I always find that the best places to stay are the ones where you feel most at home and from the moment we walked through the doors of Breedon Hall it was like we were family friends.
We’d chosen the B&B in Breedon on the Hill, Derby, as the place to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We’d selected it on the basis that it provided a good halfway point between my parents’ home in Scarborough, which we’d just visited, and our place in Reading; as well as the fact that it looked like it would provide a little luxury. We’d also been searching for a place where we could slow down and relax for a couple of days, rather than run around like mad things trying to cram in all of the nearby attractions, which is what usually happens when we’re on short trips.
And as soon as we arrived I knew we had found the right place. Our host Charlotte welcomed us with the exuberant greetings of someone who loves having guests, before simultaneously offering us tea in the garden and showing us to The Belvoir Room.
After discarding our bags in the beautiful room, grabbing the all-important Instagram shot and resisting the temptation to throw myself face down on the extremely comfortable-looking bed; we headed out into the walled garden for tea and biscuits. Despite the fact that the previous few days had been chilly, it proved to be the perfect suntrap and we easily slipped into the relaxed mindset we’d been hoping for while Charlotte booked us into the pub over the road for dinner.
Meanwhile Charlotte’s husband Charles joined us and the other guests and explained to us that the grade-II listed hall had most-recently been used as an office building. The couple had then spent two-and-a-half years transforming it back into a home. And Breedon Hall really does feel just like staying at somebody’s house. Their children bob in and out of the main living rooms and the family dog Bullet sits and patiently watches his beloved tennis balls – despite the fact he never actually drops them in front of anyone to throw. We loved the relaxed nature of the place; the fact that we could come and go as we pleased, eat when we wanted and there was always someone around for a chat.
Our room was gorgeous, with the comfiest bed and his and hers sinks in the bathroom – which I would totally love at home. Although I may have to persuade Mr A to take me back another time so we can try out The Quorn Room which we spied as we were checking out.
On our first evening there we ate at The Three Horseshoes pub just over the road, which had a lovely menu and also doubles up as a chocolate shop for any sweet-toothed visitors.
Breakfast at Breedon Hall was served in the dining room on the first morning and the kitchen on the second. In both rooms it’s family-style dining which allows you to get to know your fellow diners (most of ours were biking enthusiasts as the racing was going on at nearby Donington Park). As a naturally chatty person this was perfect for me and on the morning of our anniversary it was lovely to get talking to a couple who had got married the night before.
For our second night, which was a Sunday, we decided to eat at the hall, as both of the pubs in the village are closed. There are two options for eating at the venue. The first is the ‘kitchen dinner’ which offers an informal set menu, eaten with other guests at, as the name suggests, the kitchen table. The second is in the dining room, which Mr A booked for us as a surprise for our anniversary and we were totally spoilt with a five-course meal. The food was absolutely delicious, a reflection of Charlotte’s cordon bleu training, and we crept up to bed very happy, and full, guests.
What I loved most about our stay at Breedon Hall is that it felt like you were staying at a friend’s house. Charles and Charlotte were incredibly relaxed about mealtimes and check out and were so friendly and helpful. It’s honestly the most relaxed I’ve ever felt in a B&B.
After a busy few months it was exactly the way we wanted to celebrate our anniversary, at a chilled out venue where we were still made to feel special.
Breedon Hall also offers self-catering accommodation in the Meynell Mews. For more information visit www.breedonhall.co.uk
Where’s your favourite place for a weekend break?