Recipe share: enjoy Banana Muffins as part of your delicious breakfast here at Sunflowers B&B, Gillingham, Dorset

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

|| I’ve been getting my bake on recently and experimenting with some new breakfast ideas, particularly involving gluten-free and vegetarian recipes.

Later this year, we have two separate sets of returning guests booked in for the same weekend. One guest particularly loves banana cake. And the other couple are gluten-free … so my mind turned as to how I could combine those twin facts into something delicious that everyone could eat and enjoy … and I landed upon these banana muffins.

Homemade banana and almond muffins

The original recipe is here on the BBC website, but I modified it in order to make it gluten-free for Jonathan and Sue. If you want to do the same, just swap out the flour and baking powder for gluten-free versions (I used Doves).

I also added an additional tablespoon of milk to the amount specified in the recipe, as gluten-free recipes can incline to be a little drier than their gluten-included siblings. And I exchanged the walnut topping for flaked almonds, as that’s what I had in my baking cupboard on the day I gave these a try.

My tasting panel (me, Steve and my mum!) enjoyed the muffins as they are or sliced into two and then buttered, and the BBC recipe suggests serving them with bowls of sliced banana, crème fraiche or yoghurt (The Dorset Dairy Company’s Greek-style would be perfect for this), runny honey and extra walnuts (or almonds).

Don’t forget – let me know if you’re gluten-free, vegetarian or have any other food preferences when you book – and if you want to try some of my home baking or any of the other recipes here on the blog, mention that too.

In concert: Beth Nielsen Chapman in Gillingham, Dorset, March 2018 – come and stay and enjoy our B&B as well as a great performance

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

|| Tickets for the first of this year’s GillFest shows are now on sale and we look forward to welcoming American singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman to Gillingham next month for what will undoubtedly be a fantastic concert.

BNC Headshot new
Beth Nielsen Chapman

It takes place on Saturday 10th March at the same venue where last year GillFest hosted rock maestro Rick Wakeman; it’s a small and intimate auditorium space, so a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the music of a legendary country and pop singer-songwriter up close.

Room One – Church View

We currently have rooms available over the weekend of Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March 2018,  so why not check the GillFest site for gig tickets and book your stay with us at the same time?  The concert venue is just a short walk from ‘Sunflowers’.

Concert tickets can be bought online via the GillFest website and you can also see some video footage there of Beth performing.

See you in March!

Valentine’s Day 2018 – why not make date night an overnight and spend it in Gillingham, Dorset?

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

|| Farewell, January – we made it through (what always feels like) the longest month of the year and now we can look forward to falling in love with longer days, bank holidays, spring flowers, Easter – and Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day 2018 

Our 2017 Valentine’s package was a complete sell out,  so don’t miss out if you fancy treating yourselves to this year’s Special offer.

Book a mid-week overnight stay for Tuesday 13th or Wednesday 14th February 2018 and enjoy:

  • Early check in on the day you arrive: we’ll welcome you to ‘Sunflowers’ from 2pm onwards
  • Tea, coffee and home-made cake upon arrival
  • A night in one of our two lovely double en-suite bedrooms: Church View or Blackmore Vale View
  • A complimentary bottle of chilled Prosecco, complete with ice bucket and glasses
  • Use of the hot tub, with fluffy robes, pool towels and the Floating Drinks Tray
  • A delicious breakfast, at a specially decorated table – why not try one of our legendary Specials? (normally only available at weekends!)
Blackmore Vale View

This special offer is only available when you book directly with us through our website, so don’t delay – click today and get your Valentine’s on!

(And if you can’t make Valentine’s Day – why not take a look at our calendar of local events and plan your trip to ‘Sunflowers’ to tie with in one of the many 2018 festivals or activities?)

11 reasons to enjoy a visit to Café Newt in Gillingham, Dorset

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

|| We love walking to local coffee spot Café Newt from ‘Sunflowers’ – it’s an easy ten minute stroll from us and here are just some of the reasons to pay them a visit:

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    Welcome to Cafe Newt

    Located in the stunning, listed Old Brewery Building on Wyke Road – Café Newt is at the rear of the property and is the in-house café for motorcycle Moto Corsa dealer Mirus 55, home to some beautiful and rare motorcycles. Even if you’re not into bikes, the space is fantastic and is a stunning backdrop for a wide range of motorbikes, clothing and vintage biking artefacts.

  • We can give you directions on how to find the café – it’s an easy walk, drive or motorbike ride from ‘Sunflowers’.
  • The café is run by Steve and he and his team are very friendly and helpful, with a smile for everyone.
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    Flat white? Yes, please.

    The coffees are great! Like us, Steve is a big fan of local produce,  so you can enjoy our delicious local coffee (seen here in a flat white) as supplied by Gillingham firm 918 Coffee.

  • There’s a wide range of Specials and you can enjoy sandwiches, cakes, soups and other hot lunch options.
  • Plus gluten-free bread, cakes and soya milk are on offer.
  • It’s dog friendly! Your canine friend is welcome in the conservatory area at the back of the café and in the garden too. And Steve’s team will even offer Fido (or Peggy, in my case) a doggy treat upon arrival.
  • There are colouring sheets and crayons for the mini-visitors ….
  • And lots of books and magazines about bikes for the motorcyclists.
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    PS: yes, we are a dog friendly B&B!

    Finally – our guests can enjoy a free Americano coffee or a cup of tea when they visit Café Newt: we’ve been supplied with some free vouchers (Peggy is guarding them) which are here for you if you let us know that you fancy a trip to Café Newt during your stay. Available until 20th April 2018, whilst our stocks last.

  • PS: It’s called Café Newt because there’s a rare and protected colony of newts in the pond at the rear of the property. All of the building work at Mirus 55 was done in order to preserve and secure their habitat.

Café Newt at
Mirus 55
The Old Brewery
Wyke Road

Tel: 01747 811 196

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday
9.00am – 4.30pm

Light evening meals now available at Gillingham, Dorset’s popular bed and breakfast!

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

You asked, we listened!  And in response to great feedback on our breakfasts and to many requests and suggestions,  we are now offering a small menu of light evening snacks!

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, ‘Sunflowers’ style

Our Delicious Dorset Evening Snacks are available between 5.00pm and 8.00pm on Sunday to Thursday evenings and are cooked to order and served in the private dining room. As many of the local restaurant options are closed on Sunday and Monday evenings,  the new menu is already proving to be very popular!

All items can be ordered and paid for during your stay and you can request a free copy of the menu in PDF format when you book if you wish to take a look or order in advance.

The menu includes:

  • Sandwiches, made on your choice of brown or white bread, served with crisps; choose from:
    • Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
    • Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato
  • Poached or Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon [pictured here]
  • Your choice from the Light Bites menu:Scrambled/Poached/Baked Eggs or Baked Beans on Toast – all available with your choices of cheese, ham and fresh tomatoes
  • Pasta Bake with Oven Roasted Vegetables, topped with Halloumi Cheese (v)
  • Pea, Pancetta and Parmesan Risotto with a Truffle Oil Drizzle [with mushrooms instead of pancetta for a vegetarian option]
  • Home made Mixed Fruit Fool, served with Dorset Shortbread Biscuits

All options include a jug of filtered ice water, and freshly brewed local tea or coffee to follow your meal.

We look forward to cooking for you soon!

Restaurant review: The Wine Bar, Gillingham, Dorset

The Wine Bar has been around for a while here in Gillingham but is now under new ownership and receiving rave reviews for the food and service – so last week we paid it a visit in order to check it out and report back.

Based on Queen Street, an easy walk from ‘Sunflowers’, The Wine Bar is open for lunch and dinner (closed on Mondays) and also offers a Sunday lunch carvery as well as a Wednesday evening “Steak Night Special”: two steaks with all the trimmings plus a bottle of wine for £30.00.

Upon arrival, we ordered our drinks in the “wine bar” part of the venue – a spacious room with lots of seating and comfortable sofas,  before being shown to our table in the HUGE dining area at the back (and there’s also a garden and a decked area for use in the summer).  Whilst we waited we were brought warm home made bread, hummus and baba ganoush, prior to the arrival of our main courses.

Fillet of sesame crusted sea bass

I ordered a sesame crusted fillet of sea bass, which was served on a bed of ginger and coriander noodles and Steve opted for the house burger, which came stacked high as pictured here, complete with onion rings, chips, coleslaw and pickles. Both were excellent, in terms of both taste and presentation. We were served by the extremely friendly and helpful Sarah,  who handles front of house whilst her husband Arnie presides over the kitchen.

The Puddings Board

We also checked out the puddings – on offer the week that we were there were the items listed here, of which we sampled the really excellent crème brulee,  but these change regularly (yum!)

Crème brulee and blackcurrant sorbet

We’ll definitely be happy to send our guests there and to add The Wine Bar to our list of suggested local eating spots. A copy of the menu and walking directions on how to find the restaurant may be found in our in-room folders.

As always, our blog reviews are unbiased, are our own personal opinions and are based on a self-funded visit to the venue. 

The Wine Bar
20 Queen Street

Tel: 01747 825 825

Opening hours:

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 12 noon to 3.00pm; 5.30pm – 10.00pm
Wednesday: 12 noon to 3.00pm; 5.30pm – 10.00pm
Thursday: 12 noon to 3.00pm; 5.30pm – 11.00pm
Friday: 12 noon to 3.00pm; 5.30pm – midnight
Saturday: 12 noon to 3.00pm; 5.30pm – midnight
Sunday: 12 noon to 4.00pm; 7.00pm – 10.00pm

Facebook page: click here

Enjoy a vegan breakfast as part of Veganuary 2018: special bed and breakfast vegan menu available, Gillingham, Dorset

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

Happy New Year!

In support of Veganuary 2018,  we’re launching a special vegan breakfast menu which will be available throughout January 2018 for anyone who requests it when they book directly with us.

Avocado on sourdough toast

We’re committed to providing delicious, fresh and cooked to order breakfast options for all of our guests and if you’re a vegan or fancy trying out some delicious plant-based food as part of this year’s Veganuary, that includes you! We have vegetarian, vegan and plant-based menu options on offer all year round (as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, low carb and paleo selections) but for January 2018,  here’s a couple of extra new things to try.


Our Veganuary options include:

  • Tofu Scramble: tofu scrambled with your choice of tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and spring onions
  • Porridge made with almond milk and served with fresh berries and maple syrup
  • Avocado on sourdough toast
  • A signature ‘Sunflowers’ parfait made with coconut or vanilla soya yoghurt, gluten-free oats, home-made fruit compote, topped with fresh berries and mint
  • The ‘Sunflowers’ Smoothie: banana, almond milk, cinnamon and mixed berries
Tal and mini parfaits
The ‘Sunflowers’ signature parfait – now available as dairy-free

Our regular vegan-friendly menu items are also always available – baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach in any combination you like, as well as cereals served with your choice of plant milks, dishes of fresh fruit or fruit compote and coconut or vanilla soya yoghurt.


We cook with olive or coconut oils and unsweetened almond and soya milks are available for breakfast and in the guest fridge as standard, year round. And we’ll replace the biscuits on the amenity tray in the bedrooms with vegan-friendly treats, too.

For more on Veganuary, please see their website and to book your vegan-friendly stay with us, please see our booking calendar – don’t forget to let us know that you’d like to try out the limited edition Veganuary menu when you book!

Christmas present idea – ‘Sunflowers’ B&B in Gillingham, Dorset gift certificates are now available!

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

gift_vouchers_main.jpgLooking for an easy gift and a way to share our famous hospitality, great breakfasts and a taste of Dorset with someone this Christmas?

‘Sunflowers’ gift vouchers are now available, in multiples of £25. Each gift certificate is personally designed for the recipient and can feature their name,  the occasion or celebration and can show the value of the gift or be left blank (eg:”This certificate entitles you to a one night stay at ‘Sunflowers’ Bed & Breakfast Dorset, to include two Special Breakfasts and Use of the Hot Tub”) – feel free to ask us to personalise it with whatever you like – perhaps add on a stay for their dog too,  or a complimentary bottle of Prosecco?


Just email or call us with your request – payment can be made by credit/debit card, PayPal or BACS. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


Gift certificates are supplied via an emailed PDF within 48 hours of receipt of the order and payment.

Come and celebrate New Year’s Eve 2017 at Sunflowers Bed and Breakfast in Gillingham, Dorset

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

wp-1480616391114.jpgChristmas is coming … and so is New Year’s Eve! We still have some rooms available,  so why not plan to see in 2018 in style here in Gillingham, Dorset?

We were fully booked for New Year’s Eve 2016, so don’t miss out in 2017 – book online today and you will enjoy a two night package which includes:

  • A welcome cocktail* upon arrival
  • Early check in: from 2.00pm
  • Your choice of one of our two lovely double en-suite rooms
  • Access to the undercover, candle-lit hot tub, complete with legendary floating drinks tray!
  • Fluffy robes and pool towels
  • Complimentary Prosecco* on New Year’s Eve
  • Upgraded breakfast options on New Year’s Day – choose from the Full Dorset or one of our famous Specials
  • Served with Buck’s Fizz* made with freshly squeezed orange juice.
Happy New Year!

Click here to book and we look forward to meeting you in December!

The small print:

> This package is only available to guests who book directly with us via our website. It is not available through any other channel.

 > The package applies to a booking across a minimum of two nights, one to be 31st December 2017.

 > Non-alcoholic beverage options are available upon request in exchange for all items marked *

> Bookings are final and non-refundable in the event of a cancellation, unless we are able to re-sell the room, in which case our standard cancellation policy will apply.




Recipe share: home made mixed berry compote – as served for breakfast at Sunflowers BnB, Gillingham, Dorset

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

Sunflowers fruit and yoghurt breakfast parfait

This home made fruit compote recipe is so versatile! I like to use it (as shown here) as one of the layers in my signature ‘Sunflowers’ breakfast parfait; it also pairs beautifully in a breakfast bowl with Dorset’s answer to Greek yoghurt from The Dorset Dairy Company – or you could try a spoonful on your porridge.  I’m sure it counts as one of your five a day too, and it can be made sugar-free – so why not make yourself a batch to try?



For a portion with two good servings:

2 cups of fresh or frozen mixed berries
2 tablespoons Stevia (or golden granulated sugar, if you prefer, to taste)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add all the ingredients to a medium sized saucepan; stir and then bring to the boil.

Allow to simmer for around 20 minutes.

Home made mixed berry compote

Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and then, depending on how thick you’d like the compote to be, either: press through a seive (this creates a very smooth compote, good for use in desserts, drizzling over ice cream and so on) OR use a stick blender to whizz the fruit to your desired consistency OR do as I do and gently press with a potato masher – this means that you can control the consistency and thus leave a mixture of whole and pureed fruit pieces.



(This is just one of many delicious breakfast options – remember that we’re currently running a special offer: just use the discount code WINTER when you book online and you can treat yourself to your choice of breakfast upgrades during your November or December 2017 stay with us.)