Know your onions and relax

25th July 1997 at 01:00
If you are tired of formulaic hotels with piped music, android staff and transatlantic airport-lounge decor, it may be time that you spent a night in Florence Nightingale's onion store, in Romsey, Hampshire, or even the Village Lock-up in Farndon, near Chester.

These zany BBs can be found in the most offbeat of Britain's holiday brochures, Distinctly Different. Teachers who are not averse to a "busman's holiday" can book into the Old School House in Bathford, Bath (Pounds 32-Pounds 35 per person per night) or Port Isaac Old School in North Cornwall (Pounds 17-Pounds 44). A saucy night in The Boatman's Brothel in Jackfield, Ironbridge, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, costs Pounds 19-Pounds 23. But the seriously perverse who are excited by the prospect of visiting another industrial heritage attraction, the Westonzoyland Pumping Station in Somerset, can arrange accommodation at one of two nearby mills.Further information from Distinctly Different, tel: 01225 866648.

One of the properties that has received Distinctly Different's stamp of approval - the Old Post Office in Llanigon, Hay-on-Wye - is also featured in another publication for travellers with specialist tastes, Vegetarian Visitor.

This guide to meat-free restaurants, guest houses and hotels in England, Wales and Scotland does not claim to be comprehensive. It does, however, include some of the remotest veggie venues, Invercassley Cottage in Sutherland, and the most unpronounceable, Clwt Cotal Helygen, a smallholding-cum-restaurant in Glan Y Wern, Dyffryn, Ardudwy, Gwnedd.

Vegetarian Visitor, is available from John Carpenter Publishing, 2 Home Farm Cottages, Sandy Lane, St Paul's Cray, Lent BR5 3HZ. Pounds 2.50, inc p p.

Fancy a little more luxury than in either the village lock-up or a Welsh smallholding? Then try what Wolsey Lodges has to offer. This consortium represents owners of Scottish castles, Elizabethan manor houses, Georgian mansions and Victorian country rectories who provide hospitality for travellers for Pounds 40-Pounds 50 (dinner, bed and breakfast). Not everyone would feel comfortable sitting down to dinner with the huntin' and shootin' set but those who are not fazed by that prospect might welcome the invigorating smell of country air and old money.

Wolsey Lodges, 9 Market Place, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Suffolk 1P7 5DL. Tel: 01473-822058.

Some would scoff at the idea of holidaying in the Algarve in July and August. Who wants to play golf in a furnace? But the "golf coast" is a popular holiday destination this summer because it also caters for water-sports fans, bird-watchers and serious fish-eaters (try the cuttlefish and sardines). Airtours still has some seven-day self-catering packages on offer for next week. Prices range from Pounds 319 to Pounds 389 and flights leave from Manchester, Newcastle and Teesside. Further information from Thomas Cook Direct on 0990 181818.

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