If you like your B&Bs with a rich side serving of history, the 4-star 1777 Bedrooms and Breakfast at the Albion offers is just the ticket.
The oldest of four coaching inns in Dorset’s historical market town of Wimborne (and one of just two still standing today), 1777 at the Albion has been painstakingly styled to reflect three distinct themes of Georgian England.
You’ve got the Jane Austin ‘Gentility’ rooms, Charles Hall (Hall and Woodhouse founder) ‘Mercantilism’ rooms and Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy ‘Sea’ Cabin rooms each one meticulously styled to its theme. Hall and Woodhouse have spared no effort into creating relaxing yet fascinating retreats for each of its guests here.
The hotel was actually refurbished back at the start of 2016 although the distinctive styling and Georgian detail hark back to the days when this unassuming little Inn had a very frequent and prominent role in local history. A coveted green plaque outside reads: “The Albion Inn. Town’s oldest surviving licensed house. Formerly The New Inn, a 17th Century coaching halt. In 1834 the Tolpuddle Martyrs stopped here en route to transportation to Australia as convicts.”
In the late 18th Century, a royal coach containing King George II called in to this very establishment seeking a vessel of ale on his way through to Weymouth and in the mid-19th Century the building housed the magistrates court at the same time it was being used as a temporary school house while the main one was being rebuilt.
The 1777 at the Albion can be found right on a prominent stretch of Wimborne’s main town square and you can imagine the clatter of horse and coaches pulling up to drop off The Albion’s latest residents as they readied themselves for a comfortable stay in this peaceful Dorset market town. The view of the hotel from the Square is quite unassuming, which makes the effortless grandeur of its interior even more thrilling, yet unexpected.
You pull up into the private car park (each room has an allocated space), framed by a lush lawn and glimpses of the river beyond and enter the small Reception area to check in. Check-in is from 3pm to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 3-6 on Sundays but if you tip up outside of these hours you can pop into the nearby Olive Branch pub where they can sort out your arrival and allocate your room (The 1777’s Reception is unmanned outside of these hours).
1777 at the Albion has ten bedrooms in total, each one a double or a twin with en-suite with the same luxurious Sealy mattresses that graces the beds in The White House!
Room 4 has disabled access and a wet room and all ground floor ‘Cabin’ rooms along the length of the driveway welcome residents to bring their dogs – check if one of these are available if you’re planning to bring along a canine companion.
The bedrooms are spaced over three floors, with three standards, four superior and three luxury suites. Each one is kitted out with a DAB radio, flat screen smart television, toiletries, tea and coffee making facilities, a hairdryer and en-suite bathroom.
The luxury ‘Gentility’ bedrooms also have a stainless-steel freestanding bathtub as a focal point in the main room. Telephones have not been put in the rooms to ensure minimum disturbance but you are welcome to use the landline on Reception.
The most notable fact about each of the bedrooms is the amount of care and attention that has gone into styling each and every one. From the grand ship in a glass cabinet in one of the ‘Sea’ rooms to the ornamental pipe rack in a ‘Gentility’ suite it’s these little touches that build to make 1777 at the Albion a real retreat. The wardrobes are giant affairs you couldn’t ever imagine would get back out through the doors or windows and each room comes with piles of plump cushions and an adorable cuddly companion who waits for your arrival clutching the television remote control!
A home from home
Groups are welcome and 1777 at the Albion is popular with wedding parties and visiting family for boarding pupils of the nearby Canford School.
If you’re here on business or just like to stay connected you can enjoy complimentary WiFi in the hotel and this service carries across to The Olive Branch, where residents have their inclusive breakfast.
Getting to The Olive Branch is just (and precisely) 152 steps to the right! The hotel optimises its space with the bedrooms so the neighbouring Hall and Woodhouse pub is your venue for breakfast – and what a feast they have in store!
Breakfast is served between 8am and 10am in The Dining Room, an immaculately presented seating area with great views of the open kitchen and in easy reach of the vast continental breakfast spread. If you prefer a full-on feast in the morning The Olive Branch will prepare an impressive cooked breakfast for you.
Check-out is any time up to 11am so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy your leisurely breakfast and a late check-out may be available on request.
If you remember the 1777 as the old Albion pub you won’t likely recognise it today. After an extensive refit to return it to its former glory as a Georgian-style inn with all mod cons it perfectly blends its decorated heritage with a distinctly modern attitude.