THE head of Cumbria Tourism has welcomed a £1.4 million modernisation of Ambleside’s youth hostel as part of the association’s ongoing image change.

The YHA has announced that its lake-facing Waterhead site at the top of Windermere will be revamped with larger family rooms, en suite accommodation, private family rooms and licensed restaurant and education facilities.

It is part of the association’s drive to ditch its “rickety dormitory” image and improving facilities for new generations of visitors, including families.

And Ian Stephens of Cumbria Tourism based in Staveley near Kendal, said: “This is a significant investment in a prime location on the shores of Windermere, we are extremely pleased that the YHA are continuing to show their commitment to the Lake District.

“This will reinforce the Ambleside Youth Hostel as a showcase property for the YHA, delivering high quality accommodation in a beautiful location, which will appeal to a wide audience from around the UK as well as visitors from further afield.’’

The numbers of beds is being reduced from 258 to 240 to create more washrooms and a number of premium en suite bedrooms with a lake view. Work will be completed in April when it will re-open to the public.

As well as total redecoration and new furniture throughout, there will be a new reception area and more public facilities, including an education and conference space with the latest audio visual equipment.

Joining the chorus of approval, Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “This is very welcome news and a great confidence boost for the local tourism trade and the local economy. The investment in the YHA will make a massive difference and offer tourists even better local facilities.”