A HONEYMOON suite for backpacking brides and grooms has opened in a Yorkshire Dales youth hostel.
The once-dilapidated turret at Grinton Lodge, near Reeth, has been transformed into a romantic bridal suite with roll-top bath and stunning views across Swaledale.
Lodge bosses hope the suite will prove popular with couples who visited hostels in their youth and are now looking for a cheap and quirky wedding venue.
The suite is part of a £647,000 redevelopment of the former shooting lodge undertaken by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA).
Duncan Simpson, head of corporate affairs and policy at the YHA, said: “The suite is affordable, but it’s still special.
“It’s ideal for a couple who perhaps have a long association with the YHA and now want to celebrate their marriage in one of our hostels.
“Hostels are affordable and are great for experiencing different things. They are also really sociable places.”
As well as a honeymoon suite, the previous 14 rooms containing 69 beds have become 80 beds in 20 rooms, five of which are en-suite.
A games room, classrooms and an indoor activity area have been created, while the courtyard has become an outdoor activities area.
Defra contributed £114,881 towards the four-month redevelopment, with the remaining £532,000 coming from the YHA.
Rural Affairs Minister Richard Benyon said: “The transformation of Grinton Lodge, in the Yorkshire Dales, 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.”
Grinton Lodge 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.”
The plans were inspired by the success of Hartington Hall youth hostel, in Derbyshire, which has had a bridal suite for several years and hosts weddings all year round.