The modern B&B

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

the old B&B seaside type with a card stuck in the window is largely outdated today

I ask this question partly because today is National B&B Day. In a week where we have celebrated (I use the word advisedly as we certainly haven’t in our household!) International Happiness Day, Melba Toast Day, Puppy Day and Tea for Two Day, does a celebration of B&B’s warrant any interest?

In fairness to the other “days” being celebrated this week surely B&B’s deserve their moment of fame. The B&Bs of between the wars and into the 1950’s and 1960’s have been largely left in the past. Gone are the dragons who ran them as almost a private fiefdom where you breakfasted when told, took a bath at appointed times and a shilling for the gas was an essential part of a holiday. Whether it was ever really like this I don’t know as I don’t ever remember staying in a B&B when I was small. When we had a holiday it was a caravan at Brean in Somerset. It was only much later in the seventies that I stayed in my first B&B and it was nothing like the description I had given. Big breakfasts and a comfortable room was what I remember but the bathroom was down the hall.

Peter and Mary’s Tudor House B&B in Elham – a world away from the old ideas of what a B&B was like

Today rooms are likely to be en-suite and the quality of the service better than many hotels. One B&B owner with whom I stayed in Pembrokeshire  a few years ago even collected me from the airport. In the US and Canada B&B’s are generally upmarket. We aren’t quite at that level in the UK but the changes have been enormous. Out of the 22,000 plus B&B’s in the UK few are like those horror stories that comedians used to tell about their theatrical digs – B&B’s. Which is just as well.

Today, B&B’s are still an integral part of tourism and the changes brought about will probably ensure they remain so for some time to come.

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