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Bed & Breakfast accommodation is a growing area online, as small property owners discover the reach of the internet to offer their well-priced overnight stays. Typically many B&Bs would remain undiscovered gems, only able to attract local guests or those with a close ear to the grapevine. The internet has changed all that, giving a world plateau to guesthouses and inns which have something different to offer. The great thing about B&Bs is that they offer a more personal alternative to a hotel, with a more laid back atmosphere.  As well as the traditional seaside B&Bs you'll find cosy countryside retreats throughout the UK and more and more establishments are aiming at the luxury end of the market.

You don't want to get on the wrong side of the landlady...

So if you've never stayed in a B&B before, or you need a reminder, here's our guide to all things great about this type of accommodation...

Home Comforts
A stay in a good B&B should be like a welcoming home away from home. When you contact a B&B you can probably tell if you've made a good choice by the sort of welcome you get. A good one should be like staying over at a friend's place - you'll get breakfast and sometimes even a packed lunch (usually at an additional charge). Drying facilities are usually on offer if your B&B is on a walking trail so your clothes are warm and ready to wear again the next day.

Location
Seaside towns are famed for their B&Bs, but they're also popping up all over the countryside in areas such as the Scottish Highlands, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Wales and the West Country. If you're heading to a location you've never been to before, research the surrounding area before you go.

Alternative to a hotel
Although the term B&B is traditionally associated with small, family run accommodation by the sea, it can be anything from an upscale estate of beautifully restored cottages to a room and morning coffee in a run-down farmhouse.  Recently the trend of 'luxury' B&Bs has been on the increase, with high quality bed linen, posh toiletries and state of the art technology in the rooms; some even offer the option of an evening meal. Remember that staying in a B&B is quite different to a hotel with a more tailored and flexible service and as they're often run by the owner of the home, check the policy for locking doors at night - if you think you're going to be late back, let them know so they can arrange a key.

No single supplements
As B&Bs often charge per person rather than per room, they're great if you're travelling on your own. However, it could also mean that you're put in a little box room in the attic with no room to swing a cat. Ring ahead before you check-in so you know what you're in for.

Check-in times
As with hotels, B&Bs have set check-in times. Find out what the policy is before you set off. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the landlady as soon as you arrive. Also, don't forget to ask what time breakfast is served to ensure you don't miss out.

Bathroom facilities
Many B&Bs now have en-suite facilities but if not, you may have to share a bathroom with one or more rooms. Check what the set-up is before you go if you don't fancy sharing.

Getting to know the locals
As most B&Bs are run by the owners themselves, they'll know a lot about the local area. To find the best pubs, restaurants, shops, walks etc. the owners are the best people to ask. They may even have an arrangement with the local pub and reserve a table for you.

Before you go...
Call the B&B and let them know if you have any special needs or dietary requirements and check exactly what you'll be paying for. Most importantly, check if credit or debit cards are accepted - if you're stuck out in the hills with no cash points the last thing you want to be doing is the washing up to pay your bill.