I stayed in a lovely B&B recently – the Old Chapel Forge, out in the Sussex countryside (www.oldchapelforge.co.uk). And as soon as I opened its big wooden gate, I breathed a sigh of relief – it was going to be OK.
Because you never really know when you book a B&B how it’s going to turn out. The website gives a few clues, but these curiously intimate invasions of an Englishman’s castle can be extremely disappointing. Or really rather good. And this got me thinking: what makes A Good British B&B?
1 Mushrooms. If the breakfast menu is fungus-free, panic. Mushrooms (so long as they’re not of the worse-than-none-at-all slimy tinned button variety) show that extra mile; they say: ‘I have bought these most perishable jentacular treats for the good of my guests – and so have probably splashed out on decent sausages too’. Aaaah, I drool for the Old Chapel’s Sussex portobellos even now...
2 An architectural flourish. If the B&B looks like a Barrett’s box, even the mushrooms will struggle to rescue it. No, give me a converted church, thatched cottage, oasthouse or outhouse with a modicum of quirk or history, please.
3 Walker-friendliness. Sneer at my muddy boots and they’ll sneer back at you! (Actually, I’ll spend my stay being extremely careful not to ruin your cream Axminster, but will resent the guilt that accompanies me doing it.)
4 Hot chocolate. Not everyone likes tea and coffee: a truly fine B&B kettle tray will offer the sweet stuff, too.
5 A Sandra. Like the Old Chapel’s hostess, you want a personal presence in charge of operations; a human with a first name and local recommendations – someone nice to serve you those mushrooms.
What do you think makes the perfect B&B? Share your comments here...
A selection of dining tables from Dunelm Mill, a home furniture and accessories retailer.
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