Staying in an independent hotel or B&B can help you embrace the essence of travel; you’ll have a unique experience, meet new people and catch a glimpse of a different way of life. Chain hotels do not have the freedom to be different or promote a social atmosphere amongst their guests, like a branded restaurant or supermarket; they are bound to deliver the same product repeatedly. To many people this is the reassuring aspect of booking a chain hotel, you get what you know and it’s a consistent experience. However, taking the road less travelled is an adventure waiting to be had, here are some of the best independent establishments in the UK;
London is fantastic city for a break, or a longer holiday. It’s small enough to walk around, but full of energy and diversity. Try a B&B like Kathy’s, located directly opposite the now defunct Battersea Power Station in Pimlico. The communal sitting room on the first floor overlooks the River Thames, and at night you can watch the south bank twinkle, while you share your day with other guests. Kathy is an ever present and warm host, happy to act as your personal tourist board; she has a wealth of knowledge on the city and how to get around.
Kathy’s, 1 Telford Terrace, Grosvenor Rd. SW1V 3AE, Tel 02078284440
For a weekend of pure relaxation try the rugged and beautiful landscape of North Norfolk, Hempstead Hall in the well to do town of Holt, is your perfect bolt hole. This farm house B&B is set in 300 acres of arable land, and you are encouraged to take a hands on approach to its rustic charms. The farm, gardens and greenhouses are yours to explore, there’s chickens, ducks and donkeys to be fed, then take a rest from your excursions in the wooden summer house. Later, as night falls look out for the resident barn owl as he prowls the meadows for food.
Lynda Mack, Hempstead Hall, Holt, Norfolk, Tel 01263 712224
On the south coast, Mizzards Farm in West Sussex is run by the sculptress Harriet Francis and her husband Julian. The building dates from the 16th Century and has had a sympathetic restoration, preserving the buildings engaging originality. It’s a friendly peaceful place, where the landscaped sculpture garden, croquet lawn and lake, give it a quirky, even eccentric edge. The owners are not only great cooks, but very happy to go the extra mile for guests, booking taxis and giving advice on days out.
Julian and Harriet Francis, Mizzards Farm, Rogate, West Sussex, Tel: 01730 821656
The Peak District boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the UK and the Red House Country Hotel in Matlock, is perfectly located to explore the area. This family run hotel prides itself on exemplary customer service, good food and a laid back homely atmosphere. Little touches like the open fire place, the complimentary afternoon tea and cake to all new guests and homemade biscuits in your room, are delightful. Many of the rooms have sweeping views of the Derwent Valley and two have four poster beds.
The Red House Country Hotel, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 2ER, 01629 734854 [email protected]
By booking independently you’ll not only enrich your trip and that of your travelling companions, but benefit the community where you are staying too. Putting money into local communities means they remain sustainable for years to come. By nurturing small business or those in rural areas, we preserve them for the next generation. We ensure our children will be able to find authentic and off the beaten track experiences, in exceptional locations.
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Written for the Weekend Getaways specialists