Claridges - or Camping? Places to Stay in England
Other luxury places to stay in England include Olga Polizzi’s trendy
(01326 270055) in St Mawes, Cornwall, which has rooms overlooking the sea;
Sharrow Bay Hotel
(Penrith, 01768 486301) on the banks of Lake Ullswater in the Lake District, and
Seaham Hall and Serenity Spa
(01915 161400) in Seaham, County Durham – now a contemporary hotel, but once a country house where Lord Byron got married.
If you stay in a bed and breakfast, you’ll usually be staying in someone’s home so should expect a warm welcome, a clean comfortable room and a good breakfast in the morning. The days of the hard-faced landlady grumbling at her guests and serving burned eggs for breakfast are long gone. These days you’re more likely to find freshly baked biscuits in your bedroom and Wi-Fi in the lounge.
The majority of bed and breakfasts have rooms with en-suite bathrooms, or private facilities (where your bathroom is outside your room, but you don’t have to share it with other guests). Check when you’re booking to ensure you get what you want. If you’re looking for b and b in London, try the
London Bed and Breakfast Agency.
Bed and breakfast accommodation is available in an extraordinary range of properties in England. You’ll be able to stay in old rectories, Georgian townhouses, thatched cottages and farmhouses. There are some bed and breakfasts that also offer evening meals, as long as you book in advance. If you want a really upmarket b and b, check out
which are (often rather posh) private homes where guests are welcomed like friends. Wolsey Lodges vary from pretty cottages to grand manor houses, and many of them serve evening meals where guests all dine together – sometimes with their hosts.
If you’re looking for places to stay in England with loads of olde-worlde character, then you might want to try a traditional inn. The best of these are in the countryside - generally former coaching inns which have retained their oak beamed ceilings, open fires and sense of history. Many claim to be haunted. Some inns are hundreds of years old, so you might find that the stairs are narrow and that bedrooms have sloping floors and low ceilings – quaint, but not ideal for everyone. Many country inns offer good bar meals and real ales – but do remember that some can be noisy – until closing time anyway.
Okay, these won’t offer character, or history, or a personal welcome. They should, however, offer you a place to stay that’s clean, comfortable, has en-suite facilities – and will often be in a city centre or conveniently close to an airport or motorway. The number of these budget places to stay in England has increased in recent years.
Ramada Encore Leicester
is part of the excellent Ramada chain, while Premier Inn, Accor hotels and easyhotel are all worth checking out.
The quality of self catering places to stay in England has improved greatly in recent years. Many are now graded as 4 or 5-star, and vary from contemporary serviced apartments in city centres to eco-friendly lodges in the countryside. Self catering can be a great option if you’re travelling with children, and some accommodation may be especially adapted for those with specific access requirements.
Self catering gives you the chance to stay in some of England’s most unusual and historic properties. The National Trust has a wide range of holiday properties to let, the majority in the most picturesque parts of England. You could stay in a thatched cottage, a former wireless station or a converted barn. The Landmark Trust also has self catering accommodation in England. It specialises in quirky historic properties like that Gothic temple we mentioned earlier.
Of course, if you’re on a culinary tour of the UK, you may only want to stay for one or two nights. Many self catering properties only accept bookings for a full week, especially in the summer and school holidays. However, out of season, you might find places that are willing to let you stay for a shorter period.
Camping is now cool – that’s official. Whether you’re keen to camp on the Cornish coast with the kids, or want to pitch your tent in a field while walking in the Lake District, you’ll find places to stay in England that will allow you to get close to nature – with shower and toilet facilities close by. There are plenty of caravan sites too – you might even want to rent a vintage VW campervan to tour the country. You could spend the money you save on accommodation on some delicious gourmet meals. The Forestry Commission is just one organisation that runs camp sites across England.