This converted prison on the small island of Langholmen was home to Stockholm’s most notorious criminals until 1975. It now serves as an inexpensive hotel/hostel where the former cells have been turned into rooms, complete with original doors and small windows (minus the iron bars). Rooms are pretty basic, as you’d expect, but the building itself is impressive and has retained loads of authentic features. It’s absolutely vast, and has a restaurant, bar, cafe and museum. The traditional Swedish breakfast is worth paying extra for but we were disappointed not to see porridge on the menu.
Langholmsmuren 20, Gamla Kronohaktet, Langholmen; nearest station is Hornstull;
Vegetarian/vegan restaurant and tiny guesthouse in the Alpuharas Mountains outside of Granada. After weeks of salad and chips, this vegetarian couldn't get enough of the varied and inventive multicultural fare on offer. Set in a peaceful village, situated in the heart of trekking country, it’s a perfect break in the journey or a place to unwind at the end of the day. Recommended in Rough Guide to Andalucia, but should be more widely known.
Calle Alberca s/n, 18416 Mecina Fondales, La Taha, Granada;
tel: 958857 501;
A pub with rooms and great food. There are 10 en-suite bedrooms with fantastic views across the Cheshire plain. The food is great, popular with walkers along the Sandstone Trail footpaths, so large portions at reasonable prices.
Higher Burwardsley near Beeston and Peckforton castles. Signposted off the Tattenhall-Burwardsley road. Turn by the Post office in Burwardsley village
A reasonably priced (65 euros per day) apartment a stone's throw from the sea. There’s a peaceful fishing villagey atmosphere, but it’s only a 15 minute walk from the Ramblas. A perfect place to stay for a short break in Barcelona.
This card is excellent value for money. You get a discount on hotel rooms plus access to any public transport, to most of the museums and even to some of the boat trips on offer. You don't have to worry about tickets, which makes your stay much more relaxed. The hotels on offer suit any of your needs – ranging from two to five stars.
The Czech Inn is Prague's newest hostel and it is fantastic. Great location (walk or tram to centre) with some very cheap eateries nearby. The staff are superb; welcoming , friendly and very accommodating.
If you think a hostel means grubby beds, grubbier people and grubby amenities then think again. Showerheads the size of dinner plates, crisp white bedlinen, polished wooden floors, an 'all you can eat' buffet breakfast, decent coffee, brilliant bar area, free internet and expert advice all contribute to what makes this place rock. They will also arrange transfers and walks for you.
If you want to stay at an eco-friendly resort that offers cheap, well-designed bungalows and some of the most beautiful views in the province then you should visit Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort. The enchanting gardens, natural spring water swimming pool and all the peace and quiet you’ve ever wanted, combine to make the mountain resort one of my favourite places in Thailand.
A peaceful retreat in a beautiful valley, seemingly untouched by the outside world. Walking, horse riding on the doorstep. The book town of Hay-on-Wye is eight miles away. Yoga and drawing weekends. Great vegetarian breakfasts. Singles £25, doubles £40, ensuite £45, children £10.
Pen-y-Maes, Capel-y-Ffin, Powys
The best thing about staying in the Lakes is waking up to amazing views - and this place doesn't disappoint. All 12 rooms look out across the Troutbeck Valley. The bar is suitably cosy and serves real ales and there are more views from the Garden restaurant. Rooms from £45pp b&b.
Troutbeck, Windermere, Lake District, Cumbria LA23 1PL
The Gladstone is a Georgian town house, simple, elegant and airy. It overlooks the River Dee estuary on one side and the High Street lined with multi coloured houses on the other. The tiny port has art and jazz festivals and The Gladstone does a dollop of haggis with breakfast. The Selkirk Arms, a stagger up the road, was reputedly where Robert Burns drank and wrote.
48 High Street, Kirkcudbright, DG6 4JX;
tel: 01557 331734
This hostel is so unexpectedly swish that you have to stay there once if only to realise that budget accomodation is not as bad as you
think. It's packed full of facilities, including a free all-you-can-eat breakfast, 24 hour reception and a ludicrously cheap,
buzzy bar - and it's only £10 a night. Not bad for a hostel slap bang in the middle of London (between Euston and Kings Cross).
The Generator, Compton Place (off 31 Tavistock Place), London, WC1H 9SE
020 7388 7666 www.generatorhostels.com/london/
Seven simple, elegant rooms with sea views in an 18th-century house which was once a Portuguese embassy. Lots of arty stuff going on downstairs in the arts club, like jazz nights and life-drawing classes. The Frog Fish cafe in the basement serves good local seafood and organic meat.
Accommodation starting at £35pp with the full English and is a great deal.
It is set in a beautiful 17th-century manor house where Bonnie Prince Charlie once slept – though presumably not in the dorms. There are also elegant, great value en suite singles and doubles with wood panelling and beamed ceilings. The gardens are lovely and there’s also a large pavilion. We used it as a base for walking in the Peak District, but it’s also good for kids (Alton Towers is nearby), Chatsworth House and cycling along the disused railway line, which is part of the National Cycle Network. Meals are hearty – perfect after a day in the outdoors. It’s extremely popular so book in advance. From £17.50pp.
Hartington, Buxton, Derbyshire.
0870 770 5848
A cracking B&B on the Antrim coast, it's a couple of hours' drive from Belfast, but it feels like a million miles away. It's an 18th-century country house with only three rooms, exactly the sort of cosy, homely sort of place you want in this part of the world - the landlord actually won the AA Landlady of the Year prize in 2003, and he makes a great fry-up in the morning and serves tea and shortbread in front of the fire when you return from a blustery walk on the beach or the nearby Giant's Causeway. £70, double B&B.
Whitepark Road, Ballintoy, County Antrim.
028 207 31482
Bill Bryson called it ‘an outpost of comfort and graciousness', and it's a fantastic place to escape to: flawless setting (on a bay overlooking the Isle of Skye), fine food (local scallops and the like eaten in the bar sitting on old fish crates), romantic rooms (the master bedroom looks out over the Sound of Sleat to Skye) and a cracking atmosphere (the ebullient landlord sets the tone). Rooms from £89 B&B.
Glenelg, Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross-shire, The Highlands.
A former Co-op building that was converted into a state-of-the-art minimalist hotel in 1995. Lots of light, curves and uncluttered space with white bedrooms and blocks of vivid coloured lighting. Good restaurant and bar. Some rooms have views of the castle. Prices can be as low as £85-95 for a double, depending on availability.
34 Bread Street, Edinburgh 0131-221 5555
OK, it's not that cheap but it could be the best hotel in the UK and things ain't budget in the Isles unless you're camping in the rain or in thrall to midges. The Argyll is right on the Sound of Iona and you can watch the tiny ferry loop round and round from Mull to take you over the waters. The place has its own garden for fresh food and the bellboys can't find the room keys because 'why would ye wannae lock the door anyway?' Big steaks, fresh veg and good desserts. And afterwards take a walk and get lost on this historic scrap of land.
Isle of Iona
(right near the ferry landing)
Tel: 01681 700 334
A listed Georgian town house in this remarkable river town in SW Scotland. The place is immaculate and you are minutes from the magical River Dee and its miniscule working port. The owners do a great haggis breakfast and the drawing room looks out one way to the estuary and the other to the Georgian high street.
48 High Street
01557 331 734
Really snug hotel on the village square in Grantown-on-Spey, about 20 miles from Inverness. It makes a perfect base for exploring the Cairngorms and Monarch of the Glen country. All the rooms have recently been refurbished in a modern boutique style - beige walls and purple throws - but without the boutique prices. From £38pp B&B.
Castle Road, Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire. 01479 872836
Depending on the time of year, prices at the Holiday Inn Express can be as low as £70 a night.
All rooms come with a double bed and fold down sofa, so four of you can cram in (this may involve two of you not technically checking in).
Obviously not a good option for families and people seeking a bit of luxury, but great if you’re looking to spend a cheap weekend on the town in London. The Express on Old Street is particularly well-located near the bars and clubs of Shoreditch.
275 Old Street, EC1V 9LN; tel: 0870 400 9093; nearest Tube: Old Street
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