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on 11 October 2006
Having recently discovered Alastair Sawday, I have resolved not to look at hotels again unless absolutely necessary. This guide to British Bed & Breakfast lists hundreds of personally run places with a heart. I've already stayed at a few of them, and they live up to the descriptions in the guide. The places I've stayed at are often more stylish than hotels, although they might not always conform to conventional norms, but the most important thing is that they are real homes. When you visit these intimate places, you don't have to wait at a reception desk to register, but are always greeted by the owners (and sometimes by their pets) and helped to carry your bags into your room. There is often some welcoming tea and home-made scones, and a friendly chat with the owners in front of a fire (if the weather is unfavourable), or in the garden in sunny weather. Food is usually served en famille at a communal table, often in an open-plan kitchen with an Aga. These places make you feel a real person again. If you are on your own, you will feel relaxed, and will be sure to get some assistance in planning the day ahead, with maps for walks or cycling, or recommendations of restaurants or pubs or interesting places to visit.

Yet again, it is difficult to generalise. Lots of these B&B's haven't been rated by tourist boards, and don't follow a strict formula. They might be period houses, working farms, cottages, manors - but then the entry on each one tells you all you need to get a clear picture of what a place is like. This book is different from all the others in that descriptions are succinct and individual, and create a clear image in one's mind without all those clichés one finds in most guides. (I would here make an exception of THE GOOD HOTEL GUIDE, which is another book I like - but then that tends to cater for people who are looking for something a bit more up-market.) There are also pictures, and the guide has a website on which there are additional pictures.

Once hooked on Alastair Sawday, you'll be a fan for ever and won't look elsewhere. Sawday has guides to accommodation all over the world, including France, Italy, Greece and even India. And there is also a GREEN PLACES TO STAY which has a world-wide coverage. That is another reason why I like Sawday's guides. They are based on a vision of environmentally friendly tourism. Many of the B&B's included in his guide offer local and organic food and follow green policies. Also, in view of globalisation and global warning, it's high time that we should seek tourism which is less damaging to the environment than long-haul trips. We should look at our feet. Instead of Gran Canaria, think Wales. Instead of Ibiza, go to Scotland. And there is the Lake District, Cornwall, Norfolk, and even London - yes, I've already found lovely places in London which are affordable, and offer wonderful accommodation in real homes. Usually, these places don't have B&B signs outside. You would never know about them unless you bought Alastair Sawday's guide. I really can't think of a bad word to say about this book. Sorry.
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on 23 December 2004
This book is a breath of fresh air amongst the many B&B listings on the market. Rather than focus on whether establishments have the requisite number of facilities to qualify for a certain grading, the emphasis is on the friendliness of the hosts, the comfort of the beds, the tastiness of the breakfast or the quality of the views... If you are genuinely looking for a 'special' place to stay then you need look no further than here. We have recently had wonderful stays at smart, comfortable places in Devon and Bath thanks to the recommendations of Mr Sawday and his team.
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on 13 November 2015
Great book and we have the French one too. Clear venue descriptions and full of interesting facts. (Perhaps more info on Car Parking would help.)Great present for someone for Christmas if they like a night or two away from home.
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on 19 July 2017
An invaluable guide
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on 20 April 2016
It is always good to receive the latest Alistair's Sawday's latest B & B book. We have just returned from spending a few days at two of his recommended B & B and we were not disappointed.
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on 9 January 2016
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on 30 November 2005
I have used British Bed and Breakfast several times and have never been disappointed. If I had the time and the money, I'd visit a different place every weekend! The descriptions in the book have always proved accurate, and the hosts friendly but not intrusive. I've recommended it to several friends and they too have been delighted.
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on 11 October 2006
We often use Alistair Sawday's British bed and Breakfast and others in the series and swear by them. We have never been disappointed. The reviews are accurate and all the places really are Special with a capital S! The rooms are always beautiful and the breakfasts are to be relished. What's more all the places seem to be very reasonably and fairly priced. The French Bed and Breakfast is also excellent
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on 22 November 2006
We have used Alastair Sawdays books for a few years now, after staying in one of the recommended farms by sheer luck and found a copy of the book there.

Having purchased later editions, I must now admit that when we plan a UK break of any kind, we use this book as our first guide. This year we even changed location of two weekends away as the accomodation in the area we first wanted to stay in was already booked, so we chose another area and went there instead.

Books of other countries are in a similar format and again are excellent.

The books are accurate, in easy detailed quick reference sections of type, location, singles, wheelchairs etc., etc., and even an index for those on a budget. They ensure wonderful food and excellent hosts that seem like friends you are visiting rather than someone running a business.

An excellent investment, and are even great as a jolly good read.
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on 10 October 2007
If you prefer to stay somewhere with a great breakfast/ decent view/ unusual decor/ classy service/ more charm in general rather than in the cheapest or the most convenient place in town then this is an essential guide. Its not just that these guides have never let me down on any choice I've made from them, but that they have usually surpassed my expectations. They also make it dead easy to find your perfect destination, en route or off track.
Furthermore their interest and knowledge in ethical/ sustainable/ organic options is, I think, fairly unique.
All the Sawday guides are brilliant but this revised version gives one of the most popular (I think) a bit of a facelift.. and some extra places for those of us who've scoured the website and the previous guide already!
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