At yesterday’s Curborough Sprint, I was involved in a brief conversation as to which hotels are near to Snetterton for the third of our three sprints. That got me thinking that over the past few years, I have stayed at some good and some not so good hotels while visiting race circuits. My main priority in selecting where to stay is based on WiFi and a large car park for the car trailer with bar food or similar in proximity or at the accommodation itself. I know that circuit websites, track day organisers and the Circuit Guide will suggest hotels, but my logic is that at any race, test or track day, they will get busy. Below are some suggested hotels and accommodations categorised by circuit that we will be racing this year.
I stayed at ‘The Park Farm Country Hotel’ at Hethersett for my first visit to Snetterton. The price for B&B was £64.00 for a ‘standard’ double room, but I did not have breakfast as this was not to be served until after I left. The room was fine, a ‘standard’ room though was miles away from reception and the bar, so don’t carry many bags! Although I did not use it, there is a pool and gym. There is free Wifi though there is plenty of parking. If we do not camp, we will stay at this hotel, which is some 15 minutes North West from the circuit along the A11.
My best recommendation has to be ‘The Bluebell Bed and Breakfast‘ when I stayed prior to a 300 track day in May. So much so I promised Karen the proprietor that I would write a dedicated page to help promote her business.
Mark Cox suggested the ‘Breckland Lodge‘ which is about 5 minutes North East of the circuit along the A11 which I stayed prior to the 100 Track Day in May. From their website “The new fresh contemporary decor of our en-suite rooms offers our customers a comfortable night with clean white linen and duvets, flat screen televisions, free wifi access, radio, telephone, toiletries, hairdryer,tea and coffee making facilities. With a large well lit parking facility and 24hour security, the Breckland Lodge offers peace of mind and comfort during your stay. You can also enjoy the added bonus of The Stag Bar and Restaurant facilities which offer a fantastic choice of menus including the excellent Stag breakfast served from 7am -11am”. Price was £45.00 accommodation only with breakfast at £4.95 for Full English. Has a large car park for three buses, so easy to park a trailer. Rooms themselves are clean and comfy though partition/stud walling means you can hear everyone and everything let alone being woken by the dust cart at 5.00am! Bar was contemporary with good selection of beers, Grolsch on tap rather than Stella, though seemed rather pricey. Restaurant food was great and good value. Free WiFi available.
Another place to consider, albeit I have not stayed is ‘The Angel Inn‘ Freehouse which has both rooms, self catering and camping facilities. Looking at Google Earth, it is just around the corner from the circuit and if you’re into camping, then maybe ‘The Dower House Touring Park‘ maybe of interest? Although I have again not tried, seems to have excellent facilities and not too far from the circuit. Although I tried to book, it was too late and all pitches were taken for the Bank Holiday weekend.
I’ve stayed at both the Premier Inn and Holiday Inn at Wrotham Heath, some 10 minutes south of Brands, but they have very small car parks. The Premier Inn has a very weak phone signal from what I can recall, certainly on the Vodafone network there is no service while in the hotel. The Holiday Inn certainly lack atmosphere in the bar. I have also stayed at The Thistle and although have not used the facilities, there is a leisure club there. There is no free Wifi and albeit the car park is also small, it is right on the gates of the circuit and you can leave your car and trailer quite securely at the circuit overnight. This hotel can extend the budget and I know for our June event, all dates are booked. My recommended hotel is ‘The Hadlow Manor Hotel‘, some 12 miles from the circuit with large car park and free WiFi and Sky TV in every room. There is a small bar with bar food and I personally recommend the vegetarian risotto. There is no Stella on draught, so you’ll have to put up with 1664. My reservation was made via Booking.Com at £59.00 for one night, accommodation only.
For our second race in July I have booked the family and I into the ‘Hampton Inn at the Rockingham Leisure Park‘ for the Friday and Saturday for the family and I. There is again a large car park around the facility, albeit the hotel car park itself is small. Free WiFi is at the hotel and also the use of the gym. Breakfast is included in the price and there is normally plenty of time to enjoy as the circuit is only a few miles away. There is a bar at the hotel though for food and drink I would recommend the Whetherspoon pub next door. Those feeling energetic may wish to dance the night away at the nightclub on the Park too. I have paid as little as £45.00 a night here and in July I have paid £52.00 per double room per night with breakfast. Rooms are well equipped with flat screen TV.
I know other competitors do not recommend this hotel as they feel open top trailers could be insecure, but I have had no problem. The last time I was at Rockingham this Hampton Inn hotel was full and I booked into the Holiday Inn at Corby, some 10 minutes from the circuit. The car park is huge, though there is no free Wifi. I redeemed Priority Club points to stay here on an accommodation only basis, so could not advise a cost. The ‘Executive’ room booked was clean but felt ‘old’.
Each time I have stayed at Donnington, I have used ‘The Bubble Inn’ at Stenson. I appreciate there are loads of hotels closer to the circuit, especially around the airport, but again The Bubble Inn meets my two primary requirements of a large car park and free WiFi. The hotel does not have an online booking facility and although my first booking was made via Booking.Com, call Natasha and tell them you are racing at Donnington and are a friend of Mark Lewis to get a good deal. Prices for accommodation and breakfast in a double bed will be around £70.00 and it will take you just 20 minutes to drive the the circuit. The hotel boasts a pleasant and quiet location with popular bar and restaurant.
I have not stayed anywhere near Mallory so cannot recommend anywhere.