Five Best: Budget UK B&Bs
Stylish getaways with slap-up breakfasts and bracing walks don't have to break the bank, says Kitty Melrose
Saturday 06 January 2007
Cherrypicker House, Powys
More than 250 years old, Cherrypicker is a cosy B&B in a Grade II-listed Georgian house, with a stone fireplace in the living room, exposed beams and a winding oak staircase leading up to the bedrooms. The house is located in the centre of the historic market town of Brecon, with its quaint shops and stalls, but you're also on the edge of the breathtaking Brecon Beacons National Park, for mountain biking, walking, climbing and horse riding. But before all that activity, enjoy the wonderful home-cooked breakfasts.
Cherrypicker House, 9 Orchard Street, Brecon, Powys, Wales (01874 624665; www.cherrypickerhouse.co.uk). Double rooms start at £45, including breakfast.
Eton Lodge, Norfolk
In 2005, children's author Stewart Lees "persuaded" wife Caren to open up their family home in the seaside resort of Hunstanton. The result is Eton Lodge, with simple but elegant, chintz and frills-free interiors. The B&B has rooms with vast beds, fabulous bathrooms, complimentary fruit and chocolates and mini fridges with fresh milk. Guests can also help themselves to games, maps and DVDs. It's in a quiet spot but is only a short walk from the beach and lively cafés.
Eton Lodge, 47 Greevegate, Hunstanton, Norfolk (01485 533783; www.bbinhunstanton.co.uk). B&B starts at £50.
The Old Hay Barn, Derbyshire
The Old Hay Barn is in the heart of the Peak District and is a 200-year-old stone barn, surrounded by hills and overlooking the stunning Water-cum-Jolly. There are two simple doubles, but each comes with its own private sitting room, because the owners want "idyllic, not a scrum". Diana and Iain are good hosts, happy to suggest places to visit (Chatsworth House with its deer park, the caves at Castleton and the "pudding" town of Bakewell only three miles away). The full English is served in the glass conservatory with views over the river. The local Monsal Head pub is a fairly vertical mile away, but worth it: winter roasts and puds next to a roaring fire. All in all, it deserves the English Tourist Board's highest rating - five diamonds.
The Old Hay Barn, Cressbrook, Derbyshire (01298 873503; www.cressbrook.co.uk/tidza/oldhaybarn). Suites start at £50, including breakfast.
The Marks, Galloway
A 16th-century farmhouse cradled by the Galloway hills, The Marks offers three traditionally styled rooms along with stables (for your horse). You'll get a warm welcome from owners Chris and Sheila, and their dogs, and a fabulous breakfast - fry-ups and porridge (made overnight in the Aga), using locally sourced ingredients. The Marks is situated beside a working farm, and there are walks through the woods and along a loch. There's also the nearby harbour-side town and artists' retreat, Kirkcudbright, with its castle, to explore.
The Marks, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland (01557 330854; www.marksfarm.co.uk). Double rooms start at £50, including breakfast.
From the outside an 18th-century house, on the inside as chic as any modern boutique hotel. Stylishly renovated in 2005 by ex-chefs Serge and John, and retaining granite fireplaces and ancient beams, Moorstone has three contemporary rooms. But the real emphasis is on quality food. Wake up and smell the bread baking and freshly ground coffee. Guests can book in for a candlelit dinner or order a picnic hamper filled with goodies to take on power walks across the moor or to the coves of south Devon. Opposite is a traditional inn recommended for that warm-up pint by the log fire.
Moorstone Guest House, Bridford, Exeter, Devon (01647 252071; www.moorstone.net). Single rooms from £45, doubles from £55, including breakfast.
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