This is quite simply the place you need to try to stay in the northwest if you’re after a unique and historic B&B experience. Make no mistake—this is not a hotel, and Temple House is not full of five-star extras—but for historical authenticity, beautiful surroundings, and sheer, unforgettable charm, we think it’s unbeatable. The delightful young custodians of the estate, Roderick and Helena Perceval, are now more than a decade into their painstaking restoration of the 1665 manor house. Once a thriving country estate, it had fallen slowly into near-ruin during the turbulent years of the 20th century. (When we first stayed, the 18th-century silk curtains in one room, now fully restored, would literally crumble to the touch). Now the huge guest rooms are packed with interesting antiques, but have completely modern, recently renovated bathrooms. Nightly dinners are more akin to parties, with all guests seated around an enormous old table enjoying outstanding food. Breakfasts hit the spot too, with plenty of homemade treats. The beautiful grounds include a boating lake, a walled garden, and even a ruined Knights Templar castle—hence the name. Supposedly there are a couple of resident ghosts roaming around, although they must be of a very Bacchanalian kind, with such a welcoming and convivial atmosphere as this. There is also a self-catering cottage on the grounds.
- Jack Jewers