Welcome to Helmsdale Hostel

A warm friendly welcome for visitors to this beautiful area of Scotland.

Announcement COVID-19

To all our guests, past, present and future, Helmsdale Hostel is temporarily closed in support of the worldwide effort to battle COVID-19 and to keep our communities safe.

We will be guided by the Government as to when we can re-open and will update accordingly. We are conscious guests who have already booked will no doubt be reassessing their plans in such uncertain times. Please be assured a full refund will be issued regardless of what month you have booked by contacting us via our email irene.drummond@btinternet.com

This is a challenging time for all of us, but we are certain we will overcome this unprecedented situation the world is in, if we all respect Government guidance and continue to look after each other.

Stay safe!

Irene Drummond – Owner Helmsdale Hostel


Helmsdale Hostel is an International Tourist Accommodation, located in the village of Helmsdale, Sutherland. It is in a prominent position directly on the A9 at the north end of the village. The building was refurbished in the summer of 2018, with additional en-suite rooms, drying and laundry facilities.  It can accommodate up to 24 guests within six en-suite rooms and has a well equipped kitchen and spacious dining / lounge area. There is a large garden and a secure cycle shed.  Car-parking is free on the roadside next to the hostel.

The building is the former village school gymnasium built in 1931.  It is an extremely individual structure and refurbishments since ownership in 2006 have been sympathetic in efforts to retain its originality. The unusualness and quirkiness of the building invokes ongoing curiosity and interest from guests.

Comfortable beds in en-suite rooms

The six en-suite rooms sleep up to four.


A well equipped kitchen meets all your self-catering requirements.

On the LEJOG & NC500

A perfect overnight stop on the Land's End to John O'Groats Cycle Ride and the North Coast 500 road route as well as the John O’Groats Walking Trail.

Groups welcome

Group bookings are welcome throughout the year - exclusive use can be arranged.

Helmsdale river

Comfortable lounge

Spectacular coastline

Helmsdale Hostel on Lejog outside view

The accommodation is popular with families, walkers, cyclists, motor cyclists, independent and group travellers, sports enthusiasts and is a traditional stopping point for the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle/walking and NC500 routes.  It also attracts traffic to and from Orkney since it is midway between Inverness and the Caithness ferry terminals.

Dogs are welcome by prior arrangement.

dogs welcome at helmsdale hostel

Helmsdale river

Comfortable lounge

Spectacular coastline

History of Helmsdale Hostel

Helmsdale Hostel was purchased from the Scottish Youth Hostels Association [SYHA] in January 2006, by Irene Drummond, who had previously worked as a SYHA Warden in the former John O’Groats and Stromness Youth Hostels. Having first-hand experience of running a hostel, Irene was committed to keeping Helmsdale Hostel [an iconic overnight stop on the Lands's End to John O’Groats route] on the map.  Following extensive refurbishment in 2006, Helmsdale Hostel was transformed from a 1-star bothy to a 4-star hostel. Similarly in 2018, a sympathetic approach to renovations was implemented in efforts to retain the character of the former school gymnasium building. As such, Helmsdale Hostel continues to provide great value accommodation in the far north east coast of Scotland

Irene’s interests include travelling, long distance cycle touring and sea kayaking.

Irene owner of Helmsdale Hostel