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Now that's what you'd call a real busman's holiday; Fancy sleeping on a double decker bus? Or perhaps you'd prefer a gypsy caravan or a historic railway carriage? There are loads of quirky places to stay in the Midlands. Zoe Chamberlain picks eight of the best from the website

Byline: Zoe Chamberlain

Betsy Blue Bus, Ryton, Shropshire There's something irresistible about Betsy Blue.

Perhaps it's because it makes you think of Cliff Richard in the classic film Summer Holiday.

But, unlike in the film, this 1981 Leyland Atlanteen converted double decker bus offers a luxurious, if not slightly bonkers, stay.

The top deck has three bedrooms and downstairs there is a fully equipped kitchen, seating area with a television, woodburner and WiFi plus a relaxing outdoor hot tub to enjoy the stunning views across the Stretton Hills.

Alongside Betsy is a bathroom with shower and toilet.

Home "grown" sausages, bacon and freshly laid free range eggs can be provided.

Prices are from PS105 to PS125 a night for two adults with PS10 per adult / PS5 per child for additional guests. Two night minimum stay.

Float by Boat, the canals of the Midlands This pretty 69ft narrowboat called Spirited Away offers one-of-a-kind holidays where guests can take part in meditation, relaxation and time to enjoy the countryside.

There are three cabins that sleep six to seven guests and two crew members, with two toilet and shower rooms.

Food is home-cooked, wholesome and vegetarian, with plenty of tea and freshly baked bread and cakes.

And it's easy to reach the boat as the crew will pick you up from the nearest train station or your car.

New for 2015 are themed boat breaks, such as Yoga by Boat, Walk'n'Boat, Foraging and Live Aboard Life breaks in March and October for those who want to lean the ropes.

A two night, fully-catered weekend aboard costs around PS150 per person.

Porter's Lodge, Polesworth, Warwickshire Sleep in the medieval gatehouse at the entrance to Polesworth Abbey, which dates back to the ninth century.

These two cottages have been lovingly restored, furnished and decorated to retain their character and charm. One, which just sleeps two, features an open plan fitted kitchen, dining and sitting area with original stone fireplace and wood burner, a bedroom with exposed beams and a luxury bathroom with freestanding bath.

The other cottage, Gatehouse Croft, sleeps four.

Guests are able to visit the original porter's office and his family's meagre quarters to learn about its connection with William Shakespeare.

Prices start at less than PS85 per night.

Ling Safari, Bewdley, Worcestershire Hear the lions roar whilst you sleep safari-style in a Ling Safari Tent, right opposite West Midlands Safari Park, where guests can enjoy a 20 per cent discount.

Built on wooden floors, each tent has an open plan lounge, well equipped kitchen and two double bedrooms, one with handmade African carved bed and another with a bunk bed above. The hot water shower is just outside on the deck and the toilet a few steps away. There is a woodburning stove plus lighting from battery-powered hurricane lamps.

A welcome basket is included on the first night with the basics, plus extras for longer stays. Hot meals can be booked at an extra cost if required. No pets because of farm animals.

Prices start at PS85 a night off peak.

Wolferlow Wigwams, Upper Sapey, Herefordshire At Wolferlow Wigwams you have all the benefits of camping but with some added comfort: a softer bed, fridge and a kettle for that first cup of tea in the morning. These quality wooden wigwams have plenty of character and can sleep up to four adults and one child. Outside each is a space to dine al fresco with a picnic bench and a barbecue.

The campsite has a shared kitchen with a large range cooker and all the utensils/cutlery necessary as well as a communal dining area with views. There is a shower and toilet block plus an additional toilet close to the wigwams for convenience.

Prices starts at PS40 a night for two adults, with reductions for weekly stays.

For added luxury, there is also an en-suite wigwam with running water and microwave, which costs PS60 per night for two people.

Coalport Station, Ironbridge, Shropshire From the outside these carriages look like historic GWR rolling stock, but on the inside they offer the most modern luxury holiday accommodation.

Winner of Shropshire Self-catering Holiday Provider of the Year 2013/14, Coalport Station carriages include a lounge/dining kitchen with fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washer/dryer, flat screen TV and DVD, free WiFi, air-conditioning, en-suite bedrooms and even whirlpool bathrooms with walk-in showers.

The picturesque surroundings of the River Severn provide many activities suitable for a wide range of interests.

Prices range from PS87 per night during the week to PS200 per night at weekends (minimum stay of two nights over a weekend, four nights during the week).

Stanbrook Abbey, Callow End, Worcestershire Once a silent order monastery, this Grade II listed abbey has been beautifully refurbished as a unique place to stay.

Famous for its afternoon tea experience, you can also wander the incredible cloisters that lead you around the venue, which is set in 22 acres of grounds.

There's also a bar and restaurant and you can hire the five-bedroom manor house too.

Prices for a double room range from PS135 a night for a classic room to PS350 a night for a superior suite.

Wriggles Brook Gypsy B&B, Hoarwithy, Herefordshire With the brook babbling nearby, you can see why Wriggles Brook Gypsy B&B was named number one glamping site in the UK, according to a Mumsnet poll last year.

The romantic gypsy caravans come complete with luxuries the gypsies didn't have, such as your own eco-friendly composting loo, solar electricity for lighting, heating and a kettle, power showers with biodegradable products and fluffy towels, a hair drier, heated towel rails, a fridge and even the kitchen sink.

Nestled into a small valley, there are fires to cook on both indoors and out and you may be lucky enough to spot an otter, kingfisher or peregrine whilst you laze on your hammock.

This is a real food lover's paradise too, with organic and free-range local ingredients, hand-finished by the owners, to create fine dining with a twist.


Ling Safari in Bewdley, Worcestershire

Betsy Blue Bus in Ryton, Shropshire

Coalport Station, Ironbridge, Shropshire

Float by Boat Meditative Canal Breaks in Warwickshire

Stanbrook Abbey, Worcestershire

Porter's Lodge, Polesworth, Warwickshire

Wriggles Brook Gyspy B&B, Herefordshire

Wolferlow Wigwams, Clifton-upon-Teme, Worcestershire
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 28, 2015
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