Zoë Perrett discovers Allington Manor – a historic house-turned-B&B so sumptuous it’ll make you relish the prospect of a long journey on the A1
Let’s face it: The A1 may be a useful carriageway between South and North (and vice versa), but Route 66 it is not. In fact, the biggest kicks a weary traveller is likely to encounter en route is via a pit stop at ‘adult emporium’ Pulse & Cocktails: a place whose door this particular writer has never darkened, but regards with a mixture of suspicion and intrigue.
But veer slightly off the lorry-beaten path and your journey could be oh-so much more exciting – not to mention infinitely more glamorous. Because historic manor house-turned-B&B Allington Manor lies just 10 minutes off the A1.
‘I can’t justify treating myself to a dead sexy overnighter when I was just supposed to be trundling from A-B!’, I hear you cry.
Well, I’d like to counter that sentiment by reminding you that, as all the official advice warns against driving tired, you’re actually performing a selfless public service – it’s just a happy coincidence that choosing to do so has led you to such a lovely place.
Located in the postcard-pretty village of Allington and owned by the Vincent family since 1983 – currently in the hands of Leo Vincent and his partner – Allington Manor is a handsome stone house comprised of parts from both 1450 and 1660.
Whichever part you’re in, it feels pretty steeped in history – from the reassuringly thick stone walls to the suit of armour in the reception room whose jaunty position suggests to anyone returning slightly in their cups from a visit to the local pub that a real live knight is just chilling in the corner before retiring to bed to attend to his latest fair maiden.
Allington Hall’s decor boasts that fabulous dog-eared luxury aesthetic: staying here is like visiting the home of an extremely well-heeled friend who would rather you sink into the sofa than perch on it, and won’t replace a stunning chest of drawers because of a few scuff marks.
Knick-knacks abound – minimalism is clearly not in the Vincent’s dictionary – but it’s all classy clutter you’ll have to resist slipping in your suitcase. Suffice to say that to mention all the covetable items displayed throughout the building would equate to writing an inventory comprising pretty much the entire contents of the house.
The six bedrooms are similarly splendid. The Lady’s Room, aptly, features five portraits of noblewomen from various eras, and its off-white and sage colour scheme is possibly the most conducive to a peaceful night’s sleep your correspondent has ever encountered – and will shortly be replicating in her own home.
Cream-painted wooden furnishings with the odd fancy flourish are charmingly battered, variously textured textiles feature glass beads and embroidery, and an ornate dark wood-and-wicker bench takes the place of a settee. I would reference ‘shabby chic’, except I abhor the term… but in explaining that to you I’ve cleverly mentioned it anyway.
At the foot of the four-poster bed, a pair of tall candlesticks flank a heavy claw-footed, roll-top bathtub waiting to be filled with water spiked with Molton Brown bubbles. A pale grey marble mantlepiece is home to a yellow gold carriage clock which Leo should be happy still resides there, because I really, really wanted to have it away on my departure.
But when the morning comes, petit pain trumps petty crime. Allington Manor’s brilliant breakfast can be eaten in the dining room (which also offers afternoon tea), or taken out on a terrace which boasts bucolic views of the Lincolnshire countryside. Bread is bountiful, eggs are perfectly poached and, as you’d hope in a county with a banger named after it, sausages aren’t too shabby.
The only problem with breaking the journey somewhere so special is that eventually you’ve got to actually get where you’re going. But, on the bright side, it does make the prospect of that next trip up or down the A1 rather more alluring…
Make it happen
Where: Allington Manor, Bottesford Road, Allington, Lincolnshire NG32 2DH
Find out more: To visit the website, click here