Celebrating Christmas at Stourhead in Wiltshire

One of the loveliest things about life in North Dorset is that we are so close to the borders of Somerset and Wiltshire that we actually get to experience life in three counties, not just one!  A favourite place of ours (and our guests) is the nearby National Trust property of Stourhead, just over the border in Wiltshire, which has the most glorious house and grounds; a true jewel in the crown.

Christmas is coming!

We took Peggy for a walk there on Sunday and I was delighted to see that the volunteer team have now decorated the grounds with these beautiful wreaths,  which are dotted around and hung on gates and fences.  There are also 50 outdoor Christmas trees!

The house itself is also decorated in a period style, complete with a roaring log fire and is well worth a visit – check out the National Trust‘s website for further details. You can also visit Father Christmas on certain dates and the house is open between now and 23rd December – can you squeeze in a visit to ‘Sunflowers’ so that you don’t miss out?

Check out the photo reel on our Things to See and Do page for lots more of my photos of Stourhead all year round and contact us soon if you’d like a pre-Christmas visit!


Thank you – and a few thoughts on inclusion

2016-08-07-15-16-22Today my friends and former/future guests in the USA are celebrating Thanksgiving. So I give my thanks to everyone who has stayed with us since we opened up the doors of our home – I am truly grateful to you all.

And a few weeks ago, people of Indian/Hindu origin celebrated Diwali,  the festival of light; I’ve spent a lot of time in India and Diwali has always been one of my favourite celebrations. Thinking about these global traditions also coincided with Airbnb publishing its “Community Commitment”, which reminds hosts to treat people fairly and equally and to not display bias or discrimination towards potential or actual guests.  As somebody who spent a long part of my corporate career in a senior diversity and inclusion role, thinking and behaving in an inclusive and welcoming manner is very much in my DNA; now that I’m a Dorset B&B landlady, this is proving to be the most wonderful part of my life.

Today, we received a booking from a lady of Chinese origin,  who will be in the area on business – she will be our first guest from that country. Looking back through my guest book,  I can see “thank you” written in about six different languages and I note that we have hosted  people from countries which include all four corners of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Nigeria, France, Russia, India, Zimbabwe, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Poland.

So,  thank you again to all of our wonderful guests – we have loved hosting you and we look forward to all that the future may bring.





On a favourite local eating spot

wp-1479763153517.jpgToday I walked past local restaurant South Street Kitchen and snapped this picture as I did so.  It’s one of our favourite places to eat and drink here in Gillingham and is just a short walk from the house;  this of course makes it very popular with guests who fancy trying one of SSK’s legendary cocktails or who are in the area without a car due to arriving by train, bicycle or foot!

I saw the SSK team comment on Instagram today that they’re now doing certain menu items (burgers, I think) to takeaway,  so I must find out more about this and see if they have menus that I can share with our guests.  Jane and Terry who stayed here last week came home raving about the delicious pulled pork and squid and chorizo dishes they had at SSK – I need to make a booking and call in again myself!

Check out where else we recommend that you eat and drink when you’re staying with us – there are some absolutely fabulous pubs and restaurants in the area.





Family matters

This weekend we hosted a lovely family with their two charming children: Jack, aged 4 and Nell, 20 months.  Although we don’t have lots and lots of baby equipment to hand, one of our double rooms is very well proportioned and there’s ample space in there for guests to bring their own travel cot.  We also have a stair gate across the top of the stairs and a nightlight on the landing.

img_20161105_144052.jpgJack stayed in the single room,  where he very happily played with the wooden toy cars I left out for him and read one of the children’s books I made available.  We also have a stash of family friendly DVDs, and Mum and Dad were able to enjoy a complimentary glass of Sauvignon Blanc whilst the children watched a film!

If your children are under school age,  why not take advantage of our mid-week special deals? Check out our special offers and treat yourself to a break!

Visiting Gillingham, Dorset on business

2016-11-12-08-52-35We had our first business guests in a while earlier this week;  they were in Gillingham in order to conclude a deal with one of our big local firms and were booked in by the client company for two nights so that they didn’t have long drives back and forth at the end of their busy day.  They were very appreciative of both our fast wi-fi and also the guest dining room,  which they used as office space in between their on-site meetings.  It was no trouble at all to arrange a late check in and an early breakfast for them and I look forward to welcoming them back again next month.

Need a week night booking? Please contact us.


Congratulations to our competition winners!

wp-1479763429123.jpgEarlier this year,  we ran a competition on Facebook in conjunction with a local lettings agency, where the prize was a free one night stay with us.  To win the prize, Facebook users had to ‘like’ both of our business pages and then add a comment indicating what they most liked about Dorset. Jenny from the agency administered it all and the eventual winner from the prize draw was Jane from West Sussex. Jane had only been using Facebook for a few weeks when she won her prize (which just goes to show that it’s always worth entering!) and she was absolutely delighted to win her free stay.  She and her husband Terry decided to add on a few extra nights and, as I write this, they are half way through their visit, having now spent time in Shaftesbury, at our glorious local stately home Stourhead (pictured) and with plans to visit Sherborne Castle and its Capability Brown designed gardens.

wp-1478262217407.jpgHere are Jenny, Jane and Terry with me, drinking tea out of sunflower mugs!

(You can also see a glimpse of the book lined guest dining room to the right of the photo).

Keep an eye on our Special Offers page,  as we will definitely do more giveaways like this in the future.  And please click on the links to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.