Award winning bed and breakfast goes international

AN award winning luxury bed and breakfast which was opened by the man behind the Phileas Fogg snack company is going European.

In its first year, The Old Post Office has already attracted guests from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, China and Argentina.

And now, after welcoming its 500th guest just weeks before it celebrates its first birthday, the Lanchester-based bed and breakfast has secured a presence on an international website which will open doors to markets across Europe.

The picture shows The Old Post Office proprietors Keith and Pauline Gill.

Keith Gill, who founded The Old Post Office with his wife Pauline, said: "Our first year has been much more successful than we could have imagined. We've recently welcomed our 500th guest and also won two high profile industry awards which is fantastic. Not only are we attracting visitors from across our country as well as from Australasia but we've also had people stay from Spain and Portugal as well as bookings from the Netherlands and Belgium in the next few weeks.

"Now we've decided to broaden our international appeal even further by signing up to which means we are listed in six languages including Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian and French, as well as English. We have also adjusted our own website to incorporate an availability calendar in these languages to help our potential European guests with their bookings.

"As a result The Old Post Office can be found by people from across Europe who are searching for bed and breakfasts in England, which will ensure our continued growth and success in our second year of trading."

Melanie Lowes, Senior Industry Services Executive at Visit County Durham, said: "County Durham is home to so many wonderful attractions which bring in visitors from all over the world, and The Old Post Office is exactly the type of accommodation we need to ensure they have a memorable stay.

"Keith and Pauline are very forward thinking in their approach and the listing on is testament to that. It will open up new doors for them and help attract even more tourists to the area."

Keith and Pauline opened The Old Post Office after deciding they wanted to take step back from full time working without retiring completely.

The couple took the decision to convert their spacious home in Lanchester, County Durham, into a high end bed and breakfast, offering guests luxury accommodation and breakfast made from fresh local produce.

Keith Gill, who co-founded the Phileas Fogg brand in 1982 and sold it for more than £27m in 1993, said: "Converting our house into a bed and breakfast was for us the perfect solution as we both wanted to work less but didn't necessarily want to retire.

"We've always loved travelling and are particularly passionate about using only fresh local produce, so the move into hospitality was a natural step. It means our work/life balance is much better and we're doing something we love, together."

Keith, who still works as a food consultant, and soon-to-retire teacher Pauline themed each of their rooms around stamps - the Penny Black, the Penny Red and the Two Pence Blue, all of which are decorated to give an English country cottage feel.

They source all breakfast produce from individual suppliers and companies located within the surrounding villages, while their sausages come from the butcher next door.

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For more information about this release, contact Leanne English, Director of LEC Consultancy, on tel. 0191 5878165, 07824 631950 or email