Who doesn’t love a bargain? Discovering a hotel that punches far beyond its price tag is an exhilarating experience and a relief for your wallet too.
Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable accommodation options scattered across the UK – if you know where to look. Editors of the new Good Hotel Guide, now live online, scour the country for excellent hotels, inns and B&B for different budgets – and are always happy to reward those that are are impressively inexpensive.
Willing to share their secrets with the rest of us, they’ve cherry-picked some of the best.
The Barnsdale, Oakham, Rutland
A tree-lined avenue leads to this stylishly revamped 17th-century former hunting lodge minutes from Rutland Water, where a snug, colourful, boutique-style ‘classic’ double room will cost well under £130 with continental breakfast if you book directly and in advance. That’s cheaper than many B&Bs, and with all hotel facilities thrown in. They offer a three-course set lunch for just £25 and a £12 children’s menu, but, if you prefer to freestyle, the à la carte menu in 1760 Brasserie won’t break the bank, while lighter bites are available from noon to 5pm in the Rod Room, Orangery and Courtyard.
How: B&B doubles from £129.50, à la carte £45. Visit barnsdalerutland.com
Brooks Guesthouse, Bristol
At the heart of the old town, this former office block and one-time backpackers’ hostel was born again in 2009 as a smart guesthouse that is gentle on the wallet. The recently refurbished bedrooms have tongue-and-groove panelling and Cole & Son wallpaper, and a compact travertine-tiled bathroom with a power shower. More novel are the shiny Airstream-style retro caravans, each with 5ft bed and eco shower, on the Astroturf-covered roof. At street level there’s a paved courtyard, an honesty bar, and an open-plan living area where you can enjoy an excellent locally sourced breakfast (free for students when their family stay). The bars and restaurants of Wapping Wharf are a stroll away, or you can graze on street food in St Nick’s Market opposite.
How: B&aB doubles from £104, singles from £90, caravans from £120. Visit brooksguesthousebristol.com
Cnapan, Newport, Pembrokeshire
New arrivals are greeted with tea and Welsh cakes at Judith and Michael Cooper’s pink-washed Georgian house B&B in a coastal town overlooked by Carningli (Mountain of Angels). There are five newly renovated bedrooms, one with an adjoining single bedroom to suit a family. They hold a licence, so guests can enjoy a drink in the sitting room or sunny back garden. A home-cooked breakfast includes such choices as a full Welsh, full veggie, kippers, or chickpea and apricot patties, vegan sausage, grilled tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms. This is a relaxing home-from-home, an ideal base for exploring the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and your hosts can advise on where to dine.
How: B&B doubles from £100, singles from £80, family room (sleeps 3) from £120. Visit cnapan.co.uk
Burleigh Court, Brimscombe, Gloucestershire
Four-star comforts rarely come at a more tempting rate than at this Cotswold stone Georgian manor house, remodelled by architect Clough Williams-Ellis, on three-acre grounds overlooking the Golden Valley. Bedrooms range from ‘cosy’ (not poky), supplied with tea, coffee, biscuits and organic toiletries, to one with a four-poster. You can eat very reasonably from a daytime grazing menu in the bar from Wednesday to Saturday, but you won’t need a second mortgage for lunch or dinner in the atmospheric panelled dining room, where a locally sourced menu includes such dishes as duo of Middle White pork with apple and gooseberry ketchup, and risotto primavera with micro-herbs from the garden. Right now, last-minute bookings get a 33% discount on dinner, bed and breakfast.
How: B&B doubles from £149 (room only, £139), à la carte £49. Visit burleighcourtcotswolds.co.uk
Newbegin House, Beverley, Yorkshire
On a quiet street just steps from the centre of an East Yorkshire market town, Walter and Nuala Sweeney’s Georgian townhouse B&B has the ambience of a characterful family home, filled with antiques, photographs, books and knick-knacks, in keeping with the building’s history and original features. A double-length family room has walls lined with books, marble fireplaces, a deep sofa and plump armchair – even a wooden rocking horse. Extras include fresh milk, sherry and flowers from the walled garden with its ponds and waterfall. Breakfast is a feast, whether you fancy an omelette, smoked salmon or a full Yorkshire. You sense that the Sweeneys do this very much for love, and for very little money. They clearly don’t like to brag so you won’t learn much from their website – visit the Guide’s to know more.
How: B&B doubles from £110, singles from £80. Visit newbeginhousebbbeverley.co.uk
The Dial House, Reepham, Norfolk
From a Parisian garret to an Italian palazzo, rooms at this exuberantly quirky hotel are a celebration of the Georgian Grand Tour. Natural History has owl-adorned wallpaper, a cabinet of coastal curiosities, and doors to a private decked terrace. The Print Room’s walls, yellow as Norwich’s famous mustard, are hung with a collection of prints and engravings. The hotel, a former brewery, was recently acquired by bakery chain Bread Source, and no change is planned for the unique accommodation. A café is scheduled following restaurant refurbishment, and you can still get your hair bobbed by Shailey or Tanya at the onsite Country Salon – a snip at around £33.
How: B&B doubles from £130. Visit thedialhouse.org.uk
Castle Hotel, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire
If dogs mind their Ps and Qs, they not only stay for free but receive a welcome pack at this 18th-century hotel, built from the ruins of the Bishop of Hereford’s castle, in a hilltop town with the Welsh Marches a mile from the door. There are stunning views of hills from many of the individually styled bedrooms and the south-facing dining terrace. Superior pub grub is served in bar areas and the dining room from a varied and daily-changing menu, while Sunday roasts, including a vegetarian version, are just £16.95.
How: B&B doubles from £130, singles from £110, à la carte £36. Visit thecastlehotelbishopscastle.co.uk
The Three Daggers, Edington, Wiltshire
With a microbrewery, farm shop, wellness barn, hot tub and sauna, this rural inn in a historic village under the north slope of Salisbury Plain is a good base for a visit to Stonehenge and Avebury stone circle or a drive to Longleat. The 18th-century former Paulet Arms, rescued from closure in 2009, has three immaculate letting rooms with a nice traditional feel, and excellent group accommodation in self-catering properties. This is a proper local with above-average modern British, locally sourced farm-to-fork fare, where dishes such as duck breast with plums and red wine jus sit alongside the likes of haddock and chips and plant-based options. On summer days you can eat wood-fired pizzas in the sunshine.
How: Double/twin from £95, á la carte £37. Visit threedaggers.co.uk
To learn more about these and other hotels for all purses and purposes, visit goodhotelguide.com