Whether you are seeking rustic charm or boutique chic, traditional home comforts, quirky character or something more edgy, here are 10 of Britain’s best B&Bs recommended by the editors of the Good Hotel Guide.
LOW MILL GUEST HOUSE, BAINBRIDGE, YORKSHIRE
Neil and Jane McNair’s 18th-century watermill turned guest house stands on the banks of the River Bain with views to the Wensleydale hills. Bedrooms have playful decorative touches. One comes compete with mill machinery, an emperor-size bed, a log burner and free-standing copper bath. Generous extras include homemade fudge cake, fresh milk and good toiletries. The lounge, warmed by a working range, is home to the spur wheel and grinding stones. Breakfast by the fire in the beamed dining room brings home-baked bread and croissants, free-range eggs and local Yorkshire produce.
B&B £110-£180. Children over 15 welcome. 01969 650553, lowmillguesthouse.co.uk
NUMBER THIRTY-EIGHT CLIFTON, BRISTOL
Perched high on a hill with sweeping views of rooftops and downs, Adam Dorrien-Smith’s Georgian merchant’s house aims to be a ‘home-away-from-home’ – albeit a very chic one, an antidote to corporate blandness. Bedrooms have wood panelling, trendy paint finishes, a minibar, Roberts radio and 100 Acre bath products. Most bathrooms have both a bath and walk-in shower. You can read in the library, order cocktails in the lounge until 8pm, when the friendly staff go off duty. At breakfast there is an excellent buffet, but a good choice of cooked dishes will tempt you to spend a modest £5 more.
Single £115–£240, double £130–£255, cooked breakfast £5 supplement, no children under 12. 0117 946 6905, number38clifton.com
JEAKE’S HOUSE, RYE, SUSSEX
Literary pilgrims beat a path to Jenny Hadfield’s B&B, on cobbled Mermaid Street in a medieval town with many bookish associations. It occupies a run of ancient buildings, including a former wool store, a chapel, and the house of merchant Samuel Jeake. This was for a time home to American novelist Conrad Aitken, who entertained the likes of Malcolm Lowry and Radclyffe Hall here. Rooms named after such luminaries have an antique four-poster dressed with English toile. Breakfast – served in a former Quaker meeting house, its deep-red walls hung with portraits – includes such traditional dishes as oak-smoked haddock and devilled kidneys, as well as the more modish smashed avocado on toast.
Double, £99-£157. 01797 222828, jeakeshouse.com
THE OLD MANOR HOUSE, HALFORD, WARWICKSHIRE
Period charm abounds at Jane and William Pusey’s 16th-century manor house in gardens sloping down to the Stour. The three guest doubles are supplied with luxury toiletries, and fresh milk on request. The house is filled with antiques, chiming clocks and contemporary art. On fine days you can picnic or ply rod and line on the riverbank, play tennis, or take tea on the terrace. In winter, snuggle up by the drawing-room fire. Cordon Bleu-trained Jane cooks a hearty breakfast with home-baked organic bread, organic cereals, local bacon and eggs. Stratford-upon-Avon is just ten minutes’ drive away.
Doubles £115-£120, single occupancy (Mon-Thur) £90. 01789 740264, oldmanor-halford.co.uk
DAISYBANK, BROCKENHURST, HAMPSHIRE
In the heart of the New Forest, Ciaran and Cheryl Maher have made over their Charles-Rennie-Mackintosh-inspired family home as a truly luxurious B&B. All bedrooms are on the ground floor, four with bath and shower, four with wet room. Pleasing touches include an espresso machine, a mini fridge, handmade chocolates, Bramley or New Forest Aromatics bath products – and homemade cupcakes on arrival. The Marryat Suite, drawing inspiration from the Children of the New Forest author Captain Marryat, has direct garden access. A breakfast of locally sourced produce includes free-range farm eggs, pancakes with maple syrup, and creative vegan options.
Doubles £130-£150. 01590 622086, bedandbreakfast-newforest.co.uk
THE 25 BOUTIQUE B&B, TORQUAY, DEVON
Experienced hoteliers Andy and Julian Banner-Price have been garnering awards since they transformed a somewhat outdated small hotel into an adults-only, boutique B&B in exuberant style. One bedroom has zebra stripes, another a giant gerbera mural. All are supplied with every comfort, from smart control, mood lighting and air con, to an espresso machine and fridge, home-made treats and Elemis toiletries. These great hosts offer tea and cake on arrival, and the full English breakfast is a farm-to-plate feast, with veggie options, kippers, smoothies, or – in the spirit of the place – a Buck’s Fizz.
B&B single £99–£179, double £129–£199, no under-17s. 01803 297517, the25.uk
BLACKMORE FARM, CANNINGTON, SOMERSET
It’s not as old as the distant Quantock hills, but part of Ann and Ian Dyer’s Grade 1 listed former manor house with chapel, on the family farm, date from C1480. The West Bedroom, with original roof trusses, has an antique four-poster. The Gallery has stairs to a bathroom and sitting room. Suites in converted outhouses are set up for partial self-catering, but it would be shame to miss out on a historic farm breakfast at the carved-oak refectory table in the Great Hall, with its massive fireplace, its walls hung with armour, fearsome pikes and halberds. There is an onsite farm shop, and a café serving cream teas.
Single £75-£110, double £120-140. 01278 653442, blackmorefarm.co.uk
THE PIG IN THE WALL, SOUTHAMPTON, HAMPSHIRE
Perfect for a relaxed sty-cation, the smallest of the Pig hotels occupies a crenellated Georgian house set into the medieval city wall. Unlike its country cousins it has no formal restaurant, but shares their signature trademark shabby-chic style, with mismatched furniture, bare floors, rustic tables and laid-back vibe. The 12 bedrooms range from snug, tucked away under the eaves, to spacious, with a free-standing roll-top bath and a walk-in shower. From midday until 8pm you can forage in the lounge/bar/deli, where drinks are served until 10.30pm. And if you want to dine high on the hog, the Mother Pig is a half-hour drive away.
Rooms £140–£195. Breakfast, continental £12, cooked £16. 02380 636900, thepighotel.com
NEW HOUSE FARM, LORTON, CUMBRIA
There are glorious vistas of surrounding fells from Hazel Thompson’s 17th-century farmhouse B&B and popular wedding venue in the peaceful Vale of Lorton. Traditional style is enlivened by contemporary artworks, while, in bathrooms, rustic beams combine with modern plumbing. Low Fell has a Victorian-style roll-top bath in which to steep as you admire the view. Swinside has a double power shower with body jets, Whiteside a double air-jet bath. The converted Old Dairy and Old Stable, each have a four-poster bed. New arrivals are treated to a cream tea, and guests have use of the outdoor hot tub. In the cosy dining room, a breakfast of Aga-baked croissants, Cumberland sausage and local farm eggs sets walkers up for the day. A tearoom in an 19th century barn with original cow stalls is warmed by a fire on chilly days.
B&B £180. 07841 159818, newhouse-farm.com
23 MAYFIELD, EDINBURGH
Ross and Kathleen Birnie take palpable pride and pleasure in hosting guests at their substantial Victorian house a mile from the city centre. It has the relaxing ambiance of a gentlemen’s club, with leather armchairs, shelves of rare vintage books and a Georgian chessboard. Bedrooms have solid mahogany furnishings, cafetière coffee and Border biscuits. Bathrooms have underfloor heating and Noble Isle toiletries. The Grand Jacobean room has a hand-carved four-poster, framed Punch cartoons, and beautiful bay window. An award-winning breakfast brings rare-breed pork sausages and local free-range eggs, tattie scone, peat-smoked haddock and much more.
Doubles £110–£230. Usually 2-night min. but check availability. 0131 667 5806, 23mayfield.co.uk