Kirkby Stephen Guestbook


Hello Denise, I have stayed at your hostel twice whilst tackling the Coast-to-Coast. Both times it was early in the year and only truly hardy types had gone earlier (I think I was about 10th on the list). So for an old boy, though still avid walker, it was hard going, especially the day of arrival (Ship to KS) and departure (KS to Keld). So I was really delighted to reach your ‘Chapel’ and find a warm welcome, a very comfortable bed and, in the morning, a very fine breakfast. Thank you and I hope I shall be back next year, albeit, in a kinder month for old bones. All the best,



Hi, enjoyed your email, and the memories it brought back of 4 years ago when i stayed for 4 nights while doing my John o'groats to Land's End walk. I did day walks along the line of railway, firstly with my brother and then my sister joined me at the hostel for a night and together we carried on from Settle. It was a lovely few days and the hostel was great (our father was a methodist minister so we felt quite at home!) Best wishes for your continued successful future.

Gaynor Kirby


Hi Denise, I have nothing but happy memories of staying with you in 2018 with my son as we did the C2C walk. I stayed there in 1991 as well on an earlier expedition. Alas, I have no photos to share with you, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your message, and how it reminded me of how much I’m looking forward to stretching my legs out on the hills in and around Cumbria, whenever that becomes possible again. I live in the Cotswolds. It’s beautiful, in a chocolate box sort of way, but it ain’t Cumbria…Stay safe and well, and thanks again.



Hi Denise, Thanks for the lovely email. These are strange times. I hope to return to your hostel in the not too distant future, when it feels safe to go out again. I’ve got a few train and bike trips at the planning stage. The photos are great - happy memories. Stay safe.

Mark(Cycling tutor - working at the Grammar School)


True - it is a beautiful location that I think of regularly. Luckily I am living in the bush on 22 acres a bit west of Moruya, NSW. There has been no rain here for at least 5 weeks. Hopefully it wont be another long Summer of infernal bushfires. Am hoping the pandemic lockdown is OVER in 2021. The closest I got to your beautiful land was Zurich where I had only 3 weeks in the Neerach area. Luckily got back on March 19. Flew on 16 March.

Phillip K


Dear Denise, You may remember that I would book and pay for my mentally handicapped brother, Tim Smith, to stay with you, as well as numerous other youth hostels around the UK. I am very sad to say that Tim passed away most unexpectedly and suddenly on 30th October 2018, fortunately safely at his supported living home in Redhill, Surrey. Tim was such a larger than life character, and our mother and I are still very much coming to terms with the void he has left. He would have been 60 this last month and how he would have enjoyed a party! But how he would not have coped with being cooped up inside! In the circumstances, I hope you will not mind if I unsubscribe from your mailing list. I must however say that I am most grateful to you for the friendship and consideration afforded to Tim over the years. I do wish you and your family all the best with the hostel and hope that the season will be allowed to open as soon as safely possible. With kind regards,



Thanks DeniseI stayed with you in April/May 2016 when I was walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I made it! I finished my walk on 9th June. Many thanks for your hospitality and hope to see you again soon. All the best.

Chris Francis


Hi Denise - my 3 adult children, and 1 spouse joined me to walk the Lady Anne's Way in May, 2016. We got to your hostel on our penultimate day, after getting lost and walking 18 miles, rather than our intended 15. But, we were all still in good spirits, and really enjoyed the hostel. You fixed us a wonderful English breakfast the next morning, and I'm attaching a photo you took for us.

Hope your business can pick back up soon - sadly, I had planned a walk this May in the Cotswolds with some of my family, but, of course, we had to cancel it.Sincerely,

Liz Etnier


Dear Denise, So good to hear from you. This must have been a hard time for you. We are booked in to stay with you Monday 3 August and are hoping this will be allowed. We have stayed with you 3 times over the past years and enjoyed our stay each time. I am including a photo of the time our youngest daughter came with us.

Looking forward to our next stay, this time bringing another daughter with her family.

Ann and Tony


Hi! What a lovely email thank you! Some very happy memories and will be back to stay and run when I can :) Thanks



Thanks for your email, I sincerely hope that you are all ok. We stayed as part of ou C2C walk and it was a welcome stop after that long section from Shap.The next section was very poor weather and boggy  and so we did not see the womdrful views your son enjoyed, but that all part of the experience of being outdoors in the UK. Keep safe.



A belated Happy New Year Denise. I was thinking of you the other day as it isn't long until Easter (it being several weeks earlier this year) and I came up last year to the vehicle rally in the cols and wet and hope if I come up again, I will at least get a chance to do a few 'live' sketches. I am expecting two grand-children this year - one in mid March, the other end of July so things are on the change. Anyway, whatever happens I wish you a happy 10th anniversary - congratulations!

All the best from Glynis Dray (Malvern Wells Artist)

Dear Denise,Just to say a big thank you for our very pleasant stay at your chapel hostel. It was lovely to have your kind welcome after a long day and the hostel is so comfortable and full of character. We had a good walk and reached the end of the C2C.

Rosemary and Isabel Hill

Hi Denise, We just wanted to thank you for a lovely stay last weekend! It was lovely to meet you after emailing over the previous months! Let us know when you've arranged a cycle maintenance weekend with Simon, there are a few of us who'll definitely be there! Also, we've left a Trip Advisor review. All the best.

Angela and the other cyclists x

Hello Denise, I hope you are well and enjoying better weather. I wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for your hospitality and the much needed cup of tea on Friday 29th April. I'm pleased to report that I finished the Coast to Coast a week later in much better weather and with slightly sore feet. I met a new group of people in Keld and walked much of the second week with company. Andrea who also stayed in the room with me finished the same day which was really great! I hope you have a busy summer with lots of guests! Thank you again for your support and lovely welcome.

Sally Foley

Denise, Thank you so much for your hospitality this weekend. It makes such a difference to the weekend when you have such a positive experience with the overnight stays. We ended up cycling 165 miles, climbing 11,000ft over the 3 days. So far having raised £2,360 for the Future Fund. We were pleased to see the sea and ended up in gloriouus sunshine. Here we are starting off on Walney Island in not so sunny weather. Best wishes.


Denise, We stayed at your hostel on Monday 11th May whilst doing the coast to coast path. We completed it and now at home and we wanted to thank you so much for all your help when our bag nearly went to France! We really appreciated all the phone calls you made and then even collected our bag for us. The near disaster has just become an interesting story!Thank you.

Mary and Chris Gambrill

Dear Denise, thank you for inviting me to leave my bike at the hostel and use the drying room last night. The Kings Head had a room and safe storage space for my bike - in their ballroom - and I don't have spare footwear, so I couldn't bring my shoes up! So in short, that's why my bike wasn't with you, in case you were wondering. Thanks again, though.

Tim Ross

Dear Denise, Thanks a lot for everything : hospitality, cook kindness.... and all what you did for them. They will keep splendid remembers for a very long time. Kiss you.

Michel's wife (Edouard's mother), Yvonne Gardon

Denise, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my two night stay at the Kirkby Stephen Hostel this weekend and to say "thank you" for your genuine and warm welcome and for your great breakfasts! It was also a pleasure to be able to stay in such a lovely building. I will be back, hopefully with one or more of my offspring, and I would recommend without hesitation that others should enjoy your hospitality. Best wishes.

Andrew J.

I stayed at Kirby Stephen Hostel, whilst doing the coast to coast, the welcome i got there i will remember for ever and i cant wait to come back to the hostel with family and friends. I need to do the walk from Kirby Stephen to Keld as i missed that part of the route as i was waiting for my daughter' s lift home so i really do need to come back to the hostel one weekend soon.

Angela Waterfield

Great family time, 4 families bunked in together and had a lovely easy summer weekend away. Loads of room to chill out in the chapel hall.

Sue B, Manchester, England.

Just had a great overnight stay with a cycling party doing the coast to coast. Met the owner Denise who gave us a warm welcome and a great breakfast would highly recommend the hostel.

Bernie, Morecambe, England.

Absolute heaven after six days walking. Very very comfortable, loved every minute of the stay and worth every penny! I had very sore feet and Denise very kindly drove me into Kirkby Stephen which was much appreciated. Highly highly recommended.

Sue D, Bristol, England.

Thank you so much for making us so welcome into this wonderful building. We will be back soon for another 'Half Pint Challenge'!

RAF Leeming Boys.

Thanks, Denise, for being such an accommodating hostess, for providing a refuge when the blisters were at their worst, and for your "no problem" friendliness.

Cath R.

"Very nice Hostel. I loved the dog, it was very welcoming and friendly. I loved the piano in the Member's Lounge, I loved playing it when we got back. Thanks very much!"

Ali, aged 10, Macclesfield, England.

Had a blessed night's sleep and a relaxing stay here. Thanks to Denise - wonderful person - keep up the good work - I've really appreciated your hospitality.

Ruth G, Cornwall, England.

Comfortable stay midway through our C2C cycle journey. Thanks!

John and Bill.

Hi Denise, We completed our  recent cycle ride from Morecambe to Whitby and back with a mostly very wet 60 miles from Kirkby to Morecambe-but the first bit across to Orton and down to Tebay was lovely. The Tebay cafe was very welcome and thanks for recommending the bakery at Oxenholme-they provided welcome teas and warm olive/ chorizo bread to two drowned rats(kept us going through the rain for 5 hours!!) We would not have stopped there if you had not mentioned it.

Sheila and Richard Perry.

After a hard day of walking from Shap this was a perfect place to end this day; wow, a hostel in a church with a warm welcome from the host and hostess!. After 6 days of walking I took a day off and the two hosts were very kindly to make me feel at home. Because of my english writing I want to repeat some compliments I also very agree: Thanks to Denise - wonderful person - keep up the good work - I've really appreciated your hospitality." and "Absolute heaven after six days walking. Very very comfortable, loved every minute of the stay and worth every penny!" last but not least "Thanks, Denise, for being such an accommodating hostess, for providing a refuge when, and for your "no problem" friendliness."Thanks for a lovely stay in kirkby stephen, im sure we will return.

Janece and Colin Rogan, Australia

I would like to say thank you very much for your hospitatilty over the weekend.The accomodation was ideal for our purpose, clean and tidy, comfy beds, access to the kitchen and a warm welcome great!


What a lovely stay we had and you made us feel so welcome! Hi Denise hope you remember me, thank you for a short but pleasent stay. You were a lovely host.

Michael Blair

Hi Denise, a quick line on behalf of my friends and me, to thank you for your hospitatlity at the weekend.We had a lovely time staying at the hostel and the lovely meal was exactly what we needed after a long slog over the moors. We look forward to returning again to stay with you.


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