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Case study: 2 Cambridge Villas

Living in the Lake District was always 'the dream' for Yorkshire-born husband and wife team Jeanette and Steve. But this ambition became reality in March 2014 when the couple embarked on a brand new venture, running their five bedroomed (flexible offering family, doubles and twins depending on request) B&B, 2 Cambridge Villas in Ambleside.

The property is in fact leased from the Kelsick Trust which in turn provides grants and educational opportunities for young people locally. Winning a Visit England 'Rose Award' in recognition of their outstanding hospitality has been the icing on the cake, particularly as neither had been involved in the B&B industry before. "It's a standing joke with family and close friends that our house was always like a hotel. When the kids were younger their friends would be staying for tea and sleepovers so here we are, running a bed and breakfast business," laughs Jeanette.

In the two years since they took over the property, the couple have renovated all of the bedrooms and upgraded everything from carpeting to crockery. Jeanette has a background in youth work management and also hospitality, catering for up groups of up to 200 whilst husband Steve, formerly an HGV driver for a well-known supermarket brand, is a brilliant handyman and did much of the extensive renovation to their B&B himself. His friendly Yorkshire banter is enjoyed by the guests.

Bookings for their B&B have been steadily building alongside their TripAdvisor reviews for providing the 'best breakfast in Ambleside'. "Most of our guests stay for two to three nights but during the summer months this extends to four or five. The majority are UK based with a sprinkling of international visitors. This summer we have some repeat guests from New Zealand who are returning for five nights."

"We absolutely love freetobook! We signed up for freetobook as our internet booking engine just last summer - its very easy to use and the team at the end of the phone are very helpful and patient. Overall freetobook seem very forward-thinking, there are always new tweaks to the system that anticipate our needs."

Despite missing their friends and family back in Bradford, Jeanette and Steve are committed to ensuring their B&B provides a home away from home. "Life experiences have taught us not to take ourselves too seriously but we do take guests' experiences very seriously indeed."

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