With so many more of us taking holidays at home, or ‘staycations’ as they have become known, a good way of finding value for money is to stay at a Bed and Breakfast location.
The popularity of the Channel 4 series Four in a Bed,where B & B owners battle for supremacy in a completion to find the best, has resulted in an increase of customers around the country.
Anyone with spare rooms and an ability to cook a good breakfast can set up as a business, but they must comply with current legislation which includes food and hygiene regulations, Health and Safety and fire safety rules.
Of course the British Tourist Board has its star ratings and there are plenty of guides online, or in books, that recommend accommodation.
The Bed & Breakfast Association is the UK trade association for B & Bs and Guest Houses. They promote the industry by quoting:
“B & Bs are one of the glories of the British tourist industry…the antidote to the claustrophobic uniformity of chain hotels. Britain’s vast network of B & Bs is something that foreigners envy but appear unable to emulate.”
The “Bed and Breakfast” sector in the UK is a £2.4 billion ‘cottage industry’, consisting of some 25,000 small owner-managed businesses. The best of the new generation of B & Bs are everything tourists now look for: small-scale, individual, high quality and with one-to-one personal service.
The total “bed stock” of independent B & Bs makes up a fifth of the total ‘serviced accommodation’ sector in the UK.
“Britain’s B & Bs reign supreme” according to TripAdvisor’s users: Britain lays claim to four of the world’s top 10 B & Bs, seven of the top 10 B & Bs in Europe – and even takes second and third place in the best ones in the world category.
TripAdvisor spokesperson Emma Shaw commented: “Yet again, Britain’s B & Bs continue to be celebrated as some of the very best in the world”
Despite narrowly missing out on the honour of world’s best B & B to a property in Italy, Athole Guest House in Bath takes second place in the World, while No1 in St Ives, Cornwall comes in third. All Seasons Guest House in Filey and St Michael’s Guest House in Scarborough rank in sixth and seventh places respectively.
The vast network of B & Bs gives us a perfect opportunity to visit some of our best loved tourist attractions and enjoy the hospitality of locals who live in the locations. Often visitors and owners forge friendships that go beyond any business arrangements.
My aunt, who ran a small farmhouse enterprise, always referred to her clients as the Paying Guests or PGs and as well as the comfy room and hearty breakfast they were given use of her beach-hut.
So next time you are planning a trip consider booking your accommodation through the local tourist board with a Bed and Breakfast and do let us know your experience. Or if you run a B & B yourself do tell us your stories.
by Charlotte Courthold