“ Address: 96 St. Leonards Gate / Lancaster / Lancashire / England / LA1 1NN / Tel: 01524 841041 „
The family run B and B is a British institution. At their worst they are a flea pit that makes Fawlty Towers look like the Ritz whilst at their best they are cosy home from home. Luckily when visiting my boyfriend's new born niece in Lancaster over the Easter weekend we struck gold when the Shakespeare was recommended to us , as it is certainly in the latter category.
The Shakespeare is located on St Leonard's Gate just a stones throw from Lancaster's historic city centre. This elegant stone property has a historic pedigree dating back Georgian times when it was an inn for travelers on the coaching routes. It gets its literary name from its associations with the Theatre Grand just opposite one of the oldest working theatres in Britain. The current owners Sally and Fred maintain the traditional hospitality in this wonderful little seven bed-roomed four star guesthouse.
There aren't many downsides to the Shakespeare but one of hem is encountered early on if you are arriving by car. There is no parking at the Shakespeare itself. However there is a NCP on Saint Leonard's Gate , which was fairly reasonable for an overnight stay. From there it was a brief walk with out suitcases to a warm welcome from Sally. She really is the epitome of what a B and B landlady should be. She was knowledgeable, friendly, without being too intrusive. She seemed to take a genuine interest in her guests asking us about things such as the new baby.
On entering the Shakespeare on the right hand side there is a guest's lounge furnished slightly old fashioned but with a veritable library of books on local history and places of interest alongside university prospectuses for those visiting the universities of Lancaster and Cumbria for the first time.
Onwards and upwards to the bedrooms. The Shakespeare would not be suitable for those with mobility problems as the staircases are quite steep and narrow and there is no lift. Our double room was on the first floor whilst the others (a single for my boyfriend's mum and a twin for his brothers) were on the second floor. Our bedroom all decorated in creams pinks and floral prints was a reasonable size. On entering you see the double bed with a pretty patchwork style duvet , which suited the homeliness of the B and B to a tee. The second ting you notice when entering the room is the shower cubicle, as there is no self contained shower room. On the left hand side is a door to the toilet but the shower cubical is in the room itself meaning there is no area to change when getting in and out of the shower. This was not a problem for us as a couple but my boyfriend's brothers found this slightly embarrassing. The sink is set into a cabinet within the room. There were sachets of shampoo and shower gels for those that needed them. The shower took a minute or so to warm up but thereafter there was plenty of hot water and a decent enough water pressure.
Scanning the room further there was plenty of storage space including a wardrobe, a TV mounted on the wall and plenty of tea coffee and hot chocolate. I found the room to be very comfortable and a fairly good nights sleep was had both nights.
The advantage of staying ion a smaller, more personal establishes over a larger faceless branded one is the service you get. We were asked when we would be having breakfast. I love a good breakfast when staying away from home and this was no exception. I loved the little bowl of fairly exotic fruit salad (well it had melon and kiwi in it) it was the perfecter palate cleanser for the start of the day. A full English breakfast (well without the baked beans) was on offer including a vegetarian option. Still hungry? Various cereals cheeses and mini pan au choclat were were available for you to help yourself to on a side table in the breakfast room.
Fred and Sally's winning service continued after our stay. I had left a scarf in my roof and they promptly returned it to us. Its little touches like that that a big difference.
So what's the cost of this delightful service? Twin and double rooms are £66 for a night whilst a single is £35 , which is fairly reasonable for a very nice B and B. Don't forget your chequebook along with your toothbrush as cards are not accepted as payment.
We will be returning to Lancaster quite a bit to see my boyfriend's lovely little niece and I think we shall be rebutting to Fred and sally and the lovely and cosy Shakespeare,
96 Saint Leonard's Gate
Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 1NN
01524 841 041