As the mercury falls and leaves pile up, it’s time to get cosy with an autumn break. Alastair Sawday picks 20 UK B&Bs, under £100, that are perfect to snuggle up in
Reader offer: two nights for the price of one at over 100 Sawday’s B&Bs
The Old Forge, Compton Abbas, Dorset
Step back in time at this restored forge on a smallholding: retro signs, museum pieces, classic cars, ponies in the paddock and a simpler, slower way of life. As well as the B&B, owners Tim and Lucy have a cute gypsy caravan and a vintage shepherd’s hut for self-catering. The attic bedrooms are snug, with Lucy’s quilts, country antiques and sparkling bathrooms, and the breakfasts are renowned: eggs from their hens, organic bacon and sausages, home-grown jams, apple juice straight from the orchard.
• 01747 811881, theoldforgedorset.co.uk, B&B doubles from £75 a night
Whitehouse Farm Cottage, Binfield, Berkshire
In the quiet village of Binfield, this 17th-century farmhouse has a gorgeous garden and two charmingly converted buildings. Garden Cottage has a beamed drawing room and an immaculate gallery bedroom. The Forge still has the blacksmith’s fireplace and overlooks an atmospheric courtyard garden with pebble mosaics. The single is in the main house with its own sitting room. Fabulous locally sourced breakfasts with freshly baked bread are served in the house by Keir and Louise, who are film prop makers by profession.
• 01344 423688, sawdays.co.uk, B&B doubles from £85
Stonebridge, Banwell, Somerset
Liz and Richard opened a wing of this listed country house when their daughters flew the nest. There are two pretty bedrooms (one upstairs, one down) with country furniture and impressive bathrooms. In winter, a woodburner keeps your little sitting room cosy. You feast on local eggs, homemade bread and dinners with garden veg. It’s close to Bristol airport, the M5 and Wells.
• 01934 823518, stonebridgebandb.co.uk, B&B doubles from £75
Corner Farm, Low Catton, North Yorkshire
From the tea and home-baked cakes on arrival to the snug, well-insulated rooms, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome at this peaceful farmhouse, even on the coldest day. Bathrooms are swish and two bedrooms (a double and a twin) are light, fresh and comfortable, with cast-iron beds. Much-loved Dexter cattle graze on six acres – owners Tim and Sharon are aiming for self-sufficiency – and apples from the orchard are pressed for your breakfast. A great base for exploring nearby York and the country estates of Castle Howard, Beningbrough Hall and Stockeld Park
• 01759 373911, cornerfarmyork.co.uk, B&B doubles from £80
Gilpin Mill, Crook, Windermere, Cumbria
Down leafy lanes is a pretty white house by a mill pond, framed by pastures and trees. Steve took a year off to build Gilpin Mill, and Jo looks after hens, labradors and guests – beautifully. In the farmhouse sitting room you’ll find oak beams and a log fire. Bedrooms are equally inviting: beds are topped with duck down duvets and the bathrooms are luxurious . Alongside is a lovely old barn where timber was made into bobbins; in the mill pond is a trout ladder and dam, soon to provide power for the grid. Come here to be seriously spoiled.
• 01539 568405, gilpinmill.co.uk, B&B doubles from £80
Number One, Hertford, Hertfordshire
It’s worth hopping out of bed for Annie’s breakfast: luxury continental with raspberry brioche or the delicious full English. Her house is a sparkling Aladdin’s cave of mirrors, candles, cherubs, big open fires and generous bunches of roses. Bedrooms are lavishly done. Bathrooms have Italian tiles, and more roses. This good-looking Georgian terrace house featured in Pevsner’s [architectural] guide to Hertfordshire, and the market town is busy with theatre, shops and galleries. Return in the evening for a gourmet dinner.
• 01992 587350, numberoneporthill.co.uk, B&B doubles from £95
New Inn Brilley, Brilley, Hereford, Herefordshire
Daphne’s ancient drovers inn is a little oasis of peace and spirituality in the hills above Hay, with its tattered Tibetan flags and overgrown garden. Sleep in the house or the yurt, help yourself to supper or let Daphne cook for you. Spotless bedrooms (up steep steps) are pink or yellow, one with a teeny, sweet bathroom, one without. There is homemade yogurt and plum jam at breakfast with eggs from the resident bantams. It is a warm, history-filled house crammed with collectibles and offering great views from every window.
• 01497 831284, newinnbrilley.co.uk, B&B doubles from £55
The Steading, Tullicro, By Camserney, Aberfeldy, Perthshire
Hens scatter as you approach this house behind the hamlet of Tullicro; it’s a clever fusion of modern Scottish and Scandinavian design. Built of local Aberfeldy stone, Sarah Jane’s home has splendid mountain and river views. Breakfast at the picture window, on fine local and organic food (seeded breads, raspberries, smoked salmon). The upstairs bedroom has a magnificent skylight for star-gazing; both rooms have the right balance of comfort and contemporary chic. Fine Scottish woollens, French linens, firm mattresses, thick towels in pristine shower rooms. Evenings in front of that wood-burner beckon.
• 01887 820718, steadingaberfeldy.co.uk, B&B doubles from £95
Longbourn, Broad Oak, Heathfield, Sussex
Through the gates and down the drive to a big Victorian house in 12 lovingly nurtured acres, Longbourn is a smallholding with conservation flocks of sheep, pigs and fowl, and a farm shop on site. As for the house, it is large, light, immaculate and a perfect showcase for a collection of military lithographs. The bedrooms are big and have deep carpets and elegant wallpapers.
• 01435 882070, longbourn1895.co.uk, B&B doubles from £90
The Old Store House, Llanfrynach, Brecon, Powys
Unwind here with books, chattering birds, and Peter, who asks only that you feel at home. Downstairs are a range-warmed kitchen and a charmingly ramshackle sitting room with a wood-burner, sofas and a piano – no TV. Bedrooms are large and spotless, with more books, soft goose down duvets and armchairs. You can breakfast, without haste, on scrambled eggs, local bacon and sausages, as well as blistering coffee. Walk into the hills from the back door.
• 01874 665499, theoldstorehouse.co.uk, B&B doubles from £80
24 Saxe-Coburg Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
A 10-minute walk from the centre of Edinburgh, this 1827-built house stands in a quiet Georgian square. The three attractive bedrooms are on the garden level and are self-contained with their own entrance, There are comfortable beds, good lighting, handsome antiques and a small kitchen for making tea and coffee. One of the spotless bathrooms has Paris metro tiling in white and green. You can nip over the road to the refurbished Victorian Baths at Glenogle Swim Centre for a dip, sauna or workout in the gym; return to a generous continental breakfast served in the little hall.
• 0131 315 3263, saxecoburgplace.co.uk, B&B doubles from £96
Huntstile Organic Farm, Goathurst, Bridgwater, Somerset
Catapult yourself into country life in the foothills of the Quantocks. Lizzie and John buzz with energy in this gorgeous old house with Jacobean panelling and huge fireplaces, two sitting rooms, sweet, rustic bedrooms, a cafe and a restaurant serving their own meat, eggs and vegetables. House parties, weddings, team building, a stone circle for hand-fasting ceremonies – all come under Lizzie’s happy and efficient umbrella. And there are woodlands to roam.
• 01278 662358, huntstileorganicfarm.co.uk, B&B doubles from £75
Redfoot Lea, Alnwick, Northumberland
This renovated old farmsteading lies just off the A1 up a quiet lane. It is a perfect base for touring the county or a great stopover for anyone on the way to or from Scotland. There’s a sunny south-facing sitting room, and ground-floor bedrooms are contemporary, with homey touches and smart bathrooms. Breakfast is served at a large table in the magnificent open-plan hall, scented with glorious flower arrangements, and might include freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade compotes, local produce and excellent coffee. It’s a short hop from Alnwick Castle and Gardens.
• 01665 603891, redfootlea.co.uk, B&B doubles from £85
Mulsford Cottage, Mulsford, Sarn, Malpas, Cheshire
This sweet white-washed cottage, with vintage interiors, comes wrapped in green Cheshire countryside. Kate’s superb dinners (she’s a professional chef) are worth staying in for. Lounge by the sitting room fire, then sleep deeply in comfy bedrooms, that might have cane beds, a bright red chair, a vintage desk. The double has a roll-top bath, the twin a tiny shower-with-a-view. Step out to birdsong and the 34-mile Sandstone Trail all over the border into Shropshire.
• 01948 770414, mulsfordcottage.co.uk, B&B doubles from £85
Koeschi, Lanlivery, Bodmin, Cornwall
In the middle of ancient bluebell woods, this is an eco home extraordinaire. It has been designed by Pete and Celia’s nephew, has a green roof covered in wild flowers, features timbers from their woods, solar and wood-burner heating and wool insulation. You have your own part of the house, which is all clean lines and comfort. Wake for sourdough toast with local bangers and bacon, along with very good coffee. Pete, a sculptor, has his studio next door (take a tour, book a course) and it’s a short hop to the Eden Project. The peace here is just blissful.
• 01208 871029, cornwallecohome.co.uk, B&B doubles from £80
Rose Cottage, Peter Tavey, Tavistock, Devon
On a quiet country road on the edge of Peter Tavey is a pretty slate-clad cottage. Enter to find a country dining room with a wooden floor, a fine Georgian table and a smart Aga. Your bedroom, light, lovely and south-facing, has toile de Jouy fabrics and a sumptuous bed; the big traditional bathroom is for lingering in. After a generous continental breakfast, pull on your boots and stride onto Dartmoor. Then it’s home to a good sofa, a delicious dinner and a wood-burning fire.
• 01822 810500, sawdays.co.uk, B&B doubles from £70
Green Farm House, Thursford, Fakenham, Norfolk
Discover books, DVDs, rugs on slate floors, watercolours and pots of flowers, and a comfortable sofa by the woodburner here, and if you’re feeling peckish there are tea and biscuits to help yourself too. Sleep peacefully in well-dressed bedrooms with smart bathrooms: one with a shower, one with a bath. Lucy’s house is next door and breakfast is across the garden in her conservatory. Sample local sausages and bacon and tuck in to toast with free-range eggs, homemade marmalade and muesli. Lucy can arrange sailing if you want to get out on the water; it’s heaven for walkers, cyclists and birdwatchers too.
• 01328 878507, nnv.org.uk, B&B doubles from £75
South Lodge, Brockham Green, Betchworth, Surrey
The beautiful Surrey Hills surround this smart home overlooking the village green. Paul and Joanna’s house gets the sun all day and has a country-chic feel. They look after you well, and give you tea and cake on arrival. There are three cosy, pretty bedrooms in the eaves and locally sourced and homemade treats at breakfast. Joanna’s catering business is run from the house so there are always people coming and going – making this is a fun and bustling place to stay. Hop next door for a tasty supper at The Grumpy Mole (popular so you need to book). Handy for Gatwick, too – it’s a 15-minute drive.
• 01737 843883, brockhambandb.com, B&B doubles from £95
Calcot Peak House, Northleach, Gloucestershire
Alex, the owner of this handsome old house, is delightfully relaxed yet full of enthusiasm for her B&B enterprise There’s an excellent butcher in Northleach so breakfasts are tip top, and the bedrooms are a sophisticated mix of traditional and contemporary: Farrow & Ball colours, rich florals, fresh flowers and soft bathrobes. You also have your own charming drawing room, with tartan carpet, pink sofas and family oil paintings. Outside: 19 acres for Dexie the dog and a bench on the hill for the view. Tramp the Salt Way, dine in Cirencester, and let the owls hoot you to sleep.
• 01285 721047, sawdays.co.uk, B&B doubles from £95
Yew Tree House, Batcho Hill, Vowchurch, Herefordshire
Sue and John’s gorgeous 19th-century home is surrounded by gardens and stunning views across the Golden valley to Hay Bluff. Tea and homemade cake is served in a tastefully decorated guest sitting room with comfy sofas, an open fire and shelves that are groaning with books to explore and enjoy. Generous bedrooms in pretty pastels are supremely comfortable. Wake to the smell of baking bread, hasten to the dining room for a delicious breakfast. Dore Abbey’s down the road, and Hay-on-Wye is a half-hour jaunt away.
• 01981 251195, yewtreehouse-hereford.co.uk, B&B doubles from £80
Alastair Sawday’s Special Places to Stay British Bed & Breakfast is on sale now, priced at £15.99. For further information on any of the properties featured visit sawdays.co.uk. To order a copy for £12.49 with free UK p&p call on 0330 333 6846 or visit guardianbookshop.co.uk