Keep Calm and book your BnB stay in Gillingham, Dorset – DIRECT!

wp-1525800224426..jpg

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

|| Last week it was National Book Direct Day here in the UK – a campaign urging us all to book and buy goods and services directly from the original provider, rather than through a third party. Going direct saves money, supports small businesses and gives you a more personal service.

I saw something on Twitter along the lines of “Nobody at [a big chain hotel] ever went “Yay!” when they get a new booking, but the owner of a small B&B always celebrates!” and it’s so true – I’m always delighted to see new guests pop up in my #bookdirect in-box.

So, why book your B&B stay here directly with us rather than via a third party? Let us count the ways.

By booking directly and supporting a small business, we’re able to pass some significant benefits and offers back to you – we call these our Website Exclusives and they include:

  • The very best prices: you will always pay the lowest available price for your room and breakfast when you book directly with us through our website
  • Discounts and promotional codes are available through our Special Offers page
  • A wide range of online extras, packages and services to add to your booking: how about early check-in, late check-out, or use of the hot tub?
  • A complimentary welcome drink upon arrival
  • Delicious cooked to order breakfasts, with a wide choice of options, upgrades and Specials
  • 20171211_093248.jpg
    Avocado Toast (v)

    (And if you’re vegan/plant-based, please request a free PDF copy of our vegan breakfast menu when you book)

  • Free luggage storage
  • Fluffy robes
  • Your choice of bedrooms: Church View, Blackmore Vale View or Garden View
  • Discounts when booking Room Three (Blackmore Vale View) for single occupancy and
  • Multi-night discounts on Room Two (Garden View) for Sunday to Thursday stays
  • Complimentary walking maps and routes available in your room upon request or ask us for our free PDF of eight local walking routes when you book
  • A list of suggested pubs and restaurants (free PDF)
  • Walking/driving directions – how to find us (free PDF)
  • Delicious Dorset snacks menu available (free PDF)
  • Complimentary dog treats and a special offer code for dog owners

We look forward to meeting you soon.

 

Let’s do brunch! New ‘weekend’ menu available in Gillingham, Dorset

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

|| Who doesn’t love a bit of brunch at the weekend? I  love checking new brunch spots and dishes wherever I am and our newly launched ‘weekend’ brunch menu reflects some of our favourites, as well as some new ideas.

(We first tried out the Parmesan French Toast as an Easter Weekend special and it proved to be so popular that we’ve decided it’s earned a place on the regular menu!)

wp-1522766946544..jpg
Parmesan French Toast, Spoilt Pig bacon, roasted tomatoes

Brunch items are available from 8.30am onwards on Saturdays, Sundays, Bank Holiday Mondays and by request if you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other event.

And also … fancy a lazy morning on the day you check out? Enjoy two Brunch items and a late check out (to 12 noon) for just £20.00.  Please ask!

WeekendBrunch_Logo_6.15
Let’s do brunch!

Our current Brunch suggestions are:

Toasted Waffles with a Berry Compote, Maple Syrup and Lemon Cream

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and your choice of either Toast or a Toasted Muffin

Parmesan French Toast with a side order of Bacon or Veggie Sausages

Build Your Own Benedict – Eggs Benedict how you like it: combine a Toasted Muffin, two Poached Eggs and your choice from Wilted Spinach, Hollandaise Sauce and either Bacon or Smoked Salmon

 Breakfast in a Mushroom – a Portobello Mushroom stuffed with Pancetta and served with creamy Cheese and Chive Scrambled Eggs and Roast Tomatoes (request it without the pancetta for a vegetarian option)

Mushroom, Halloumi Cheese and Tomato Stack – served on a Toasted Muffin (vegetarian)

We look forward to meeting you and cooking brunch for you soon!

 

GillFest 2018 tickets now available – Ralph McTell, Arthur Smith, Ren Harvieu and many more come to Gillingham, Dorset

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

|| Tickets for GillFest 2018, Gillingham’s wonderful community festival, are now available via their website (complete with multi ticket discounts) and this year’s line up is as amazingly eclectic as ever.

IMG_20180424_163922_573.jpg
GillFest 2018 – part of the line up

Headline artists include folk legend Ralph McTell, comedian Arthur Smith and singer/songwriter Ren Harvieu, all of whom will be performing in one of Gillingham’s small, intimate venues (spoiler alert: and all of which are a Very Easy Walk from a particularly well located B&B …)

Last year’s line up included Rick Wakeman and Cara Dillon; we had guests staying with us for both of these gigs and in each case,  the guest managed to get to chat to the musicians afterwards and get photographs and autographs. So if you ARE a fan,  GillFest provides an amazing opportunity to enjoy a really intimate, friendly show with performers who appreciate the chance to play in a small venue.

GillFest runs from 29th June to 8th July 2018 and the full programme of events plus a secure online ticket buying link is available through their website.

Don’t forget to book your tickets and your accommodation … and, as part of our support for the Festival, just mention that you’re coming to stay as part of GillFest and we’ll include a few little extra freebies* in your booking.

(* probably edible, definitely home-made)

Book Now Button

Restaurant review: Tapas night at The Wine Bar, Gillingham, Dorset

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

|| We reviewed our fabulous local restaurant The Wine Bar on here a few months ago and popped back for a return visit last week in order to try out their new Thursday evening tapas menu.

It’s a fixed price meal for two and offers a bottle of Prosecco and six generously portioned dishes (with vegetarian alternatives on some) plus home made bread and dips for £30.00.  Excellent value, absolutely delicious food and, as always, exemplary service from co-owner Sarah and her front of house team. I actually don’t now want to cook on a Thursday evening anymore!

Here’s a couple of captioned photos of what we had, plus the tapas menu.

Additionally,  the main menu has also been refreshed – I need to go back soon and try the pan fried hake with Thai green curry and tempura prawns!

As a reminder, The Wine Bar is based on Queen Street, an easy walk from ‘Sunflowers’, and is open for lunch and dinner (closed on Mondays). They do 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.

We’re always happy to send our guests there and to include The Wine Bar in our list of suggested local eating spots. A copy of the main menu, the tapas menu and walking directions on how to find the restaurant may be found in our in-room folders – please ask us to book you a table when you make your reservation with us if that would be helpful.

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
Gillingham
Dorset
SP8 4DZ

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

Recipe share: home made traditional Irish brown soda bread – a delicious part of your bed and breakfast stay in Dorset!

Book your Dorset bed and breakfast stay 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.


Enjoy a little taste of Ireland here in Dorset with this traditional Irish recipe for home-made brown soda bread – as taught to me at the Dingle Cookery School in Co. Kerry last year when I attended one of their cookery master classes.

Don’t forget to request it when you book so that I can bake a fresh loaf for you!

Ingredients

300g brown/wholemeal flour
200g plain white flour
80g porridge oats/oatmeal (separated into 70g and 10g)
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda, sieved
A generous pinch of salt
300 – 400 ml buttermilk (the exact amount will vary, dependent on the dryness of your ingredients and the humidity in the air. I know this sounds crazy but it’s true; I need more buttermilk when I bake this bread in Dorset than I do in Ireland, where the climate is damper!)

Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C/180 fan
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, reserving 10g of the porridge oats.
  • Using a wooden spoon, add the buttermilk until the mixture sticks together in a stiff porridge consistency.
  • Turn out onto a floured tray and shape into a flat, circular loaf around 3″ deep and 8″ across. Use the handle of the wooden spoon to make the traditional cross in the top. Sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal.
  • Alternative baking shape: use a 2lb loaf tin (this will require additional cooking time)
  • Bake for c. 30 minutes. Check that the bread is cooked by putting a skewer into the centre of the loaf and if it comes out dry, the bread is done. If wet, the loaf needs a few more minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack – although the bread is delicious when warm, let it cool down a bit or else it will crumble when sliced.
  • ENJOY!

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.

IMG_20180208_153540_291.jpg
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.

wp-1485436539771.jpg
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!

wp-1484845513936.jpg
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!)
IMG_20170403_140136_630
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:

  • wp-image--863654327
    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 the motorcycle MotoCorsa dealership, 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.
  • wp-image--1798669778
    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.
  • 20180123_113143.jpg
    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 MotoCorsa was done in order to preserve and secure their habitat.

Café Newt at
MotoCorsa
The Old Brewery
Wyke Road
Gillingham
Dorset
SP8 4NW

Tel: 01747 811 196

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday
9.00 am – 4.30 pm

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!

wp-1514925792743..jpg
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!