When you go to the home page of the Wolsey Lodges website (www.wolseylodges.com) the first image you see is a table laid out with tea, scones, cream, jam and strawberries.
Traditional British hospitality is a key feature of the private homes that form the Wolsey Lodges network. But tradition doesn’t mean old-fashioned. Guests stay in unusual and beautiful homes, and each is unique. You are welcomed by the hosts as guests in their own homes. Wolsey Lodges have a well-earned reputation for luxury accommodation and warm hospitality – just what today’s discerning visitors are seeking.
We tested this reputation by visiting three homes in the beautiful Dorset countryside – easily accessible from the capital so an ideal destination for a weekend (or longer) visit.
Our first stop was Manor Barn at Child Okeford near Blandform Forum. With a spectacular view of the dramatic Hambledon Hill with its prehistoric fort, the accommodation is in a renovated barn, with its own private entrance, that is attached to the main house – a beautiful old red brick and stone building. There are two luxurious, beautifully furnished, oak-beamed en-suite bedrooms and a sumptuously appointed private sitting room and private dining area.
We were welcomed by the wonderful Cari Sorby, the epitome of a professional, modern-day Wolsey Lodge owner and host. She manages the bed and breakfast – together with her own house, husband Peter, two teenage boys and three dogs – on her own with serene and quiet efficiency.
By prior arrangement Cari provided dinner – and, boy, can she cook! Manor Barn was recently awarded a 5-star Gold Award by Quality in Tourism, and the food was of the highest quality too. After a peaceful night’s sleep and an invigorating early-morning walk in the picturesque village we enjoyed a splendid full English breakfast (other delicious menu options were available) that featured local produce and home-made jams.
We could have stayed the whole weekend, but to sample another Wolsey Lodge we moved on to the historic country town of Sherborne, and Tudor Lodge, where we met the elegant and charming owners, Pam and Colin Rae.
Tudor Lodge is possibly best described as a more conventional Wolsey Lodge home. The centrally-located Victorian house, which is quiet and comfortable, is decorated with fine fabrics and furniture. But while there is an element of formality, relaxing in these delightful surroundings is extremely easy – thanks to Pam and Colin, who are both totally captivating.
Keen gardeners (and bridge players), they enjoy making their guests feel welcome and very much at home. We enjoyed a splendid late afternoon tea on our arrival and were entertained royally by our hosts, who have been with Wolsey Lodges for over 15 years.
The en suite guest rooms, on the first floor, are large, sunny, well-equipped and extremely comfortable. Following a great sleep we awoke to a leisurely and well-prepared breakfast, again in the company of the outgoing owners, before we discovered the stunning Sherborne Abbey and delightful shops and tea rooms of the enchanting town – all within easy walking distance of Tudor Lodge.
On our way back to London we popped into a third Wolsey Lodge, also in Dorset – the Grade II listed Huish Manor at Winterbourne Zelston near Blandford Forum. While this was little more than a flying visit, assisted by a splendid afternoon tea, it enabled us to appreciate the peaceful setting of the Manor, which benefits from a large lawn, walled
garden and adjoining woods and orchard.
A traditional manor house, built in 1792, Huish Manor boasts large, comfortable, light and airy guest rooms, with antique furniture. Each has its own bathroom and there are wonderful views on to the garden at the back or the front lawn. Both the drawing room and dining room, which feature antiques and a fine series of marine paintings, are available for guests’ use.
There are over 150 Wolsey Lodge members across the UK (and even a select few in France), from Victorian country rectories to grand country houses and from restored cottages to Georgian mansions. All offer luxury bed and breakfast accommodation but each is unique, with their own features and attributes. But what makes a stay at a Wolsey Lodge so special are the hosts. They welcome you into their homes, share them with you and offer the very best personal hospitality.
Wolsey Lodge owners share a common goal – to make your stay as comfortable, enjoyable and memorable as possible. If you are looking for truly luxurious bed and breakfast accommodation you are certain to find it at Wolsey Lodges.
www.wolseylodges.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01473 822058