A refurbished youth hostel reopened to the public now boasts a honeymoon suite.
Grinton Lodge in Swaledale also now has extra rooms, en-suite accommodation and better facilities for those using the camping pods in the grounds of the former shooting lodge.
The hostel’s owners YHA said it hopes to boost visitor numbers by 60 per cent, helping the local economy. Two new jobs have been created following the £647,000 upgrade to the building, which included reopening a formerly disused wing.
The charity has spent more than half a million pounds on the building during the four-month upgrade, and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also chipped in with a £114,881 grant.
The hostel lies just over 2km (1½ miles) from the village of Reeth, on the route of the Coast to Coast Walk.
The hostel now has a games room, classrooms and an indoor activity centre, as well as an outdoor area for activities in its courtyard. Toilets and showers have been upgraded for those using the ‘glamping’ pods in the grounds.
Before the development, YHA Grinton Lodge had 69 beds in 14 rooms; it now has 80 beds in 20 rooms, five of which have en-suite facilities.
Hostel manager Ian Roe said: “Grinton Lodge is a hugely popular youth hostel and world-renowned for its location, architecture and facilities.
“Frequently demand for accommodation outstripped supply. Thanks to the financial support of Defra, we have been able to fully realise the potential of Grinton Lodge and create a youth hostel and facilities that are world class.”
Defra minister Richard Benyon said: “The transformation of Grinton Lodge will not only bring more people to the lodge, but it will have a positive knock-on effect on the local economy, bringing more tourists to the area and providing rural businesses with new opportunities.
“All too often in rural areas, wonderfully historic buildings are allowed to fall into disrepair. We are investing hundreds of thousands of pounds in projects like this to allow charities, communities and businesses across the country to turn them to good use.”
YHA chief executive Caroline White added: “Grinton Lodge is a brilliant example of what we now offer to schools, families, individuals and groups who stay with us. And you don’t need to be a YHA member to stay in our hostels.”