Wolsey Lodges for heavenly house parties

A dinner party in progress

There are many good reasons for staying in a Wolsey Lodges B&B. There’s the personalised welcome, the high standards of comfort and cuisine, and – perhaps most importantly – the character of your accommodation.

Wolsey Lodges B&Bs are particularly good at facilitating meetings of all kinds: families reuniting for a special occasion, people getting together to renew long-distance friendships, or special-interest groups such as classic car enthusiasts, art courses, rambling groups or tour groups from overseas. Almost all Wolsey Lodges will take whole-house bookings and many can also, as a final flourish, host celebratory meals.

Vitally, Wolsey Lodge owners love to entertain. They often live in very large houses, sometimes almost by accident, which they have painstakingly restored and updated to provide every comfort expected in the 21st century. They continually update, redecorate and refurbish, heat through long winters and endlessly maintain. Gardens are often spectacular, with acres of landscaped grounds. Half the pleasure of all this work is sharing it with friends – old and new.

These big houses need to be full of guests. Not to pay the costs of maintenance – though clearly this forms part of a virtuous circle – but to bring the conversation and laughter that breathe life into period – or contemporary – buildings. Particularly rewarding are those occasions when groups of friends or family gather together for a whole-house booking, making themselves at home and enjoying all the lodge has to offer. A full Wolsey Lodge means a happy Wolsey host. Here we meet some of the Wolsey Lodges B&Bs who’ll be happy to help arrange your reunion or group.

For Grand Reunions: Burnhopeside Hall B&B

Burnhopeside Hall B&B
Burnhopeside Hall B&B, near Durham

One thing Burnhopeside Hall has in spades is space. The main house has four large guest bedrooms and two more at the end of the house that can be B&B or self-catering. These accommodate twelve in comfort. Head up to the third floor and there’s a self-contained flat sleeping six, or wander into the grounds and find a farmhouse villa with space for ten more.

Burnhopeside Hall B&BOwner Christine Hewitt was born and grew up at Burnhopeside Hall, and says “The hall really comes to life with plenty of guests. It’s at its best when there are people using the full-sized billiards table, playing croquet on the lawn or just sitting drinking Pimms and watching.”

There’s lot to do here. There are 18 acres of gardens, a walled kitchen garden and a field hosting free range pigs, chickens, ducks and geese. It’s all part of a larger 475-acre estate, including a mile of river: shooting and fishing are obvious options and there’s stabling if you’d like to bring your own horse. The city of Durham is seven miles away and all the attractions of Northern England are within easy reach.

Best of all, Burnhopeside Hall is skilled in hosting special functions. Celebratory meals can be arranged for any number of guests. All that’s required is plenty of notice: there are no frozen ready meals here and seasonal ingredients will need to be gathered as required.

For groups of friends: Priory Steps B&B

Priory Steps Bed and Breakfast, Bradford on Avon
Priory Steps B&B, near Bath

Priory Steps B&B has five guest bedrooms and sleeps ten, with some self-catering options in a converted inn across the road. Owner Carey Chapman says “we often have groups booking out the whole house. They use it as a mid-point to meet up with distant friends, or to spend some quality time with relatives living nearby.

Priory Steps Drawing Room
The library at Priory Steps

“We do have a car park – which is pretty essential in Bradford-on-Avon – but there’s also a train station within easy walking distance of our lodge. This means groups can easily arrange a quick train hop into Bath to visit the Roman Baths or theatres or Bristol, one stop further. There is plenty to see and do in this part of Wiltshire at any time of year”.

As with many lodges Priory Steps does not find it economically viable to provide evening meals for individual guests: they can, but this is strictly by arrangement. Evening meals for groups, however, do make sense. “It’s great to break out the crystal and the candles for a celebratory evening meal.  We have a library for pre-dinner drinks and, in winter months, there’s always an open fire in the dining room where the table has space to seat 12 guests in comfort: it looks its best when it’s fully laid for a dinner party. We’re not licensed, but people are welcome to bring their own wine.”

For smaller groups: Crow Leasow B&B

Crow Leasow B&B house
Crow Leasow B&B, near Ludlow

Set in open countryside three miles outside Ludlow, Crow Leasow B&B has three guest bedrooms and comfortably accommodates six guests. Owner Sally Kellard says “I love having guests taking over the whole house. I think when they’re a group meeting up and staying together they find it easier to make themselves fully at home – which is just as it should be.

Crow Leasow B&B guest Dining room
Crow Leasow B&B

“Groups tend to make fairly clear travel plans, which makes things easier. With notice we’re more than happy to provide packed lunches or evening meals as required. Generally people seem to love staying here: the house has been completely restored, with many rooms fitted with underfloor heating, but maintains all its beams and is furnished with antiques. It’s luxury, but not like an impersonal hotel: think wellies and walks, then slippers on the sofa by a wood-burning stove and Aga-cooked meals in an intimate home.”

Getting to Crow Leasow is easy. Ludlow’s railway station is eight minutes drive away. Shropshire is actually pretty central for most of the UK making it a useful place for friends, divided by geography, to meet up and relax.

One thing is sure. When you’re next arranging a social get-together or special meet, Wolsey Lodges should be top of your wish-list. We have lodges of all sizes and flavours: there’s bound to be one that suits your taste. Just check out our properties here.

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