Can you run a B&B when you have a young family?
I was contacted by a prospective B&B owner the other day who wanted to know if it’s sensible/possible to run a B&B when you have a young family.
My daughter, Jess, was 12 when I opened our B&B so it wasn’t a question that I could answer from personal experience. But, thanks to the magic of social media, I knew someone who would be happy to answer that question.
Sarah of Fern Dell B&B in Shrewsbury has a young family with 3 children and manages to combine looking after a family with running a successful B&B. I asked Sarah if she would mind writing a blog post for me and here it is. Thank you Sarah.
Blog post. Running a B&B with Small Children at Ferndell B&B
I would like to thank Karen for asking me to write a piece for her B&B blog. I have done so in the past, that was for my Chocolate Cake Recipe you may remember. But this one is not food related sorry.
Hello I’m Sarah, I opened my B&B in Shrewsbury just over 7 years ago. I had a new born baby boy and 2 daughters 5yrs & 10yrs at the time. When I say new born I really mean new born. My son was born on June 29th. I did have to check my 2007 diary in case I was exaggerating to confirm that I had guests 3 days later.
My home is a large Victorian house spread over 3 floors. There is a cellar, also my husband’s workshop is down there, it’s a good icebreaker when guest arrive and he peeps up from underground.
My daughters are on the top floor with their own bedrooms, bathroom and landing, so away from the guests and my son’s room is across the landing from our room in between the 2 guest bedrooms.
People often ask me “aren’t your worried about having strangers in your home with your children around”, but I like to take people as I find them and, to be honest, most people are just like you and me..nice happy people. They have chosen a family home for their night away as a change to a hotel. I have to admit I do sleep with one ear open so I am aware if a door opens or a stair creaks but, having said, that I’m not up all night worrying.
My Charlie is 7 now and over the years guests have fed him his bottle while I’ve prepared breakfast. Dads, granddads etc. have been on their knees with him at breakfast time playing with his train set. He has sat and played on guests iPads while at the breakfast table with them. But now he’s at school it’s just a quick “good morning” and he’s gone. At a weekend or holidays he sometimes plays Connect 4 with the guests depending what mood he’s in. (he’s 7… he’s a boy)
I make it clear on the homepage of my website that we are a family with young children, and Charlie stars in our video too. If our B&B is not what people are looking for luckily Shrewsbury has lots of lovely Hotels and other B&Bs (without children) to choose from.
Our B&B is very relaxed and not like the normal run of the mill B&B I suppose, in that guests come into our kitchen to have breakfast so can see me cooking around the Aga. I don’t have a separate dining area so, depending on the time of breakfast, the guests can see the children collecting their sandwiches, putting on their cycle helmets coats and whizzing off to school…
The one rule the children abide to is to be quiet of a morning and not shout and run around. Also I’m forever telling them, if they pass a guest on the landing etc. they must always smile and say hello
Bethan my eldest is nearly 18 and is very social and chatty and will let the guests in and offer tea & cake if I’m not around when they arrive. She likes meeting all the different types of people. Mae is 13 now and will make the chocolate cake for me before the guests arrive. She is a little more reserved than Beth, but both like the fact we run a B&B as it enables them to live in a lovely house, and means their mum is around for them more than If I was doing a full time job away from the home and, of course, Charlie doesn’t know any different.
The children still have friends over to stay even when we have guests in. Their friends love it. I often get them to take up the tea & cake to the guests, but big gang sleepovers have to be when we have the house to ourselves.
For me the beauty of running the B&B is there are no rules. This is our home first and the guests are made to feel a part of it, but you can choose to run your B&B entirely differently and that’s fine too.
P.S Should you feel you would like a chat with me at all, do email or phone I’m always happy to talk about the business… which I love