We haven’t stayed in a B & B since the 1980s usually opting for chain hotels, but chose this one as it was located in a quiet residential area just 5 mins walk from the beach. The service here was exemplary before we had even arrived. We asked if we could park our car early to go to the beach and the owners rang us to offer us an early check-in of 11am. We were greeted warmly, shown where everything was and invited to have tea and cake in the lounge.
The room itself was clean and light with comfy kingsize bed and additional blankets and pillows. There was an abundance of Twinings tea, Nescafe and filter coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits, with more in the lobby where there is also a fridge with fresh milk.
A small but immaculate shower room had Cole and Lewis toiletries, towels, flannels and even dressing gowns. I must mention even the loo paper was of exceptionally high quality, not something you normally review a hotel on but it just shows the attention to detail.
You could use the lounge at any time which was comfortable and stocked with books, games and tourist info, although the owners gave us lots of personal recommendations. The breakfast room was lovely and could be used for takeaways outside breakfast hours if wanted.
Breakfast was served between 8.30-9.30 and was plentiful and varied. You could choose from a selection of quality yogurts, cereals, pastries, nuts, seeds, fruits and home-made dishes plus a huge selection of freshly cooked breakfasts from around the world.
We would be happy to stay here again and recommend this B & B. More photos here
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Whether you’re looking for a weekend away on a budget, or you have a week-long holiday booked and need a free or cheap day out, I hope this might give you some ideas.
Woolacombe – I came here for many years as a child when it was a bit of a hidden gem, and then again as an adult for scooter rallies and music festivals. It has now turned into a popular British seaside resort without losing any of its old-fashioned charms. Woolacombe has a few shops, pubs and eateries but is most renowned for its huge sandy beach with tall dunes and rock pools. It is great for walking, beach play, paddling, surfing and exploring the pools. Parking on road is £1 an hour or in the seafront car park £6 a day. You can get tasty cooked meals and puddings served pretty quickly in the Red Barn. I recommend the steak and lasagne especially. (Unfortunately the weather was horrible during our visit but you can still appreciate its’ natural beauty.)
Croyde Bay – is very similar to Woolacombe but on a smaller scale. Another perfect sandy beach with rock pools and dunes. The area is surrounded by fields (lambs in residence this April) with walking trails to Woolacombe if you fancy a 5 mile trek. Parking cost £3 a day right on the front. There are a couple of shops selling snacks and supplies. Surf lessons available. And free toilets which are becoming a rarity at the British seaside.
Croyde – is a tiny seaside village with a couple of shops selling ice creams, fudge and snacks, and is situated about half a mile inland from the beach. There are two or three eateries. We opted for The Thatch pub which I would highly recommend. We had their home cooked steak and ale pie served with steamed veg, and the biggest burger I’ve ever seen. All meat and cheese was locally sourced and meals were served quickly. They do have a small car park but it does get busy.
There was a Farmer’s Market in the village hall when we visited which runs throughout most of the summer selling local arts, crafts and foodstuff. It was interesting to browse. Parking costs around £1 an hour although you could walk from the beach car park which is about half a mile away.
Slightly further inland is the Broomhill Sculpture Gardens. Priced at only £5 each you can spend at least 1.5 hours walking through the woodland trails admiring a vast array of sculptures, I believe there are 300 on show. There’s something there to suit all tastes. A babbling stream weaves its way through the lower gardens making it the perfect place for meditation or just a bit of time out.
The gardens are set in a hotel of the same name but all facilities are open to non residents. They have a gallery of wall art and more sculptures inside their new restaurant. You can still view them but I’d advise checking them out early before it gets customers in, unless you are intending to eat there too.
And then of course just driving and walking around the local areas is enjoyable in itself. Seeing such beautiful English countryside and cliff top sea views, quaint thatched cottaged villages and an abundance of wild life, all of which are wonderful to town and city dwellers (we saw kestrels, hares, partridges, farm animals, etc on our trip).
More photos of Woolacombe and Croyde HERE
More photos of Broomhill Sculpture Gardens HERE
Where to Stay – We stayed at The Premier Inn in Barnstaple in April of 2018 as we had a wedding to go to Inland and this was the best central location for that and the beach.
We had a large bright room with double bed, additional sofa bed, dressing table and hanging space that are standard in most chain hotels. There was heating and a free-standing pedestal fan so they were obviously geared up for all eventualities of the English Summer. There was a kettle, Twinings tea and Kenco coffee a plenty. The reception staff were happy to refresh tea and coffee supplies as it doesn’t appear they service rooms needlessly each day. (There is also a cold drink and snack vending machine in foyer.)
The en-suite bathroom has plenty of towels and wall dispensers for soap, shampoo and shower gel. Much as we all like the miniature toiletry bottles, these are far more environmentally friendly.
Breakfast is available at the Table Table pub restaurant next door and can be booked with your hotel stay or paid for on the day. You help yourself to fruit, cereals, yogurts, pastries, toast, juice, tea, coffee, etc and also have the option of a large freshly cooked breakfast that took about 10 mins.
It has a large free car park situated opposite a Tesco superstore with Lidl and McDonalds down the road and of course the main town centre of Barnstable a little further on.
If you’re staying at a weekend there is a car boot sale in Tesco Car Park on Sunday mornings from 10am.
This hotel offers the usual high standard of cleanliness that you get from Premier Inn and has polite friendly staff. We would be happy to recommend this hotel and restaurant and would stay again.
Alternatively, if you want to check out other hotels try Booking.com. You can sign up here to receive a £15 credit, or open a free account with Quidco and Topcashback as they both tend to have offers which will make your trip even cheaper.