- a thematic guide to Britain
hostels, B&B & more - the different options
is a good choice of accommodation for visitors to Britain, and also
plenty of good quality accommodation. And there is
accommodation for all budgets and all tastes. Hotels, guest houses,
inns, holiday cottages, hostels, youth hostels and campsites, there is
something for everyone.
hotel prices in Britain
► UK hotel
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Traditionally, the prices
quoted for hotel and other guest
accommodation in Britain are indicated per person per night,
include breakfast. The inclusion of breakfast is one reason why British
hotel prices are often seen to be higher than hotel prices on the
continent. However, international and national branded chains tend to
charge per room per night, as in Europe, and this trend is spreading -
encouraged also by the spread of online booking services.
- apart from breakfast - are not usually included. For guests wanting
to stay in a residential hotel, "full board" is the price including
lunch and dinner; "half board" included an evening meal.
With almost a million rooms on offer, Britain's hotels have something
Click here for hotels in
are four-star or five-star luxury hotels in all British cities,with a
particular concentration in London. London has a wide choice of top
quality centrally-located hotels offering everything from the most
classic luxury, as at Claridges
room in a luxurious classic London hotel
or the Savoy, to contemporary chic at
the Westminster Intercontinental or the Park Lane Four Seasons. In
terms of capacity, there are large luxury hotels that cater for
business conventions and meetings, to intimate small "boutique hotels"
with just a few rooms.
Edinburgh is another city with a
big choice of top quality hotels. But luxury hotels can be found in all
cities, and also in rural areas, notably in country house hotels, that
were formerly manors or stately homes.
Mid range hotels
and three-star hotels make up the largest category of hotels in
Britain; the choice varies from traditional hotels, many of them
independent, to a growing number of modern chain hotels, offering
fairly standardized accommodation, but at often
There has been enormous
growth in recent years of "branded budget hotels", providing
basic accommodation at often unbeatable prices. The biggest chains are
Premier Inn and Travelodge, which have outlets nationwide. In
rural areas, most budget hotels tend to be independent establishments,
and usually quite small; many are old inns or more modern hotels.
Quality varies enormously.
three star guest house
There is supposedly an official definition of "guest houses" in
Britain, as small-scale accommodation in a private house, that is not
licenced to sell alcoholic drinks. But that is more theory than
practice. While many guest houses do correspond to this definition,
there are quite a few guest houses specially up-market guest houses -
which have a bar or a licenced restaurant.
But generally speaking, guest houses are small
establishments with no more than half a dozen rooms, and often with
resident proprietors. Some establishments may describe themselves as
either a guest house or a b&b.
On the whole, for an eqivalent level of quality,
guest houses are cheaper than hotels, though this is not necessarily
the case. Guest houses, or guest accommodation, can be star-rated just
like other forms of accommodation, but many guest houses do not apply
for a rating, on account of the costs involved.
Bed and breakfast -
The B&B sector is
very developed in Britain... which maybe explains why the English
expression B&B is now used in many parts of Europe.
B&Bs can vary from top quality (and top prices) to low-cost and
basic; whether in towns, suburbs, villages or the county, accommodation
that lists itself as "b&b" will normally be provided in a
private house, and generally offer at most six rooms. B&B
accommodation can be a great solution for visitors wanting something a
bit more homely and personal than a hotel.
Some B&Bs, though by no means all, provide
In Britain, the word "hostel" is most often seen in the context of the
expression "youth hostel"; but this is not always the case, specially
in big cities.
The YHA or "Youth Hostel Association" of England was founded
in 1930. By 1950 there were over 300 youth hostels in England
and Wales offering cheap accommodation, mostly rural, to young people.
Accommodation was in dormitories, and visitors were expected to provide
their own sheet sleeping bag, often to cook their own meals, and do
chores before leaving in the morning.
All that has changed, though the image remains
quite well established. Today there are less than 200 youth hostels in
England and Wales, and they are open to all, not just members. They
offer small dormitories or family rooms and provide bed linen - though
guests make their own beds. Many youth hostels are in lovely locations,
and continue to offer low-cost accommodation. Check out
youth hostels in Britain on the YHA site
In London and other cities, there is a choice of privately
run low-cost dormitory-style hostel accommodation. Universities and
colleges may also hire out rooms in their student residences during the
vacation period; however they do this at market rates, and visiting
students should not imagine that short term university residence
accommodation is necessarily going to be cheaper than a hotel.
To find and book hostels in Britain, click here.
and farm stays
These expressions are the normal British equivalents of the term
"gites" as usede in France: cottages are normally hired out on a self
catering basis, farm
stays are quite variable.
Like other forms of accommodation, they are - or
can be - ranked or graded with stars.
and caravan sites
There are thousands of camping and caravan sites in the UK, most of
them catering for tents, mobilehomes and caravans. Around the coast,
there are a large number of static caravan sites with a mix of caravans
for hire and permanently-parked privately-owned caravans.
In popular coastal areas, and near main tourist
attractions, it is essential to book in advance during the peak holiday
period and holiday weekends. At other times, and away from the busiest
holiday areas, advanced booking is not usually needed.