One of the best parts of our experience in England was staying in bed and breakfasts rather than large hotels. There are some beautiful bed and breakfasts in the country, some of which are housed in mansions that are hundreds of years old. We felt that by staying in this type of lodging, which gives the appearance of visiting someone’s home (and often is exactly that), we would have a more peaceful experience and gain a better understanding of British life than if we’d stayed in hotels, which are sometimes designed in very generic ways.
Some of the B&Bs we stayed in had wonderful gardens open for visitors to wander through. The landscaping and flowers were stunning. Inside, the places we stayed sometimes included period details we definitely wouldn’t have seen anywhere else. These places, some of which were once the homes of British nobility, were charming and unique, and I would recommend any traveler make the effort to find B&Bs to stay in rather than the bigger chain hotels.
In addition to the scenery and the beautiful interiors of the B&Bs, I think we had a more personalized experience than we would have in hotels. With fewer guests overall, B&B owners and employees can give more attention to each visitor. We were treated well by our hosts, and gained an appreciation of the English lifestyle and people through some of the conversations we had.
Bed and breakfasts in England, particularly around the cities, run the gamut from charming cottages surrounded by large plots of land and gardens, to townhouses in the heart of the city. Some of the mansions and other large homes where nobles and even royalty once spent their time have now been converted into places that cater to visitors seeking a more authentic experience on their visits to the UK. If you take the time to look, you’ll definitely find lodging that will suit your taste and needs.
The bed and breakfasts weren’t the only beautiful structures we saw. The UK has numerous castles and mansions once--and in some cases still--inhabited by royals and nobles. Some of these are open, in whole or part, for public viewing. Even the ones that aren’t can be viewed from a distance, giving visitors the sight of the large, sometimes imposing structures, the well-groomed grounds, and lovely gardens containing a wide variety of flowers and other plants. Just from wandering around the area, we saw a lot of magnificent sights and places, and were fortunate to be able to stay in some.