Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Friday 13 September 2013

Busman’s Holiday

I’m never quite sure whether I should write about the Landmark Trust. I love it, but I’m always a little fearful that if I talk about it too glowingly other people will take an interest and learn to love it too, and then our opportunities to enjoy the benefits that the Trust offers will be limited... And that would never do.

On the other hand, when I find something I love, it’s pretty tough not to shout about it.

The husband and I don’t really do holidays. There isn’t time. We spend, and by ‘we’, I mostly mean the husband... We spend quite a lot of weekends every year at various events, living out of suitcases in what I think of as reps hotels.

I’m not a huge fan of the cheap, big chain hotels. I’m not a fan of the sort of places that have all hard or wipe down surfaces in their rooms. It’s too much of an invitation for all human life to do all the things that human life is likely to do there, and it rather puts me off. Think about it, even if a hotel room is only occupied 200 nights a year, and even if it’s only single occupancy for half of that time, 300 people have still slept in that bed for every year the hotel has been open. Now think about how many times the mattress is changed, how many times the loo has been flushed, and how thoroughly those surfaces have been wiped down. I know... It’s not the best feeling in the World, is it?

We go to signings and conventions for the people. There’s never really a good reason to stay in a cheap hotel, and expensive hotels can be fun, but they’re BLOODY expensive, and we’re still only talking about one room, even if it is swanky.

I bloody love the Landmark Trust.

A couple of times a year, the husband and I pick a gorgeous little building, and sometimes they’re not actually all that little, and we spend a few days living in it, either a short week or a long weekend. We work and we potter about, and we cook in the well-appointed kitchens, and we live, for a little while, like kings.

It’s a real treat to live as well somewhere utterly wonderful as we do at home without the inconvenience or expense of staying in a grand hotel, except with lots of space, privacy and the added romance of living in a place that we couldn’t ever buy.

the hall house at Peasenhall
View of the great hall at New Inn
This week we lived and worked in the New Inn at Peasenhall. It’s a Hall House, dating back six or seven hundred years. The hall is now a large living space, with kitchen, utility, bathrooms and bedrooms at either end. It sleeps eight, so was very generously proportioned for the three of us. (We brought the dort).

This Landmark, like the rest, had no landline or TV, but, unlike some we’ve stayed in, it did have a good mobile phone signal, and I was able to pick up my BT hotspot for the web. Some of the Landmarks we’ve stayed in are very isolated. This one sits in a very pretty Suffolk village, and we used the very good local butcher, grocer and deli to fill the fridge with lovely things to eat and cook during our stay.

looking up into the ceiling of our bedroom
And what a wonderful, peaceful stay we have had. It couldn’t have been nicer. It has passed too quickly, of course, because they always do, but just as soon as I get home, I’m getting back on the Landmark Trust’s website to choose our next historic house to stay in for a little while.

There are over 190 Landmark Trust holiday homes, including some in France, Italy, Lundy and the Channel Islands, if holidaying in the UK isn’t glamorous enough for you. Some of the properties are so tiny that they offer perfect romantic getaways for couples, and others are so vast that entire families or large groups of friends can club together for group outings and celebrations.

The husband and I tend to choose houses that are too big for the two of us, but we do like a lot of space, and there are no minimums, although overcrowding isn’t allowed.

If you like old buildings and new adventures, and you’re looking for a new way to holiday, the Landmark Trust has a lot to offer. You might have to wait a year or even longer for your very favourite building, but, who knows, you might just get lucky and find something on the late availability list that’s right up your street, just so long as you don’t want to book the same house that we choose, because I was here first!

Seriously, take a look, and happy hunting.

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