the table together and share stories with their fellow travellers - this is the authentic hostelling experience and the public can join us too! We can cater for any special dietary requirements with advance notice.

Medieval and Themed Banquets

Our crowning glory however, and a highly recommended part of any stay at the castle, is the participation in one of our hosted banquets. Starting with a dressing-up and craft session, this sumptuous feast is fun for guests of all ages, and always rounded off with either a Medieval story-telling session or a game of Cluedo in the castle (using the castle as a real life game-board). The banquets are held regularly at weekends and school holidays and are open to guests and non-residents. Join us for themed nights such as pumpkin-carving at Halloween or a Christmas dinner fit for queen. Please call or email the hostel direct for information.

Kids Eat Free

One free children's meal is available per adult main meal from the main menu when purchased at the same time. This offer is not available on breakfast. The banquet is also exluded from the offer.


Our castle café is open daily serving teas, coffees, and a range of cold drinks. Why not enjoy an ice cream with a bottle of cider in our courtyard on a hot day, or try our tempting Cakeaway offer for just £3? We love the chocolate cake.

Self-Catering Facilities

Got the urge to serve? Cook up your own banquet in our small but well-equipped kitchen.We have two ovens, two toasters, two kettles, two microwaves, two fridges and a freezer. There's a treasury of pots, pans, cutlery and crockery to use too!


We are experienced in catering for large groups, from schools to birthday parties to weddings, and anything in between. Ask about our amazing themed meals, special functions, and buffets, or treat your group to a sumptous banquet - get in touch and we'll tell you the tale of what we've got on offer.

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icon-towncityfilter YHA St Briavels castleType of Accommodation
Hostel or bunkhouse
dogsPD YHA St Briavels castlePet Friendly?
No sorry
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Location (Town)
Location (County)
Post Code
GL15 6RG

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Introduction to iFootpath

iFootpath provides a mechanism to capture and share details of walks, but it is worth explaining the essential structure of a walk as they are stored in the iFootpath database. The basic concept is that a walk consists of any number of sections that are joined end to end. For each section we might want to describe views or other points of interest about that part of the walk.

The database that underpins iFootpath provides the mechanisms to store the structure and details of each walk, descriptions, photographs and mapping data for the overall walk and each section of it. It is not mandatory to enter information into every single field in the forms we provide, although some basic details are essential to ensure the walk database stays manageable and searcheable.

Each walk entered can be shared with all other iFootpath users, but before a walk (and its sections) are shared there are three stages it must go through. The first stage is as a "Draft". When a walk is in draft it is only visible and editable by you, the author of that walk. Whilst it is in draft form you can add sections, photographs, further description and refine it as you see fit. You can do as little or as much as you like. However, it is worth remembering that if someone (you) wants to print it off and take it as a walking guide, then it is worth taking the time to detail each section reasonably concisely. Long descriptions are generally distracting when walking and a short, concise version is usually much easier to use.

When you are happy with the walk description and its sections you can set the status to "Ready". This does not yet make it visible to everyone. It does, however, lock the editing (although you can change it back to draft and continue editing) and alerts the systems administrators that it requires reviewing prior to being "Published". When set to "Ready" the walk will be reviewed to check it contains the basic data needed and to ensure the content is clean. We do not allow content to include obscenities, swearing or other offensive language or pictures. This review does not check the walk for accuracy; whilst we would love to test each and every walk through walking we simply do not have the time. If we do find something wrong with the walk we will contact you and ask that it is fixed prior to marking it as "Published".

Once the walk is published it is now visible to any user of iFootpath and is therefore in the public domain given that anyone can register and access iFootpath. You are therefore responsible that any photographs used in your walk description are not infringing copyright. See our terms and conditions for further information on what we do and do not allow.

Published walks are available to all users of iFootpath and are listed in the walk browser to read or print and will be listed in the iPhone/iPod Touch application for download.

Walks in iFootpath

A walk in iFootpath is an introduction to the overall walk, identification of where it is and starts, some overview notes and general commentary.

Title (required)

A walk title should provide a brief indication of where or what the walk is. Walk titles do not have to be unique.

Description (required)

This provides a text area where you can describe the walk. Explain what you love about the walk, what makes it different and what people will see. In addition try to answer all the questions you might ask before going on a route. What sort of paths does the walk use? Any steep accents/descents? Are there any stiles? Are people likely to come across horse/cows/sheep?

County (required)

The county in which the walk starts is essential to help finding the walk in the database. Some walks may straddle more than one county - we suggest you select the county in which the walk starts or is mostly within.

Area (optional)

This field can be used, if you wish, to further identify where the walk is. This is particularly useful for large counties.

Walk Type (required)

To help quickly finding the right type of walk this provides a basic walk classification or type. Some walks may span two of these types - please use the type that fits the majority of the walk.

Length (required)

The length (in miles) of a walk is an approximation of the overall distance walked, not a measure of the distance "as the crow flies". iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the GPX file that has been uploaded.

Grade (required)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult it is to walk. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 walking boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles or other obstacles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. Do be aware that the level of stamina required will vary and you should only walk within your limits - the indication of walk length will help with this. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles.

Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

Map Ref / Start Point (optional)

The walk start point is an Ordnance Survey map reference to pinpoint the start point of the walk. This should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Map Link (optional)

This optional field allows you to include a link to a web page containing a map showing the walk start. This is not the place to include any other links and the system will reject links to anything but Streetmap or Google Maps.

Start Point Co-ordinates (optional)

This pair of fields allows you to enter the longitude and latitude for the start point. iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the uploaded GPX file.

Key Image (required)

This is the main photograph used to illustrate the walk and can, if you wish, be the only photograph used of the walk. We recommend that you use a picture that characterises the walk, if possible, to show potential walkers what they might find or see. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

There are many image editing and manipulation applications available, so many that we cannot make particular recommendations although almost all are excellent. Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. This creates a file that is well under 2Mb in size, contains plenty of detail and displays well in almost any browser. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission. If you are concerned about image theft then we also suggest you include a small watermark in any corner of the image, but please remember that large watermarks that hide the image will not be popular with viewers!

Pdf file

Pdf file for walk

Icon (recommended)

The icon is a small image, 60 pixels square, used to provide a label for the walk when displayed in lists or in iFootpath Mobile. It is recommended that a small, square image for such use is created and uploaded. This should be in JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG format and less than 100Kb in size. If you do not provide an icon the walk will be automatically given a generic system icon. If you do upload a photograph for the walk icon its size will be checked by the system and it will automatically be resized to 60 pixels square. However, please also note that if the image is not square in format it may be cropped and you will not get the result you might have expected. Just thought you should know!

Getting There (required)

This provides a text area to explain how to get to the start of the walk. It is good to include a post code.


This function allows you to see how your published walk would look, before you submit as 'Ready' for review.


When a walk is created and saved in iFootpath its status is automatically set to 'Draft'. This implies that you are still working on it and may want to come back later to add walk sections, images or other information. When you are ready for the walk to be shared with other iFootpath registered users then the status should be changed to 'Ready'. This will automatically notify the system that you want to share the walk. The system will check to ensure you have completed the required information and alert a reviewer. The reviewer will read through to check the content is clean and consistent with our terms of use. This does not check the accuracy of the walk details or any other information. If there are issues with the contents you will be contacted by email. The walk status will also be reset to 'Draft' in this case. More likely, however, that everything is fine in which case its status will be set to 'Published' at which point it becomes available for viewing and downloading by any registered user of iFootpath. This includes download to iFootpath Mobile.


Filters allow you to narrow down your search for walks of interest. By County restricts the list of walks to those in the selected County. The Filters links at the top of the list page allow you to jump quickly to the filters or to clear them.

Keyword Search

The Keyword search facility will search through the walk descriptions and notes to find words or phrases you specify.

My GPX Files

This page gives you the list of GPX files that you have uploaded from iFootpath mobile (or from other sources). You are able to view, edit, delete or download these files. Once you are happy with your GPX file you can 'convert to walk' to create a draft walk based on this data. This walk will appear under 'Manage My Walks'.

Manage My Walks

The list of walks presented are those you have written and entered into iFootpath. From here you can filter the list if you have lots to narrow down your search, list all or just those with a particular status. If you select a 'Published' or 'Ready' walk you will see a read-only version of your walk, although if 'Ready' you can reset status to 'Draft' again for further editing.

Walk Sections in iFootpath

Each walk section represents a particular piece of a walking route. The start and end of each section are defined by waypoints. Each section joins onto the next to form the complete walk. There is no limit to the number of sections a walk can have, but on a long walk we recommend breaking the route down into manageable pieces that are delineated by particular landmarks, turnings or changes in obvious route. Each section has its own photograph and descriptive text which should hold a photograph that illustrates the section and any instructions or other notes you want to add that may be of use in helping navigation or pointing things out.

Section Title (required)

The section title is used to provide a short name for the section. It is useful in section titles to provide an indication of the start and end, so using names of landmarks, roads, etc is a useful aid. Sections will be named automatically as the name of the waypoint at the end of that section. It is recommended that you rename the sections as something more useful to walkers.

Section Description (required)

This field is used to provide as much information as you wish about the walk section. This should include notes on navigation, even if obvious, and any further information you care to share about views, historical notes, things to look for, etc.

Key Image (recommended)

A picture can save many words and will often be very useful in helping to navigate or spot things along the route. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission.

Map Ref (optional)

This allows the OS Map reference for the start and end of the section to be entered. These should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Start/End Point (optional)

This provides the facility to capture the co-ordinates for the start and end points of the walk section. iFootpath will automatically complete this field based on the GPX file used to create the walk.

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