(2 days, starts Saturday)

October 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

B&B Academy on Facebook

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: (#10) To use ‘Page Public Content Access’, your use of this endpoint must be reviewed and approved by Facebook. To submit this ‘Page Public Content Access’ feature for review please read our documentation on reviewable features: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/apps/review.
Type: OAuthException
Code: 10
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.


I get a whole range of people attending the course from those undecided on whether a B&B is for them to others who have already welcomed their first guest. Some are buying existing B&Bs and others are creating a B&B from scratch.

The courses have also become quite international with participants from Germany, Switzerland, Bahamas, Australia, Singapore, Austria, Norway, Denmark. France, Portugal, Nigeria – to name but a few!

Here are just a few of the comments I’ve received after the course by email.

A real eye-opener!

Taking Karen’s B&B Academy course was by far the single most important thing that we did when we embarked on our B&B journey. On our first morning of the course Karen told us that by the end of the weekend we would know if B&B life was for us or not – and she was right! We literally covered everything from bacon to loo roll. We had read books and articles about B&B ownership but nothing came close to giving us the real insight more than this course did. Karen covered things that we didn’t even know about – online travel agencies, channel managers, how to spend your marketing money effectively, the Pink Book to name but a few.

Karen doesn’t leave anything out and she definitely doesn’t sugar coat B&B ownership either. It’s true – if you don’t like cleaning and cooking, then it’s not for you! We left the course knowing that B&B life was for us and over the next year and a half poured over the course notes we were given, did our research and finally found our dream property in 2015. We opened The Old Stables in April, 2016. Karen’s expertise, support and enthusiasm really crystalised our decision to open our B&B. If you are considering embarking on your own B&B we cannot recommend the B&B Academy course enough. Thank you Karen – you helped us to make our dream come true!

Alyson & Simon Tuxworth, The Old Stables, http://www.theoldstablesbandb.com

There are two things you need to do before setting up a B&B – a) know what you are letting yourself into and b) do your research. You can’t do better on both these fronts by going on Karen’s course. It is worth every penny. We set up our B&B about a year ago and Karen’s course gave us so many useful ideas. She continues to be a fantastic support – we would be quite lost with her and the wonderful community of fellow B&B owners she has created

Caroline Howarth, The Mount, Keswick, http://themountkeswick.co.uk

Best course ever! I attended Karen’s course absolutely clueless about running a B&B and left 2 days later totally inspired, fully informed and engaged with the whole process! Setting up a brand new business is extremely daunting for novices like me, however, Karen’s invaluable advice helped open our doors withing a matter of months. There is absolutely no way I would have the successful and unique business I have today if it was not for this fantastic and insightful 2 day experience. I cannot recommend this course highly enough to everyone dreaming of running their own B&B. Dreams do come true!

Imogen Adams, http://www.oldschooldorm.com @oldschooldorm

I attended Karen Thorne’s How to set up and run a B&B course in 2013. I found the 2 day course excellent in content and advice. I was coming into the business from a completely different background (I was a criminal lawyer in England who had had enough of the rat race).

I had found a property in Northern Ireland that my husband and I were hoping to purchase and renovate.
Karen’s advice as to optimum rooms for maximum return and costing out a B&B from scratch was put to good use as we designed our bespoke B&B in a former police station.

Whilst the rules relating to tourist board approval in Northern Ireland differ to England, the rest of the course, especially relating to marketing and setting up gave me the perfect grounding in how to approach my new business venture.

We opened for business in April 2015 having spent 15 months renovating the property, ensuring a spacious and comfortable B&B for guests to enjoy whilst having a self contained part of the premises for ourselves to ensure our own personal space was separated from the business, another excellent tip from Karen.

We are into our 3rd season now and have recently been awarded 5* B&B status from TourismNI making us only the 9th 5* B&B out of over 500 in Northern Ireland. Further, in June 2016 we received an Excellence In Tourism Award in the Larne Business Awards.

I can thoroughly recommend Karen’s How to Set Up and Run a B&B course, it certainly set me on the right track.

Water’s Edge Glenarm B&B, http://www.watersedgeglenarm.com

Nanette and I attended the B&B course at Hopton House in September 2015 and we could not recommend the course too highly. We had been talking and planning to open our own ‘Boutique’ B&B for some time and given that we both have a lot of business experience we were aware that we had thought through many of the things that needed to be thought about but that it was essential to both test our thinking as well as identify and plug any gaps. The course did not disappoint: we chose it from a variety on offer around the UK and were happy to travel from Scotland to Shropshire to attend. Even two years on it is easy to remember the impressions that it made. Firstly it was all extremely interesting: engaging, informative, comprehensive as well as being nicely paced and expertly delivered. The stand out feature for us was the very thorough run through of all of the practical day to day issues coupled with an absolutely excellent and very comprehensive treatment of how to market a small business in the ‘digital age’. We have recently opened our business on the Isle of Arran in Scotland and can honestly say that we still refer to the excellent course book that Karen provides; our journey to this point has been very significantly aided by attending this course with like minded people; I would defy anyone from attending and not benefitting significantly.

Rob and Nanette Cowieson, https://www.cruickshanksarran.co.uk

We attended Karen’s course in October 2014 when our B&B dream was a 5-year plan. It only took 19 months for our dream to become reality when we opened The School House B&B in Chapel Lawn, Shropshire. After attending the course we really felt we had all the tools we needed to set up our business and were keen to get started. When we opened The School House we soon realised just how much we had learned on Karen’s course and it gave us the confidence to relax and enjoy our new adventure right from the start. But Karen’s teaching doesn’t stop at the classroom – the course opens up a whole network of liked-minded people to exchange views and ideas with, so we are always up-to-date with changes within the industry. We would highly recommend Karen’s course if you’re thinking of getting into this very enjoyable and rewarding business.

Clare & Dave Wright, The School House B&B, Chapel Lawn, Shropshire, http://www.theschoolhousebandb.co.uk/

When hubby and I first met, we talked about having a bed and breakfast, but little did we know that less than 3 years later we’d be searching for a house to do just that! Around that time, I saw Karen’s course advertised in a magazine somewhere, and thought what a genius idea, filing it away for future reference. As I got made redundant in 2008, we decided to start that “future” plan. Hubby was still working fulltime, so it was decided that I should be the one to go on the course.

From start to finish, Karen is professional in her planning and information, she takes you through the ups – and downs – of the business side of running a bed and breakfast; but more importantly, she gives you a grounding in some of the legal stuff you need to know: fire safety, health & safety, plus all the food awareness you need to have! There are obviously parts that she refers you to planners and so forth, as everyone is looking in different areas, and councils vary – but the details were all there. We even got a folder from the environmental health for future use! I used it to this day… She also introduced me to social media – where would I be without twitter in my life??

I would recommend anyone considering opening a B&B to go on her course, as it’s a great way of seeing what is involved. It is a great way to have a rural business, but it is hard work! I have recommended her to guests many times, as she is friendly, helpful – and continues to be a sounding board – she’s exceptionally professional and her B&B continues to thrive.

Back in 2009 she used to allow people to stay with her on the course, and now more than ever I can understand why she doesn’t anymore – but it was an absolute joy! One day I will return with hubby…

Fiona Potts, Gwaenynog Farmhouse – B&B, Campsite and Wedding Venue, http://www.gwaenynog.com

Set in the beautiful surroundings of ‘Hopton House’ on the Herefordshire/Shropshire borders, we attended Karen’s Bed & Breakfast course in January 2016. Prior to the course we decided we wanted a change of direction and that establishing a Bed & Breakfast would surely be a straightforward project?!! How hard could it be(?!) and is there really that much to learn? Anyway, my wife suggested we attended the course – which is undertaken over two days – so we could get a better understanding of what it takes. Well, thank goodness we did! There really is so much to learn… whether its pricing, social media or legal matters, Karen covers it all. It is truly one of the most extensive courses I have been on and her go to ‘take away bible’ has proved to be an invaluable ongoing reference document. To anyone considering running a Bed & Breakfast, I urge you to attend the course – even if it puts you off running one! As it was, armed with the additional knowledge from the course, we opened our Bed & Breakfast in April 2017 in Anglesey and haven’t looked back. Even now, we reference another source of information… Karen’s Facebook ‘B&B Academy Past Course Attendees’ in search of answers to questions. This is a group of serious B&B’ers who happily share their knowledge with everyone. This is a great course and rich in content… and I thoroughly recommend it.

Mark & Debbie Smith, Owners of Ty Bae B&B, Anglesey, http://www.tybae.co.uk

We attended the Breakfast Academy’s two day course in February 2016 and are about to open our own B&B in Anglesey. Not only was the course extremely informative but it also led to us meeting people that we have remained in contact with as well as the Facebook group which is invaluable.
The course covered everything from breakfast timings, to business plans and from cleaning rooms to marketing. As we have continued on our journey I find myself referring to the handout or my notes on a regular basis. Anything I am unsure of I post on the Facebook page and am guaranteed a response (or several responses) within a very short time.

I would recommend Karen’s course to anyone considering running their own B&B.

Nicky Arnold, http://www.tynllainbandb.com

We did Karen’s course while we were still researching about buying and running a B&B. It really helped us decide that this was what we wanted to do. The course covered all the points about the running of a B&B that we wanted to know, from cleaning, making the breakfasts, social media and using booking systems to name a few. It covered lots of points we hadn’t thought about which were really useful. The best thing though is getting advice from someone who has run a B&B and knows the trips and traps of the business. Also the Facebook forum for past attendees is great source of continued info and support. It was well worth the trip from Brighton to Shropshire and we’re now up and running our own B&B.

Wayne Jones, No. 27 Brighton, http://www.brighton-bed-and-breakfast.co.uk/

Received by email:

Thanks for your notes. We thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it very useful!

March 2017

I hope you are well. The information you included in your course and literature is proving to be invaluable.

March 2017

Many thanks for the follow up and additional information below. I just wanted to thank you again for a really useful and interesting weekend — it has left me motivated and inspired to keep planning!

It was very nice to meet all the other participants as well — please do stay in touch and keep me posted on your B&B plans, so we can broaden our list of places to stay around the UK and Ireland!

March 2017

Thanks again for being so open and sharing.

Thanks again for a very informative weekend – lots to think about!

February 2017

Thank you for an engaging and informative weekend, Julie and I enjoyed learning more about B&B as a business…now to put it all into action.

February 2017

just a quick email to say thank you for the course which I found very useful and informative

February 2017

Thanks for all this information Karen and thanks for a really informative and interesting two days, I’ve already got the blog started and ready to go, a very exciting time for us, fuelled further by our two days with you!!! Kindest regards

February 2017

Thank you for your email. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it informative, which will contribute, for sure, in making my decision going forward. The group interaction and rapport between us all was great! Lunch was fab and the view was amazing!!

August 2016

Thank you Karen.

I found the course really stimulating and very thorough. You are amazing in your planning, organisation and attention to detail. I loved all the psychology involved in the marketing and PR.

August 2016

S and I just wanted to thank you for the excellent course provided.

A real insight to the reality of the business and presented with patience and detail.

August 2016

Was lovely to meet you all on weekend and thank you Karen for a very informative and inspiring weekend…just now down to location location location!

July 2016

Firstly thanks Karen for a great course, J and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It really bought it to life for us and made everything suddenly seem like a real possibility. We’ve just spent two weeks in Devon and Cornwall, looking at potential areas and thinking seriously about our future. It was great to see what you do Karen and that a life change does work and how successful it can be. You’ve done so well Karen, a real inspiration.

Secondly, great to meet everyone, a really friendly group of people. Also really nice to be surrounded by people with like-minded plans and dreams. Would be great to keep in touch and hear how everyone is doing.

July 2016

Hi all, I had such a lovely weekend with you lot, what a bunch of crazy lovely people!

Thanks for hosting and teaching, Karen, I have definitely come away with everything I could have needed.

Good luck everyone and keep in touch! Maybe we will all be competing on four in a bed soon ??

July 2016

Thanks for sharing the documents. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and have been singing your praises all week (may even have got a booking in the pipeline for you!).

Meeting everyone else was definitely an added bonus for me – what a lovely bunch of people! I would love to keep in touch and find out how you are all doing

July 2016

Thank you for a wonderful class, Karen – I learned so much more than I expected. And SO much food for thought! You are clearly as talented a teacher as you are a B&B owner.

July 2016

Thank you for this and I really enjoyed the course, it was really informative.

Will be in touch after my move to Scotland.

July 2016

Thank you for a super week-end 

Your house and garden (scenery) are very beautiful and you were the perfect host.

The course surpassed all expectations and I feel that I now have all the basic knowledge around setting up a B&B required.

The week-end made my friend and I very positive about the possibility of us following this dream!

(and Thank you for the receipt too).
Best Wishes to you

May 2016

Thank you for the receipt and downloads and also for an amazingly informative course in beautiful surroundings. Thanks to Debbie for the lunches too!

May 2016

Many thanks indeed for a most informative, instructive and insightful academy course this weekend.

With your skills as a trainer and presenter well in evidence, and your welcoming personality it was a pleasure to spend the weekend in Shropshire at such a lovely setting learning so much about how to Set Up, Market & Run a Successful B & B. It has certainly given me the inspiration to act now and set the wheels in motion for the next ‘career’.

May 2016

G and I just wanted to say thank you so much for the course at the weekend. We both really enjoyed it and have learnt so many valuable things.

We got lost twice on familiar roads on the way home because we were talking about it all and not concentrating on the route!

We can’t wait to put it all into practice now.

We feel the course was so worth while and can’t imagine being able to start a B and B without having done it.

April 2016

I can’t thank you enough for a fantastic course – excellent value for money. Sending these notes additionally is very generous of you.

My husband approves of your full English – especially the mushroom!

Had a successful trial yesterday. Timings were perfect- many thanks.

March 2016

It was great to meet you all. B and I learnt so much, thanks Karen for your openness and useful information.

September 2015

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for providing such an excellent course, which has given me much to think about – particularly with respect to how I would market our B&B. The lunch was great too! 🙂

September 2015

I’d just like to echo the comments. It was a very informative few days and the course was really well run.

September 2015

Thanks for a very enjoyable and informative weekend. Both R and I learned quite a bit and really appreciate that via the course we have a framework to model and set up our B&B.

It was a pleasure being in the company of people with similar plans.

September 2015

Thank you so much for an enjoyable time and course content. I really enjoyed the weekend. Lots to do read and consider!! I’m off to the Tourist Board tomorrow.

It was really nice to be in the company of likeminded people with similar aims. Great to meet everyone and hope we keep in touch.

September 2015

Really enjoyed the weekend and meeting you all, so interesting to hear everyone’s plans, good luck with them.

September 2015

It was such a pleasure meeting you (and the dogs) and seeing your lovely B&B. Thank you so much for a wonderful two days full of helpful information. I also have to compliment you on the food; it was great. It’s obvious that you run a first class operation and really know your business. There is a great deal to digest past two days – and much more to learn! – but I feel much better prepared for what lies ahead.

I really look forward to the day I am finally able to get touch to tell you that I am open for business! Thanks again

August 2015

Just a quick note to say thanks again for the course! It was superb. Really thorough, really honest about what is involved but also really inspiring! When I start a blog and/or Twitter, I’ll be saying that!

July 2015

J and I would like to join I and L in thanking you for a well organised and informative course. It has definitely given us some new ideas and better understanding of how to embark on our B&B journey.

It was also great to have an opportunity to meet a group of such motivated people. Good luck to all of you!

June 2015

Thank you an excellent and very informative course.

It was particularly helpful to meet everybody else there and hopefully there will be many more successes in the b&b world as a result.

Good luck to everybody, whatever you decide to do.

June 2015

Just to say thanks very much for a really interesting weekend with your advice and insights into providing a bed and breakfast service. The thoughts and views of fellow course members added to the weekend too.

The course really helped us to fine-tune our thinking and preparation for our modest B & B idea

June 2015

I just wanted to say a big thank you to you for running the course last weekend. It was a really good insight into running a proper establishment and has inspired me to come home and get things sorted so I can get my own business off the ground as quickly as possible.

From what I saw, you provide an exceptionally high standard of hospitality and this has served as a really good benchmark for what it is I wish to achieve myself.

Well done and I hope your success continues long into the future.

May 2015

I really enjoyed the course and still hope to open up a B and B some time next year in Cumbria.

I wish you all lots of luck in your own ventures and hope we all remain in contact – through ‘thick and thin’.

I’m sure once I’ve mastered ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ we will be able to keep in contact in many ways.

Thanks once again to Karen who has helped put C and I on the right path in our new future career.

May 2015

Thanks for the documents.

The course was really good. It’s given us plenty to think about.

April 2015

This is just a v quick one to say thanks for a simply brilliant course over the last 2 days.

It was everything I’d hoped to learn about setting up and running a successful B&B, and so much more. Really insightful, engaging and practical. As you said at the start, I didn’t know what I didn’t know (but now I do!).

Hope you manage to get some good R&R in tonight – you certainly deserve it after two intensive days.

March 2015

Just a short note to thank you for the weekend course.

I found it very useful, both in the information delivered but more importantly, it has made me reanalysed the type of b&b I would like and how it can work for me. A little scary but very exciting! Now to do the research!!!!!

Thanks again and I will endeavour to utilise the tools learnt to find the perfect place for me. I’ll let you know if I succeed!!

February 2015

Thank you for the weekend course, I really enjoyed it. I would like to get up and running for early July, but not sure if I will.

Very inspiring though and it would be good to put the course in to practice sooner than later.

I really enjoyed visiting Shropshire, first time for me. It was lovely to do the course and enjoy the beautiful view.

Hope to come back again to book your or another recommended B&B with friends, parents and family.

February 2015

Thank you so much for the course and for the notes. We really enjoyed the weekend and we have decided that we could definitely move forwards with running a B and B in due course.

January 2015

I just wanted to say thank you very much for the superb course. I don’t know what I will plan to do and whether I go down the B&B route but, if I do, I know I have the information I need. At the moment I am sorting things out post-redundancy notification and getting CV sorted for a couple of leads on jobs. I’m hoping when the dust settles a little, I can take the time to review everything covered over the weekend!

January 2015

Course dates

(2 days, starts Saturday)

September 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

B&B Academy on Facebook

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: (#10) To use ‘Page Public Content Access’, your use of this endpoint must be reviewed and approved by Facebook. To submit this ‘Page Public Content Access’ feature for review please read our documentation on reviewable features: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/apps/review.
Type: OAuthException
Code: 10
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.

Subscribe to my newsletter and be notified of new B&B course dates

Thank you for signing up for the B&B Academy newsletter. We will use your email address to send you occasional newsletters with details of new course dates and other information relating to setting up, running and marketing a B&B, that we think you may find useful. Your details are stored securely on our 3rd party newsletter provider, Mailchimp. You may unsubscribe at any time. We never sell or pass on your details to anyone else.


I take your privacy seriously and will never sell, pass on or give away your data.