An English B&B

Staying at an English B&B in Shrewsbury is a great way to experience and really get to know the local area. B&B owners are normally very friendly and welcoming and will share their local knowledge and give you tips for getting the most out of your stay. However it can also be a bit nerve wracking if you are a B&B first timer!

Here are my top tips for getting the most from your stay.

A B&B Is Not The Same As A Hotel

I answered the phone the other day to a potential guest who said she had seen our hotel in a newspaper article. It looked very nice and she wanted to stay. I told her that we were actually a B&B and not a hotel, to which she replied – Same Difference.

Staying at a B&B is a much more personal home from home experience than a hotel . It’s why most people choose to stay at them.

Check Out The B&B Quality Rating

In the UK there are 2 main quality bodies that assess B&Bs and Hotels – Visit Britain ( or Visit Wales or Visit Scotland ) and the AA. They all work to exactly the same criteria. The criteria have recently changed and are more vigorous than they used to be. All guest accommodation ( B&Bs, Hotels, Restaurants with Rooms etc. ) are now given stars rather than the old diamond system. B&Bs are inspected once a year and have to work hard to maintain their ratings.

B&Bs do not have to be quality rated. There are some very good B&Bs that have no stars and rely on repeat business, recommendations and inclusion in specialty guides to get business.

As well as stars your B&B may have a silver or gold award – these are given for levels of cleanliness, customer service and little extra above those that they normally expect.

Just because a B&B is a 5 star gold award does not necessarily mean it is the right B&B for you so…

Read The Description For Your B&B Carefully

To make sure your B&B is going to meet your holiday needs read the descriptions carefully and, if you are at all unsure, contact them to ask about specifics. For example, a 4 star B&B only needs to have 50% of its rooms with en suite or having a private bathroom.

Make sure it has all of the facilities you require before you book. If you do not want to drive make sure there is a pub within walking distance – not always the case with a rural B&B. Do not assume there will be a hairdryer etc.

B&B guests normally go out for the day exploring. Though it a requirement of the Quality Standards that the B&B owner gives you access to the property at all time unless they have previously specified otherwise. If you are planning to spend the day at the B&B it’s worth checking beforehand with the B&B owner that they are happy for you to do so.

Let Your B&B Owner Know About Any Special Requirements

B&Bs are, generally, small businesses so cannot afford to stock every type of tea, coffee, milk, juice going. If you specifically need something, like decaffeinated tea or skimmed milk, then make sure you let your B&B host know in plenty of time. Most B&B owners will be very happy to get supplies in for you.

If you are on a special diet then make sure your B&B host understands what this actually means. Whilst most B&B owners are excellent cooks they may not be aware of the requirements of, say, a coeliac or vegan diet.

Many people are attracted to a B&B because there are pets around. However if you are allergic to cats or have a dog phobia make sure you check with your B&B owner beforehand.

Know Your Check In And Departure Times

Unlike big hotels B&Bs are very unlikely to have a fleet of staff. Quite often they are run as one woman or one man bands. So when your B&B says check in after 4.00 it is probably because they have to go out to the shops or do the school run or walk the dogs. And departure time is at 10.30 because they have 3 rooms to clean single handedly before the next guests arrive.

If you own a B&B it is a great idea to revamp the interior and get a new design to the building. Hire a skip today and get rid of all your unnecessary items.

Reasons To Visit Shropshire

A few miles from the ancient village of Clun lies one of the best preserved parts of Offa’s Dyke. Built by Offa, King of Mercia, over 1200 years ago, the dyke roughly follows the whole of the English / Wales border. This section of the dyke enjoys stunning views across sparsely habited countryside West to Wales and East over the Shropshire Hills.

Yet despite being a famous long distance walk ,in some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK, you can walk along it on a beautiful August day and not see another soul – if you don’t count the odd sheep of course.

This beauty and isolation is, for me, what makes Shropshire so special. Here are 10 reasons why I believe it makes the ideal holiday destination.

  1. Countryside – Shropshire’s landscape changes with every mile you drive. From the dramatic hills of the Long Mynd – named “Little Switzerland” to the “blue remembered hills” and green Clun Valley, immortalised in Housman’s famous poems. In spring the hedgerows are filled with blackthorn blossom and in autumn the tree colours are spectacular.
  2. Market Towns – Ludlow is seen as the unofficial capital of South Shropshire. Described by John Betjeman as the “loveliest town in Britain”, it boasts over 500 listed buildings. Ludlow Castle, one of the finest in the country, has origins dating back to the 11th century. But Ludlow is not all history – it is also a bustling market town and was the first UK town to be given Cittaslow – slow town – status. Your trip to Shropshire isn’t complete without exploring the other market towns of Clun, Church Stretton, Bishops Castle and Much Wenlock. All steeped in history and beautiful in their own ways.
  3. History – South Shropshire is an ideal destination for anyone interested in history. From signs of bronze age population – burial mounds, tracks and stone circles, through to the colourful history of the Mortimer family in13th-15th Centuries and Henry VIII’s own connections with Ludlow. Travel just a bit further north to Ironbridge, seen as the birthplace of British industry in the late 1700’s. And, if you are interested in recent history, the Land of Lost Content at Craven Arms is a fascinating look at 20th Century Britain.
  4. Restaurants and Pubs – until fairly recently Ludlow had the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants of any town outside of London. Whilst Mr Underhills remains with their one star, the other chefs have moved on. However there are a still a high number of great quality restaurants and pubs, with a focus on well cooked local food. There are also a high number of local micro breweries, with Hobsons, winning Beer of the Year in 2007 with their Mild.
  5. Festivals and Fayres – South Shropshire has a whole variety of fayres and festivals throughout the year. The Clun Green Man festival, in May, is a traditional festival celebrating the arrival of summer. In ludlow the Ludlow festival is a fortnight of theatre and music, with the main event being a Shakespeare play performed in the castle grounds. In September the famous ludlow festival showcases the best of local food and in November get ready for christmas with the medieval fayre.
  6. Walking and Cycling – There are numerous walks and cycle routes in South Shropshire with lots of guides and maps to help you. For the serious rambler there is Offa’s Dyke, Mortimer’s Way. The Shropshire Way and Wild Edric’s Way. There are also many circular routes lasting for 2 or 3 hours, quite a few with a tearoom or pub en route. Hopton Wood boasts a well known mountain bike trail with stunning views and trails suitable for the whole family.
  7. Award Winning Accommodation – South Shropshire has a whole variety of different accommodation to choose from. From farmhouse guesthouses, to award winning luxury B&Bs, self catering cottages and restaurants with rooms. One thing you can expect is a warm welcome and well cooked locally produced food.
  8. Wildlife – in this very rural county you have to stop and listen and watch quietly for a few moments to discover its wildlife. Buzzards are a common site flying over the countryside and town, often accompanied by ravens. The red kite is becoming more common – watch out for the red colouring and forked tail. Nightjars, woodcocks and goshawks live in the many woods in the area. Sit quietly by a river for a while and you might be lucky to see kingfoshers or a dipper. The Roe deer is a common site in woods and fields next to the roads. Keep an eye out at night for the beautiful barn owl sitting on posts and listen out for tawny owls, as well as polecats, badgers and foxes.
  9. Film Sets – Shropshire’s stunning landscapes and historic towns provide a perfect backdrop for film and tv productions. Most recently Stokesay Court, near Onibury, was the setting for some of the film, Atonement. The classic film “Gone to Earth” was filmed in and around Much Wenlock. Many TV productions have been filmed in the area including Moll Flanders and Blott on the Landscape. And just on the Shropshire/ Herefordshire borders, The Lion Hotel at Leintwardine is the pub featured in “The Green Green Grass”.
  10. A Warm Welcome – The people in South Shropshire are some of the friendliest in the country. From B&B owners to landlords to shop keepers you can expect a smile and a chat.

Make sure to help keep our beautiful scenic surroundings clean and tidy. if you have some unwanted items. Hire a skip today and let’s keep our area clean together!

Top Shropshire Restaurant Dining Experiences

Shropshire as home to Ludlow is known as a culinary hub for the UK, home to a prosperous collection of producers mixed with the sheer flair and creativity of the chefs in the area means visitors dining out in Shropshire are never lost for choice. We’ve compiled our own list of the top 10 dining experiences in Shropshire, they are in no particular order and if you think of any that we have missed out on then let us know in the comments section with your choice.

  1. La Becasse

Located in the picturesque location of Ludlow, this Michelin starred establishment offers fine dining French cuisine located in stunning oak pannelled restaurant. Head chef Will Holland tries to integrate local produce into his dishes as much as possible and the results have been called by Hardens as ‘Genius – creative, yet comfortingly classic’. This is a perfect venue for that special occasion, and guarantees satisfaction time and time again.

Address: La Bcasse, 17 Corve Street, Ludlow, SY8 1DA (01584 872325

Price Guide:
2 Course Lunch – 26
2 Course A la Carte – 54

  1. The King and Thai
    Relocated from the heart of Ironbridge to the more spacious Forester Arms in Broseley, the venue has a unique Asia theme with Thai artefacts, fresh orchids and leather sofas to provide a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Many of the ingredients used in the dishes are authentic and sourced directly from Thailand, except the meat which is sourced locally in Admaston. The food is both full flavoured and presented perfectly to ensure a great time every time for visitors.

Address: Avenue Road, Broseley, Shropshire, TF12 5DL (01952 882004)

Price Guide:
Starters – 3.50 – 6.95
Main Courses – 8.95 – 12.75
House Wine – 11.95

  1. Parkers Restaurant at Sweeney Hall Hotel
    Intimate dining in a relaxed atmosphere serving contemporary english cuisine surrouned by stunning views of the local countryside. All food is prepared fresh to order using local Shropshire produce and there are a range of menus from set price to sunday lunch and individually priced to ensure all tastes are catered for. Why not take advantage of the “Dine out for 10.00” offer on a Monday.

Address: Sweeney Hall Hotel, Morda, Nr. Oswestry SY10 9EU (01691 652 450)

Price Guide:
2 Course Meal – 17.50
Sunday Menu – 2 Course 12.25

  1. Dorrells Restaurant at Hadley Park House Hotel
    Enjoyed the relaxed ambience of the Conservatory at Dorrells restaurant with its fine selection of locally sourced British dishes on the menu. The AA Rosette awarded restaurant offers diners a seasonal menu with two or three course options. Hadley Park House Hotel provides one of the finest dining experiences in Telford.

Address: Hadley Park East, Telford, Shropshire TF1 6QJ (01952 677269)

Price Guide:
Starters – 4.95 – 8.50
Main Courses – 14.95 – 21.95
Desserts – 5.95
Sunday Lunch Menu – 2 Courses 15.95

  1. Chez Maw Restaurant at the The Valley Hotel
    Serving an A la Carte menu in a stylish setting located on the banks of the River Severn, there are a wide range of dishes with both English and Continental influences. The restaurant has been awarded two AA rosette for its cuisine which offers a great range of vegetarian, meat and fish dishes all which guarantee to leave diners satisfied.

Address: Ironbridge, Telford, TF8 7DW (01952 432247)

Price Guide:
Starters – 4.95 – 7.50
Main Courses – 15.95 – 17.50
Desserts – 5.95

  1. Restaurant Severn

This two AA rosette awarded restaurant is owned and run by husband and wife Eric and Beb Bruce, offers a menu based on classical French cooking, mixed with modern British trends using the best local and seasonal produce set on the River Severn opposite the World Heritage Ironbridge.

Address: 33 High Street, Ironbridge, TF8 7AG (01952 432233)

Price Guide:
Saturday 3 Course Menu – 28.95
Friday 2 Course Menu – 26.95
Sunday Lunch Menu – 2 Course 16.95

  1. The Armoury

Located in Victoria Quay on the banks of the River Severn this impressive building features large warehouse windows and bigger bookcases. There is a comprehensive menu offering traditional pub food with a twist. Typical dishes include pan-fried sea bass fillets, beef and ale pie and slow roasted pork belly stuffed with black pudding. The bar features a range of specialty ales from real breweries at the pumps, over 20 wines available by the glass and 50 different whiskies to finish off that meal in style.

Address: Victoria Quay, Shrewsbury, SY1 1HH (01743 340525)

Price Guide:
Starters – 4.75 – 6.75
Main Courses – 9.50 – 14.95
Desserts – 4.75 – 5.50

If you’re a restaurant owner. it is a great idea to renovate your dining area and make sure to hire a skip to make the job as easy and simple as possible. Shrewsbury skip hire is a great local business.