I remember reading a fairly well-known story – fact or fiction is debatable – about two English couples who, whilst travelling around France in 1979, seemed to have experienced a time-slip back to the early 1900s and found themselves staying in a quaint hotel, with old-fashioned staff, guests and furnishings.
And this is exactly how I felt when I visited Brampton Dales Farm in Upton near Gainsborough, to meet Marian and Hugh McDaniel and learn about their recent TripAdvisor Award. For they are celebrating, after their rural B&B was revealed as one of TripAdvisor’s global favourites: It has just been placed in the top 10% of accommodation worldwide and recognised as a 2021 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award winner, which celebrates accommodation providers who ‘consistently deliver fantastic experiences around the globe’.
It quickly became clear why: Nostalgia and hospitality are the watchwords here.
Hugh met me at the farm gate and ushered me into the charming breakfast room, where he proffered fresh coffee, just-baked warm bread rolls and a wide selection of home-made jams, marmalades and jellies. Delicious!
It felt like I had stepped back into the 1940s: A Welsh dresser with plates on display, china cabinets full of tea, coffee and jam pots, dark wood tables and chairs, starched tablecloths, an abundance of cushions and pictures, mismatched vintage china crockery, and Glen Miller playing softly in the background. The wood fire made this parlour really cosy.
The housekeeper looked every inch a ‘Land Girl’ in dungarees and with a headscarf knotted round her hair – she assured me that this was her normal working attire and not a costume. Outside one can still see remnants of the former WWII air base; a Nissen hut, some crumbling brick buildings, bunkers and airfield spotlights.
The guest accommodation comprises five double rooms in converted farm buildings detached from the main house. A sixth is planned for the former piggery! All are furnished in a similar fashion; flamboyant wallpapers, chintz curtains, floral bedding and vintage satin quilts, patterned cushions and rugs… At Brampton Dales more is definitely more.
The farm sits in 26 acres of grassland and. I was introduced to Sweet Pea, the chilled-out Longhorn cow watching over her two-day-old calf, Jonathan the piebald cob and Satty the small grey pony, Ronnie and Reggie, the exuberant sheep bounding around the orchard, some free-range chickens and Puppy and Badger the dogs. Christmas Boy, the turkey, was strutting around, fanning out his tail, clearly very proud that his three ladies are sitting on eggs. All of the animals seemed relaxed, happy, friendly and, of course, ever-hopeful that visitors might spoil them with some food.
Thus Brampton Dales Farm is popular with city-dwellers wanting to escape the everyday and also with overseas visitors seeking a taste of English country life. Many guests return time and time again, reassured in the knowledge that this is a place where time stands still and nothing changes. It is the perfect hideaway for 1940s enthusiasts, Rock ‘n’ Rollers, Rockabillies and is even popular with the Steampunk crowd.
As I drove away, two rabbits hopped along the grass verge of the lane and disappeared through the hedge. I found myself singing instinctively; ‘Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run…’
The vibe had clearly rubbed off on me.
For more details about Brampton Dales Farm, visit: