All opinions in this review are our own, and 100% honest. We had the pleasure of a free night at Bristol Wing in exchange for this review. Disclaimer.
Modern, stylish and value for money hostel in the centre of Bristol
The Bristol Wing YMCA is a new hostel that launched in January this year—an absolute gem of a building, it used to be the old Central Bristol Police station. It’s worth a visit just to see the lush Grade II listed building. Don’t worry, we’ve taken plenty of photos for you to get a glimpse of the building and amazing artwork inside.
We have stayed in a fair few hostels over the past 2 years as we’ve been globetrotting but we can honestly say this has been one of our favourites. And it’s in our hometown?!
Located right in the heart of the city you can walk to the shops, main sights and harbourside easily.To the Galleries shopping centre: 5 mins To Bristol Harbourside: 10 mins To Temple Meads train station: 20 mins
The location is definitely a bonus as it’s so easy to explore the city from here.
There is no dedicated parking but we found that it was affordable to book at the nearby Galleries shopping centre. If you want to find cheap parking then you can use the Just Park website to see the best deals.
If you’re looking for affordable accommodation in Bristol then The Bristol Wing has a range of prices to suit everyone. In our case for a family of 3 we could stay for 1 weekday in a private room with shared bathroom and it would be £54. A 1 night stay over the weekend is £90.
Of course there are cheaper options if you want to stay in one of the dorms where it could cost you as little as £18 a night.
We had a room for 3 people. It was a spacious, airy room with a HUGE double bed and a single bed. Features we loved were the original wooden floor and arch window. The rooms feel very much in keeping with the rest of the hostel – simple and sleek. We had a shared bathroom which was clean and fresh.
The hostel offers all sorts of different rooms – from dorms to private en-suite rooms.
There are two common areas.
A large kitchen/living area which is also where the reception is located. There are plenty of tables to eat at, all the usual kitchen facilities you’d expect and free tea and coffee (hooray!). The living area has 4 comfy sofas, a TV, music player, books and lots of board games to keep you occupied.
“The Snug” is only for use in the evenings after 6pm. It is a cosy room with sofas and DVDs as well as a large table and chairs.
Both rooms feel super cosy and comfortable.
Our room was for 3 people but there are rooms for larger families. You can get private rooms for up to 5 people.
These are the other things we noticed which we believe make it suitable for families:
- The building is accessible for pushchairs and there is a lift.
- There are high chairs in the dining/kitchen area downstairs.
- The hostel staff allowed us to store suitcases in a secure room so we could explore the city before checking in.
- There are lots of family friendly board games and dvds in the Living areas.
- It’s not the kind of place where you feel you have to keep your kids really quiet. (Of course, in the evenings everyone has to keep noise to a minimum as you’d expect).
The Bristol Wing building used to be a police station, but after it closed it was used as an unofficial working space for artists. The result of that is some pretty wonderful art on the walls as you follow the stairs up the to the rooms. It makes such a difference to the building.
As I said, the rooms themselves are quite basic (although the simple white/grey combination in the rooms is pretty elegant). But the living area next to the kitchen also has some funky artwork hanging on the walls, depicting different areas of Bristol, and the “snug” has a great bookcase and nice artwork on the walls, with lots of foliage to make it even more welcoming.
‘The Kitchen’ café
Breakfast is served via the adjacent café, called The Station Kitchen (as it’s in the old fire station!). As hostel guests, for just £3.95 you get a continental breakfast buffet (toast, hard-boiled eggs, cereal, granola and tea/coffee). We paid for breakfast at reception the day before and were charged for Roobs’s breakfast even though kids eat free with their parents. I questioned this in the morning and it was sorted with no fuss.
On weekends, the kitchen also serves a cooked breakfast, which would have been nice to try. Roobs didn’t fancy any of the free continental breakfast so we begrudgingly ordered her a separate bowl of porridge which she wolfed down. From our perspective, the breakfast was great value for money, the coffee was lush and we left happy.
There’s a few other things you should know about the Bristol Wing and the Station Kitchen that are impressive and really set them out.
The Station Kitchen is a social enterprise training kitchen. They support young people by offering volunteering opportunities, training and employment. They also try to source food locally so if you want to support local businesses then this is the place to come.
The Bristol Wing is run by the YMCA and any profits they make are reinvested in supporting young people who are homeless in the city.
We also noticed that the hostel runs a couple of weekly opportunities to have community. This seems like a really great idea and we definitely would have gone if we’d been there on the right days.
We’re in the middle of renovating our house (so we can sell it and keep travelling) so we were all looking forward to taking a break from the stress of that and spending a day as tourists in our home town. As it was a Sunday, traffic was fairly light coming into the centre and it was very easy to find the Bristol Wing once we’d parked.
You’re never sure what to expect when you visit a hostel, but the moment you walk into the Bristol Wing you’re struck with how modern it is, and the staff at reception are incredibly welcoming. We arrived around midday and left our small suitcase down in the luggage keep, and then strolled over to the SS Great Britain (a fantastic attraction for families – you can read about our time there in a separate post).
We got back to the hostel around 5.30pm and saw our rooms for the first time. It’s quite basic, as you’d expect from a youth hostel, but it’s done to a good standard. The shared bathrooms in particular were spotlessly clean with a large shower. Roobs was impressed with the size of our bed, and wasted no time setting out her teddies.
We’d spotted the Sai Kung Café in the Little Chinatown Food Hall just around the corner from the hostel (literally a 1 minute walk away). We’ve been away from Asia for a few months now so we were ready to dive back in with what looked like some pretty authentic Chinese food, and we weren’t disappointed.
When we were done, we bought some bubble tea, Japanese cheesecake and tofu dessert back to the hostel, made a cup of tea, and played some family games in the kitchen area until bedtime.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay at the Bristol Wing. If you need to stay somewhere affordable, central and comfortable in Bristol then this is the place for you.
Have you stayed here? What did you think?
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