Phil, the DH, and I needed a weekend away. It was May, he had a long weekend off work as it was the Bank Holiday weekend and of course everywhere I wanted to stay at was booked. Despairing of not finding a bolthole to escape to, I trawled all the Facebook pages of B&B I had liked for inspiration.
Hopton House had a last minute cancellation and I clicked and booked before anyone else had a chance.
Karen, the proprietor, runs a B&B Academy for those thinking about setting up their own B&B. I knew I had managed to secure a gem of a place to stay.
Located in a rural setting just a short drive from Ludlow, it was near enough from Birmingham to drive there on the Friday night so that we could enjoy two full days unwinding.
Weekend destinations, in my opinion, need to be near enough to get to in under 90 minutes, but far enough to know that you have escaped the city. The journey to Ludlow is an enjoyable drive, especially over Clee Hill where you are treated to stunning views.
There are a number of evening dining options nearby however we chose to pre book a ploughman’s supper so that once we got there we could completely relax in our room.
Indeed the next evening we decided to have another picnic supper to savour the best that the Ludlow Food Centre could give and Karen thoughtfully provided butter, plates and cutlery.
The thoughtful extras at Hopton House,such as home baked shortbread and lemon drizzle cake, in your room with a selection of teas on offer and a silent fridge to keep your wine and cheese in, is what makes this B&B special.
Hopton House is possibly the best B&B I have ever stayed at. The quality of the finish of the rooms, the comfort of the beds, the amazing breakfast with home baked bread, freshly made hollandaise sauce and perfect poached eggs from the chooks roaming the garden, all contributed to a relaxing break.
The location is perfect too. Very peaceful yet within easy reach of Ludlow and a number of National Trust properties.
On Saturday, our original plan had been to visit Powis Castle as Karen had said this was her favourite place to visit. Due to a road closure, we couldn’t get there without a huge detour, so we made a U turn and headed into Ludlow.
Ludlow is a traditional market town that to a large extent remains unchanged from when it was built. Yes the big supermarkets have infringed on the outskirts but Ludlow fought back with the Ludlow Food Centre, showcasing the best of locally produced food. We called on a day of a food festival and the place was incredibly busy. It also goes to show that despite the Tesconisation of the country town, quality, locally produced food is still very much in demand.
In the town there are plenty of cafes, at all price points, bakeries, gift shops, and in a back alleyway we found a music shop selling vinyl.
There is also the best hardware store in the world.
Four Candles anyone?
We then visited Croft Castle a short drive from Ludlow and spent most of our visit debating whether we had been there before. We decided we had but possibly over 30 years ago which is why we had the debate. Not only have we been to bed since then we have had two children, moved house six times and had over twenty jobs and five redundancies between us.
Despite the senior moments, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
We also managed to squeeze in a visit to Hopton Castle just a few miles up the road from Hopton House.
After a long and enjoyable day exploring, we dived into the food loveliness from Ludlow.
After another beautiful, filling breakfast on Sunday morning we headed toward Clun and The Green Man Festival. Our friends from Birmingham were dancing there.
Clun is a place we used to stop off at on the way to family holidays in Wales. It is perhaps 45 years since I was last there. I remembered the river, the bridge and not much else although the public toilets looked familiar. I can see why my aunt chose Clun to break a journey. Toilets and a place to stretch our legs, the essential sanity break.
Our family holidays were epic in that there would be at least three generations, a minimum of eight children and five dogs all piled into mini buses and Land Rovers. My aunt would hire huge houses in Tenby or three caravans at Poppit Sands. Wales sighed a relief and put back up the vacancy signs when they heard that the Goughs and the Johnsons were going to Devon instead.
Clun is tiny, one road in and one road out, and those roads are narrow. We climbed up above the town to the castle.
Old shops selling vintage, new shops selling high end crafts, pub, some closed up and others thriving, it is rather a lovely place to linger awhile.
As the stall holders began to set up the village was buzzing.
The animal man was possibly the biggest hit of the day, with children and adults alike.
Although we were there to support our friends who dance with the Jockey Men’s Morris.
Shropshire and the Welsh Borders are so close to Birmingham, both are easily a day trip away. However, if you can make it a weekend break, do and stay if you can at Hopton House.
Disclosure: I paid full price to stay at Hopton House and have not been paid or asked to write this post.