Wolsey Lodges B&Bs for UK literary breaks
- Travel Guide
There’s nothing like curling up with a good book to make the most of a winter evening. But this is also a…Read More
If you’re looking forward to booking a stay in one of our wonderful Wolsey Lodges, but aren’t sure which to choose – then why not take a look at some of the new B&Bs that recently joined our Association. Read on to find out more about the new properties you can choose from, which join the large selection of existing lodges – all of which are available to view on our website. They vary in size and style but all share that warm Wolsey Lodge welcome.
These are the lodges who have recently joined Wolsey Lodges and are new for 2022.
The latest recruit to the Wolsey Lodge fold is Church Farm House near Diss in Norfolk. In a lovely thatched property dating back to 1570 there are three guest bedrooms, all finished with Hindeloopen detailing. There’s a grand four-poster, a double and a single bedroom, all with ensuite showers and views of the village church.
Church Farm House is Grade II listed, with a special feature being the 18th century windows: these are especially large, allowing light to flood in. It’s also flooded with music: both your hosts are retired music teachers and music is a big part of their lives.
The house is beautiful but the gardens run a very close second. The tulips are rising in a garden that’s an array of colour and variety for most of the year. Relax on the terrace or one of several garden benches and watch the seasonal displays.
Guests are welcomed in as part of the family. In the cooler months a fire is set in the Inglenook fireplace and guests are invited to make use of the sitting room and conservatory. It’s licensed, so you’ll always be able to enjoy your favourite tipple, while evening meals, taken by candlelight on the oak dining table, are invariably a highlight – especially if you choose the ‘Wine with Dinner’ package that pairs the wines to complement your meal.
Burnhopeside Hall was built by the inventor William Hedley. His ‘Puffing Billy’ steam engine is displayed in London’s National Science Museum – and must have made him serious money. The property is huge: although there are just four B&B guest bedrooms in the main house, there’s a wing and a top floor that can be taken separately providing accommodation for ten more people, and another ten can stay in a detached farmhouse villa.
On the ground floor you’ll find a full-size snooker table and a grand piano, with the communal rooms heated by log fires in the cooler months. In summer the grounds take centre stage: the gardens extend over ten acres, with croquet-ready lawns, a walled kitchen garden and fields for free-range ducks, geese, pigs and chickens. These give onto an estate of a further 475 acres, including a mile of river, with clay-pigeon and conventional shooting available. There’s stabling for your horses and dogs are welcome.
There’s also total flexibility for meals. Apart from breakfasts packed lunches can be provided, and evening meals in the main house can always be arranged – though you need to give notice for this as ingredients are all brought in specially.
You could hold a major reunion of family and friends here. But individual guests are equally welcome. It’s a place you can take at your own speed.
Burnhopeside Hall is beautifully set in the countryside just outside Durham.
The Hopetoun Estate in South Queensferry has been home to the Earls of Hopetoun for three hundred years, and Parkhead House, previously a gamekeepers cottage, has watched them all. It’s a beautiful Georgian property overlooking the Firth of Forth just to the west of Edinburgh. There are walks from the door. There’s an adjacent deer park and both Hopetoun House and Lallybroch are within easy walking distance: this is where the TV series ‘Outlander‘ was shot, and many will recognise the spectacular landscapes from the screen.
If you want to explore this angle further there are specialist tour guides offering driving tours of filming locations: just call ahead for further details: guides can be booked as required or included as part of your stay.
Accommodation in Parkhead House is in two guest suites, one with accommodating two guests, other sleeping four in two bedrooms. Both have their own sitting areas and dining tables where breakfasts are served. The whole experience is ultimately private.
Parkhead House can also serve as a good base from which to explore Edinburgh: it is not far from the airport and links easily with the tram system with a fast and frequent service to the city centre. If you’re travelling with dogs this is the place to come: the gardens are secure, and you can even arrange to have dogs walked and entertained while you travel into the city.
The Kent village of Benenden has, till now, been better known for its exclusive private girl’s school. Now it is also known for Beacon Hall House, a lovely country house, rebuilt after the Second World War and completely renovated for the modern age. There are three guest bedrooms, all beautifully furnished, that vary in size and style: the largest has a superking bed and a generously-sized ensuite with both a roll-top freestanding bath and a walk-in shower. All rooms share a large guest sitting room and dining room for breakfasts and evening meals: your hosts can cater for dinner parties and special events by arrangement.
‘The Garden of England’ is one of the warmest and sunniest regions in England, and the grounds at Beacon Hall House mean you can make the most of this. There are three acres of gardens, including a hard tennis court and an outdoor heated pool, and a further four acres of paddock grazed by sheep and ponies. The village of Benenden, with a 15th century church, lovely village shop, family-farm butcher and two excellent pubs is a mile away, and often has cricket on the green on summer weekends. Three of Britain’s finest vineyards are within a ten-minute drive and its close to Cranbrook and Tenterden. Nearby National Trust properties include Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Pashley Manor Gardens and Bodiam and Leeds castles. This is 1066 country, with the Norman Invasion freshly remembered.
Bullocks Horn Cottage is quietly set in a four-house hamlet reached by nearly a mile of no through road: apart from the annual WOMAD festival, which takes over the fields for one weekend a year. This doesn’t feature in most Wolsey Lodgers’ diaries but in 2022 it’s on the 11th-14th March. At other times there’s no traffic and the loudest sound is birdsong; it’s just idyllic. Dating back 200 years, the cottage can cater for up to five guests. Your host here is a Cordon Bleu cook and enjoys sourcing local ingredients and herbs from the garden for evening meals: just call ahead to ask what is in season.
The gardens at Bullocks Horn Cottage are a highlight, and have featured in various magazines both in the UK and abroad. Covering a full acre and surrounded by Wiltshire farmland they explode with colour every summer. They are open for a weekend a year under the National Garden scheme but guests can experience all year: they’re filled with scents and colours and have countless corners to explore.
Bullocks Horn Cottage is four miles out of Malmesbury. It’s not widely known that Malmesbury is the oldest borough in England. It is where the UK’s first King, Ethelred, is buried: he’s in the grounds of the atmospherically derelict Abbey, though no-one knows exactly where. Find out this and more by reading Bullock Horn’s Cottage’s own Guide to Malmesbury and North Wiltshire.
Reymerston Hall has a fascinating history. For many years it was the family home of Wing Commander Ken Wallis, a decorated bomber pilot who pioneered the use of autogyros in flight. He caught a touch of glamour when he was James Bond’s stuntman flying ‘Little Nellie’ in ‘You Only Live Twice‘. ‘Little Nelly’ has been rated as the ultimate spy gimmick ever dreamt up by Q, but Wallis set many other autogyro records and only stopped flying them from Reymerston Hall when he was 95 and thought it perhaps a little unsafe.
Since then Reymerston Hall has been fully renovated and now offers country-house comforts in considerable style. It has six guest bedrooms, all well-proportioned and with ensuite facilities. There’s a south-facing drawing room with an honesty bar and a lovely terrace that catches the sun – and sunsets.
There are two pigmy goats in the garden, and extensive grounds that include two ponds and woodland areas. Understandably it’s a popular wedding venue, so if you’re planning a weekend stay call ahead: though the week there’s far less risk of tripping over brides, bouquets and photographers.
Reymerston Hall is rurally set 20 minutes west of Norwich. The Georgian village of Hingham is five minutes drive away and although the B&B does have rental bicycles available you’ll need your own car to make the best of your stay.
Set half-way between Norwich and the coast in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, Hoveton Hall is an impressive building set in 15-acre gardens. The architect is thought to be Humphrey Repton but it was built in 1809 so few records were kept; in any case it is a stunning Regency building, at once grand and welcoming. Despite its size the only B&B accommodation is in one ensuite double room and a two-bedroom family suite sharing a large bathroom: in so substantial a property that is very few guests per square metre.
Hoveton Hall’s gardens are a huge part of its appeal. Guests can make use of the tennis court or set out croquet hoops on the lawn. The wider gardens are open to the public in the summer – there’s even a tea room for visitors – and it’s easy to see why. There’s a walled garden that is known as the ‘Spider Garden’ (and therein lies a tale), a one-acre Victorian kitchen garden, one of only three surviving iron-framed greenhouses in the country, and a Grade II listed underground Ice Well. Add woodlands, an arboretum and a couple of lakes and pond and you can easily while away a few days wandering the grounds.
Hoveton Hall is minutes from the Norfolk Broads where you can hire a range of craft to get out on the water. The beaches of Great Yarmouth and Cromer are close by, or head north to explore Norfolk’s salty marshes, golden sands and coastal paths.
Set in the heart of Shropshire just outside Shrewsbury, The Citadel is a glorious Victorian structure that celebrates the beauty of its surroundings. The landscape is Grade I listed and views are over Hawkstone Park, the film setting for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. There are three guest bedrooms, of which the Round Room is the most impressive. In the middle turret, it has windows on three sides and magnificent views, as well as an ensuite bathroom with a freestanding claw-foot bath and separate power shower.
Guests are invited to make use of the West Sitting Room. Warmed through the cooler months by a wood-burning fire it has a grand piano for musical evenings. Next door there’s a billiards room with full-sized table and a range of board games. Breakfast is served in an atmospheric dining room, with high ceilings embossed with vines. This is where the wifi signal is strongest – the thickness of the walls means reception is sometimes patchy.
The gardens are spectacular, surrounding The Citadel with three acres of formal gardens and a further 200 acres of its own sheltering farmland. The grounds have been opening under the National Gardens Scheme for 85 consecutive years, with a walled Summer Garden, a Kitchen Garden and countless lawned areas, shaded and divided by mature oak and copper beech trees.
At the foot of Hambledon Hill just outside Blandford, Manor Barn B&B offers unusually private accommodation: the two main guest rooms are set in a renovated barn adjacent to the main house, with their own entrance and guest sitting room which also has a dining table: this is where breakfasts are served. There is even a simple but functional kitchen so guests can make their own snacks or meals. Best of all, these two rooms are very accessible for those of limited ability: everything is on one level, including the walk-in ensuite showers.
Manor Barn B&B is in an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB) just outside the village of Child Okeford, which has its own shop, farm shop and even an art gallery. This is Hardy Country, with countless lanes, tiny rural villages and charming pubs. The nearest major town is the Georgian market town of Blandford Forum, but it’s only eight miles to Shaftsbury, Dorset’s only hilltop settlement with a history going back to Saxon times. Shaftsbury’s ‘Golden Hill’ was immortalised as the setting for the 1970’s campaign for Hovis bread, where a small boy labours up a steep street of ancient houses. This has frequently been rated Britain’s favourite TV ad but was later improved by Ronnie Barker. Either way, the steep cobbled street still for many epitomises the elegant simplicity of a bygone age.
The area contains countless attractions, from Stonehenge to the north to the beaches on the south coast. But guests here invariably find they don’t need to travel nearly so far to fill their time.
Lower Wythall is a magnificent Grade II listed Elizabethan property with views across the Wye Valley AONB. In 2019 it was awarded a Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award, something presented to the UK’s top 25 B&Bs and achieved by less than 1% of Tripadvisor listings. Accommodation is in five guest bedrooms, all en-suite, with timber beams very much in evidence, but light, spacious and beautifully furnished.
Lower Wythall is a five-minute drive from Ross-on-Wye, opening up a range of activities including canoeing, kayaking, cycling and walking. The impressive Goodrich Castle is even closer, an atmospheric ruin with fantastic views.
Reviews testify to the comforts on offer here. All beds are Hypnos, with cool white cotton linens. Baths are slipper and showers mains pressure. Once slept and rested, breakfast is at Wythall B&B is invariably a highlight. The dining room is heated by a log-burning stove, mueslis and granolas are home-made, and there is a full selection of fresh, baked and grilled options available.
Upper Buckton is a spacious and comfortable Georgian farmhouse built on the site of a Norman castle. Castles have always occupied the highest ground so they could see enemies approach, and the views from this B&B are superb, stretching over Herefordshire, Shropshire and the rolling Welsh hills. For just this reason all the guest rooms are equipped with binoculars, an indication of the attention to detail and commitment to making sure guests enjoy their stay: a 9.6 rating on Booking.com indicates they must be getting something right.
There are four guest bedrooms here, all individually furnished with vintage items or antiques. Linens and towels are organic, duvets are hypo-allergenic and pillows Downafresh certified, using ethically sourced feathers. The emphasis is on maintaining a quiet, comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, leaving guests free to enjoy their surroundings and explore the area.
There is plenty to do and see. The Herefordshire trail runs right past Upper Buckton, while Offa’s Dye Path is three minutes away: walkers will appreciate Upper Buckton’s heated boot room. There are cycle trails galore, canoeing on the Wye and the Brecon Beacons aren’t too far away. The area is famous for its half-timbered villages, built from wool wealth and lovingly restored, and the B&B has planned a driving route that will show you the best. The town of Ludlow, with its character shops and ancient castle, is ten miles away.
Or just relax in Upper Buckton’s grounds. This isn’t the sort of B&B that chases you out through the day. Red Kites and buzzards fly overhead – brought into focus with the B&B’s own binoculars – while the lodges’ owners, both their dogs and both their pheasants, all seem to like company.
A lot of travellers discover Parkside House because they’re looking for a dog-friendly place to break a journey north or south: the town of Kelso is an hour’s drive south of Edinburgh and pretty much half way for many journeys between England and Scotland. But once they’ve visited Parkside House they invariably wish they’d booked longer – and many return for a longer stay.
This is largely down to the B&B itself. Parkside House is a glorious Victorian building, with just three guest bedrooms, all high-ceilinged, spacious, en-suite and furnished with antiques and art. Breakfast is served in either the dining room or terrace room, depending on numbers, with locally sourced ingredients. There are two resident dogs and well-behaved dogs are welcome: the garden is large and enclosed.
It’s also perhaps the setting that brings people back. Parkside House is a substantial property tucked away very close to Kelso town centre: it’s right next door to the cricket ground, close to the racecourse, and within easy strolling distance of the town. Kelso has a surprising range of independent shops and restaurants, an atmospheric abbey, and plenty to do and see. There are parks and riverside walks from the door or the more ambitious can take in sections of the Pennine Way or St Cuthbert’s Way. The Borders area has countless castles and stately homes: you could stay a month and still find something new every day.
Lowerfield Farm is a 17th-century Cotswold-stone farmhouse, beautifully renovated to offer luxury B&B accommodation in Broadway, Worcestershire. There are views of the Broadway Tower from the garden and many guest bedrooms, in a beautifully rural part of the North Cotswolds. Broadway itself, with its broad sweeping High Street and wonderful architecture, is close by, and other nearby villages include Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. This is well placed for exploring Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Worcester.
There are eight guest bedrooms at Lowerfield Farm so technically it can host up to sixteen, but currently they don’t release all their rooms to ensure everyone has plenty of space. All are en-suite, and two are on the ground floor offering easier access, but each have a character of their own, with different furnishings and artworks setting a pattern of individuality.
There’s a comfortable guest lounge with a range of armchairs, an open log fire, and a wifi-enabled computer for guests to use. Lowerfield Farm is fully licensed, with evening meals available by arrangement: it’s a perfect place to stage a family reunion. Evening meals and breakfasts are served in a bright new dining room, converted from a stable block and linked to the house by a glass-walled walkway. It faces southeast so is flooded with light in the mornings, and has views over the stable courtyard.
Just a mile from Porlock and ten minutes off the SouthWest Coast Path, Bossington Hall is actually within Exmoor National Park, with magnificent views of the sea. Quiet but not remote, it is a wonderful base to explore a wonderful part of north Somerset. Built as an Edwardian gentleman’s residence, on the ground floor and public areas it maintains the Arts and Crafts style of the period – while the guest bedrooms focus on comfort.
There are seven guest bedrooms, all beautifully furnished and flooded with light; many have seaviews across to Porlock Weir. All are en-suite or have private bathrooms, fitted with roll-top baths or rainfall showers. They are beautifully appointed with fluffy white bathrobes and very comfortable beds.
Downstairs there’s a guest sitting room and a private cinema seating nine in leather armchairs. Breakfasts are served in a wonderful dining room, with vast picture windows looking over the coast. Step out into the grounds and there’s a large terrace and eight acres to explore, including the UK’s oldest private squash court, badminton and tennis courts, a millpond and river.
These are the Wolsey Lodges that are new for 2022. Let this tempting selection help make this the year to explore further with Wolsey Lodges.