Places to Stay: Porter’s Lodge

Polesworth Abbey, Warwickshire

Finding a place to stay that ticks all of my boxes is rare. Very rare. I love history and character in a building, but also for it to contain modern, luxurious facilities – this is a combination that isn’t very easy to find and not that common an occurrence. If it’s somewhere that is Instagramable, has a wonderful story behind it and a free-standing bath then it instantly joins my list of places to stay. Porter’s Lodge was one I booked before even consulting the dog sitters.

Unlike most of our getaways, this was a spur-of-the-moment decision, which meant I had even less chance of somewhere amazing being available on such short notice. Not only were we in luck, but this place worked out cheaper than a city hotel – we struck gold.

Porter’s Lodge is a 13th century gatehouse which has been recently refurbished with help from the National Lottery Fund. It is the gatehouse to Polesworth Abbey, an abbey that dates back to the 9th century. Steeped in history, the abbey is said to be one of the places Shakespeare studied, as well as home for well-known nuns and saints throughout history. There is a large, well-designed information board directly outside Porter’s Lodge which describes the history of both the gatehouse and the abbey brilliantly.

It was mesmerising to drive underneath the gatehouse archway and be able to say to yourself “wow, I’m sleeping there tonight”. It genuinely looks more like a heritage site than guest accommodation. We retrieved the keys from Father Philip, who was happy to help us with anything we needed, and made our way up the dark stair corridor to the main door of the lodge.

Even the key to this place looked full of history.

Places to Stay: Porter’s Lodge - Porters Lodge - 1 Photographed by Rick Nunn

As we reached the top of the stairs, we were met with a large glass wall which showed the inside of the living-room, open dining area and kitchen. It looked even better than in the photos. It didn’t feel like we should be allowed to sit on the furniture. There was a huge stone fireplace in the centre of the back wall, complete with a log burner and dark wooden beams seemed to prop up the ceiling everywhere you turned.

There were interesting religious relics, books and fresh flowers on top of beautiful antique furniture. It seemed every detail had been considered, even the plug sockets were dark so that they blended seamlessly into the interior.

Places to Stay: Porter’s Lodge - Porters Lodge - 2 Photographed by Rick Nunn
Places to Stay: Porter’s Lodge - Porters Lodge - 3 Photographed by Rick Nunn
Places to Stay: Porter’s Lodge - Porters Lodge - 4 Photographed by Rick Nunn
Places to Stay: Porter’s Lodge - Porters Lodge - 5 Photographed by Rick Nunn

The bed was large and comfortable, nested underneath a Tudor style sloped ceiling, and the entire lodge was almost too easy to heat up. The place held heat surprisingly well for an old building. We were very lucky with lots of sunshine for early April and we made the most of it by venturing outdoors for the majority of our visit.

Places to Stay: Porter’s Lodge - Porters Lodge - 6 Photographed by Rick Nunn

Two nights did not feel enough and we would have been so happy to stay longer. We were only a 12 minute drive from Twycross Zoo, which we explored all afternoon on Saturday, and we spent the rest of the time exploring Polesworth on foot, completing their infamous poetry trail. Walking along the canal was beautiful, especially with an ice cream from the visitor’s centre in-hand.

There was a large Co-Op store almost directly opposite Porter’s Lodge, which couldn’t have been more convenient, and there are a number of takeaways close by too. Everyone was so welcoming and happy to help us find where we were going, I highly recommend visiting the abbey in particular.

A few things to take note of:

  1. The stairs leading up to Porter’s Lodge are quite steep and dark – there is a banister, but I think elder family members would have struggled.
  2. Definitely make time to enjoy the freestanding slipper bath.
  3. No need to bring your own milk. Fresh milk was in the fridge and cake on the counter top – a thousand Nunn points.
  4. Don’t bang your head on the sloped ceiling in the bedroom – I’ve heard that hurts *cough*.
  5. If Father Philip is busy fathering (something he did a lot), ask him where to leave the keys when you leave – in advance!

Thanks for having us, Porter’s Lodge, find out more about this accommodation on their website.