When you’re looking for somewhere to stay in England, don’t just think hotels, or even bed-and-breakfasts. I recently stayed at a conference center when there was no conference going on, and it was an excellent, budget option. It was part of CCT who have three venues dotted around south England, all of them close to places you probably want to visit.
1) Belsey Bridge, Ditchingham, East Anglia
Attached to a convent, this place is out in a gorgeous countryside with lane-ways for walks past farmland and historic churches. It’s not far from the Norfolk Broads, or from the Suffolk coastline. The nearest village is Bungay, which is one of those lovely proper English villages full of churches and pubs and not full of the chain-stores which have taken over so many British towns. You definitely need a car to stay here though.
When I stayed at Belsey Bridge, there were seven of us in a place that can house over 80 people and yet the friendly staff still made us a cooked breakfast every morning. This is bed and breakfast accommodation without feeling like you’re intruding in someone’s home. There was even a little shop, run on an honesty system. You’ve got to love that.
2) The Hayes, Swanwick, Derbyshire
This is a gorgeous part of England and many people come to visit Chatsworth, with the country’s best known historic houses and gardens. Very close by, in the Amber Valley, is the Midland Railway Center which would keep any rail enthusiast happy. You can also catch historic trams around the Derwent Valley.
3) High Leigh, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire
Only 30 minutes outside of London and close to the Lee Valley Park which is where many Olympic Events will be held. Lee Valley is also well-known for its fishing ponds, boating, cycling etc.