Weary adventurers on a tight budget who find themselves high up in the rocks of Dove Crag in England’s Lake District may be in luck. For there, on one of the fells that make up England’s most mountainous region, lies the “Priest’s Hole,” a concealed cave that just might be the cheapest—and most exclusive—bed and breakfast in the world.
Located near Ambleside within the rocks of Dove Crag, as the fell is known, the “Priest’s Hole” is approximately 16 feet deep and can accommodate up to 10 adults—although you never know who you’ll be sleeping next to, because there’s no reservation system or registration: You just show up, throw down your sleeping bag if there’s enough room and tuck in for the night. And best of all, it’s free.
The “Priest’s Hole” is beautifully concealed within the rocks, marked only by a letterbox entrance at 2,100-feet high, with a low wall in front to keep out the worst of the elements.
Perhaps calling the cave a bed and breakfast is a little bit misleading, because the only bed or breakfast available is whatever you bring. But, although the “Priest’s Hole” is lacking in certain amenities—such as a toilet, a shower, running water of any sort, not to mention room service—there are provisions. Upon arrival, guests can find candles, emergency blankets, gas canisters (presumably, for cooking), water and plastic cutlery kept in a purple box.
Even though it’s untended and used regularly by walkers and hikers as an overnight camp, the “Priest’s Hole” is rarely in anything but excellent, clean condition. And, it offers the perfect position for the early morning sunshine or the sunshine spreading across the landscape throughout the day.
Though there’s no evidence the “Priest’s Hole,” was used for that purpose, a Priest’s Hole is a term given to hiding places for priests built into many of the principal Catholic homes in England during the period when Catholics were persecuted by law. That period began with the assumption to the throne of Queen Elizabeth I in 1558.