Christmas Markets with Wolsey Lodges
- Travel Guide
It would be easy to succumb to the long December nights, but the runup to Christmas brings a show of defiance. Across…Read More
Convention says that B&B accommodation doesn’t work for families. But Wolsey Lodge owners tend to be hospitable souls and are more than happy to wheel out trundle beds or unfold travel cots as needed. And even if the main B&B isn’t really geared up for children, often they have self-contained options that will work better.
If you like B&Bs it would be crazy to give them up as soon as you have children. There’s every chance everyone in your family will love the experience too. The only rule is that this is not something to book online and assume everything will work smoothly. You need to call your host before you book, explain your situation and ask if they can help. If they can they will.
These are just some of the Wolsey Lodges that are great for trips en famile.
Get your children used to stately living at Hoveton Hall, a magnificent mansion ten miles from Norwich. The B&B rooms include a two-bedroom family suite, while larger groups (of up to six) can rent out the whole East Wing on a self-catering basis.
There’s plenty to do in the 15-acre grounds, with formal gardens, a tennis court and plenty of space for croquet. The Norfolk Broads, with all their water-based options, are all around and the east coast beaches are within easy reach.
Bring history to life in Blackmore Farm, a working farm at the foot of the Quantock Hills. Parts date back to 1486, and it’s hard to imagine young minds remaining unmoved by the medieval garderobes, suits of armour and massive open fireplaces.
Accommodation is of the highest standard. There are three guest bedrooms in the main house, with further options in two converted barns, the two-bedroom Cider Press and the three-bedded Wagon House: both these add kitchen facilities to the Blackmore Farm offer but accommodation is still on a B&B basis. Served in the baronial Great Hall, this uses local ingredients, often sourced from the farm itself.
Heads Nook Hall is in Cumbria, within easy reach of the Lake District and the North Pennines. Hadrian’s Wall is a few miles away, as are the important Roman sites at Vindolanda and Birdoswald. Carlisle Castle is the place to go to bring the more recent history – often of conflict between Scotland and England – vividly to life.
Or stay closer to home. Heads Nook Hall Cottage is set in eight acres of its own, while the Hall itself has more: there are plenty of woodland walks without straying off the estate.
The Somerset village of Porlock is perfect for families, with the sea just adding to the beauty of Exmoor National Park. And there’s a great place to stay, just a mile from the village but in its own eight acres: Bossington Hall. The shingle Bossington Beach is in walking distance but the grounds themselves offer plenty of leisure options: Bossington Hall has its own private squash, tennis and badminton courts, plenty of space for impromptu games of football, and probably enough for improvised games of golf. And on every side Exmoor awaits, with its shaggy wild ponies and 160 magnificent tors.
At the heart of a working organic farm in Dartmoor, Burnville House is brilliantly set up for families. Their facilities include a swimming pool and games room – complete with skittles – for children (and their parents) to use.
Best of all they have a great range of accommodation options. There’s the elegant main house, but also four sophisticated modern barn conversions or farmbuildings scattered around the farm. The Coach House sleeps 11 and has its own heated gym and endless plunge pool with river flow. The Farmhouse sleeps ten and provides the classic farmhouse experience, while the Red Barn sleeps six. Both these also have indoor pools but are, of course, free to use the main lodge’s heated pool and games room.
For new parents there’s a lot to recommend North Walls House, a wonderful property in the heart of Chichester. Your hosts here are well used to children – first their own and then grandchildren who often visit – and the house is set up with all the child gates, jigsaws and games you could ask for. There is city-centre off-road parking, a large and private walled garden, and if you suddenly need Calpol at 2:00 am they’re sure to be able to find some.
The house still has all the civilising influences you could hope to install in young minds. There’s a Bluthner grand piano and a sense of sophisticated ease.
The main house at Cardross is perhaps a little grand for families, but fear not: they have no less than five self-catering cottages within the estate, perfect for exploring Stirling, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. Gartur Bothy, Yew Tree and Ash and Hawthorne sleep four apiece, while larger families should take a look at Arnvicar: this can sleep six in luxury and eight in comfort.
Your hosts at Priory Steps know as much as anyone about children. They bought up their own family alongside guests at Priory Steps and are now getting used to the first grandchild of their own. Child cots, trundle beds and mattresses can be wheeled out when needed, and the self-contained two-bedroom Coach House is perfect for families wanting a further degree of privacy. This is the place to choose to explore Wiltshire’s stately homes and the city of Bath.
Not all Wolsey Lodges B&Bs accept children. Some have valuable furnishings, others unguarded stairs, some unfenced lakes; all things that can make hosting children impractical. But all Wolsey Lodges clearly state on their Wolsey Lodge web page if they welcome children by arrangement – and you can filter your search to pick out only those that do. Then it’s a matter of picking up the phone and ask your chosen lodge if they are able to meet your needs.
Don’t let having a family limit your travel plans.