My Buzz

We entered Theo’s #SBS on Twitter for the first time on Sunday 10th July 2011, having recently been awarded five-star status by the AA, and we were amazed, shocked and delighted to be chosen by Theo as one of the six winners of #SBS that day. We were instantly flooded with lovely messages of congratulations from our followers on Twitter, as well as gaining a huge amount of new followers in no time at all. After we won we sent Theo a message of thanks and invited him and the rest of Family Paphitis to come and stay at the guest house if he is ever up in our neck of the woods! We also gained some great press exposure as a result of our #SBS win, and we even made it onto the front page of our local newspaper.

My Bio

The Old Vicarage Country Guest House is a five-star guest house run by myself and my husband, Jane and Peter Smith. In 2006, with both our daughters at university, we decided to leave our teaching posts in Buckinghamshire and become guest house owners. After much searching we found The Old Vicarage in a tranquil corner of the Lake District, away from the busy tourist hubs, but within easy reach of Keswick, close to the beautiful Georgian town of Cockermouth and surrounded by spectacular walking country. At the time, The Old Vicarage was a four-star B&B in need of some love, attention and TLC. We moved into the guest house in January 2007, and through continuous refurbishment and improvement, we have gone from four-star status, to four-star highly-commended, to finally achieving five-star status in June 2011, as well as being awarded dinner and breakfast awards by the AA.

Peter has had many jobs in his life, including being a Civil Engineer, Administrator, serving in the Armed Forces, and eventually become a IT and Maths Teacher later-on in life; whilst I qualified as a Home Economics teacher, and spent the majority of my teaching career in Buckinghamshire, where I was Head of Department, and subsequently Assistant Head, before leaving to become a guest house owner.

Running a guest house is hard work; often we are up early to serve breakfast to our guests and still going late into the evening, if we have guests in for dinner. Being a jack-of-all-trades really is key to being a successful B&B owner: Peter is head chef, bed-maker, administrator, gardener and handy-man; whilst I am the hostess, waitress, housekeeper, laundry-maid, baker, assistant gardener and interior designer. Our daughter, Kate, produces all of the graphics and marketing material for the guest house, and helps out in the guest house when required, and we have one casual member of staff, a lovely lady called Hilary, who helps us when we have a full house. For us, the personal-touch is key, and that is just one of the lovely things our guests say that they enjoy about their stay at The Old Vicarage Country Guest House.

My Business Tips

1) Commitment to a high standard is essential; and you need to train and work sensitively with staff to encourage their understanding of the need to achieve these standards.
2) Don’t overlook the fine detail, and be prepared to meet the individual needs of all your customers.
3) Courtesy and respect for all your guests is a prerequisite of working in the hospitality industry.
4) Always be prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ to make your guests comfortable.
5) It is the little things and the added extras that can make a big difference to someone’s day.
6) Always do the best that is possible.
7) Be yourself!

My Latest Offers

30% off B&B on two or more nights at The Old Vicarage Country Guest House in the Lake District. Call 01900 85656 to book & quote #SBS100711.

Follow us