Bed and Breakfast Training Course Testimonials 

Clare and Dave Wright,

The School House Bed and Breakfast Shropshire

"We attended Karen's course in October 2014 when our B&B dream was a 5-year plan. It only took 19 months for our dream to become reality when we opened The School House B&B in Chapel Lawn, Shropshire. After attending the course we really felt we had all the tools we needed to set up our business and were keen to get started. When we opened The School House we soon realised just how much we had learned on Karen's course and it gave us the confidence to relax and enjoy our new adventure right from the start. But Karen's teaching doesn't stop at the classroom - the course opens up a whole network of liked-minded people to exchange views and ideas with, so we are always up-to-date with changes within the industry. We would highly recommend Karen's course if you're thinking of getting into this very enjoyable and rewarding business."

Caroline Howarth

The Mount Bed and Breakfast, Keswick

Someone asked me recently to recommend some hospitality networks. We have been members of a few since opening The Mount in the Lake District. Honestly I had to say that Karen Thorne’s Bed and Breakfast Academy course has been the single most important thing we have done to make our business a success, and that in part is because we have stayed in touch with her and joined her network of high-end, supportive and super-friendly B&B owners. Karen gives endless practical advice, built from years of running a beautiful B&B and also from her previous career in marketing. But she does this in a way that is not over-whelming; everything is presented in a way that feels manageable and encouraging. She really cares about the well-being of those she helps, and understands how daunting running your own hospitality business can be.

 The value of her support really came to the fore in 2020 with the Covid19 crisis. This support was a real life-saver at a horrendous time. There were difficult days, lots of uncertainty and anxieties for us all to face. But having Karen’s prompt responses to any questions and the support of the community she has developed as whole, really helped us through this. So it really goes without saying, that I cannot recommend Karen and her courses more highly.

Catriona Haskell-Ward

Millburn Bed and Breakfast, Dunvegan, Skye

A compliment to your course this morning, Karen, from one of our guests leaving today after a week long stay. He said the course must have been amazing our place runs like clockwork and he couldn’t think of any negatives. They’d thought we’d been doing it for decades! So thankyou for sharing your wealth of knowledge, for being there for that extra advice when needed, for setting up the ‘B&B Academy’ family FB group no one could have planned for what this year has thrown at us all but we definitely couldn’t have got/get through it with out you and everyone in this group. 

Fiona Potts

Gwaenynog Farmhouse, Near Welshpool, Wales

From start to finish, Karen is professional in her planning and information, she takes you through the ups - and downs - of the business side of running a bed and breakfast; but more importantly, she gives you a grounding in some of the legal stuff you need to know: fire safety, health & safety, plus all the food awareness you need to have! There are obviously parts that she refers you to planners and so forth, as everyone is looking in different areas, and councils vary - but the details were all there. We even got a folder from the environmental health for future use! I used it to this day… She also introduced me to social media – where would I be without twitter in my life??

I would recommend anyone considering opening a B&B to take her course, as it’s a great way of seeing   what is involved. It is a great way to have a rural business, but it is hard work! I have recommended her to guests many times, as she is friendly, helpful – and continues to be a sounding board – she’s exceptionally professional and her B&B continues to thrive. 


Rob and Nanette Cowieson

Cruickshanks, Arran

"Nanette and I attended the B&B course at Hopton House and we could not recommend the course too highly.  We had been talking and planning to open our own ‘Boutique’ B&B for some time and given that we both have a lot of business experience we were aware that we had thought through many of the things that needed to be thought about but that it was essential to both test our thinking as well as identify and plug any gaps.  The course did not disappoint.  Firstly it was all extremely interesting: engaging, informative, comprehensive as well as being nicely paced and expertly delivered. The stand out feature for us was the very thorough run through of all of the practical day to day issues coupled with an absolutely excellent and very comprehensive treatment of how to market a small business in the ‘digital age’. We have recently opened our business on the Isle of Arran in Scotland and can honestly say that we still refer to the excellent course book that Karen provides; our journey to this point has been very significantly aided by attending this course with like minded people; I would defy anyone from attending and not benefitting significantly.

Imogen Adams

Old School Dorm, Staffordshire

Best course ever! I attended Karen's course absolutely clueless about running a B&B and left 2 days later totally inspired, fully informed and engaged with the whole process! Setting up a brand new business is extremely daunting for novices like me, however, Karen's invaluable advice helped open our doors within a matter of months. There is absolutely no way I would have the successful and unique business I have today if it was not for this fantastic and insightful 2 day experience. I cannot recommend this course highly enough to everyone dreaming of running their own B&B. Dreams do come true! 

Jenny Monroe

Water's Edge, Glenarm B&B, Northern Ireland

I found the course excellent in content and advice. I was coming into the business from a completely different background (I was a criminal lawyer in England who had had enough of the rat race).

I had found a property in Northern Ireland that my husband and I were hoping to purchase and renovate. 

Karen's advice as to optimum rooms for maximum return and costing out a B&B from scratch was put to good use as we designed our bespoke B&B in a former police station.

Whilst the rules relating to tourist board approval in Northern Ireland differ to England, the rest of the course, especially relating to marketing and setting up gave me the perfect grounding in how to approach my new business venture.

We opened for business, having spent 15 months renovating the property, ensuring a spacious and comfortable B&B for guests to enjoy whilst having a self contained part of the premises for ourselves to ensure our own personal space was separated from the business, another excellent tip from Karen.

We have been awarded 5* B&B status from Tourism NI making us only the 9th 5* B&B out of over 500 in Northern Ireland. Further, we received an Excellence In Tourism Award in the Larne Business Awards. 

I can thoroughly recommend Karen's How to Set Up and Run a B&B course, it certainly set me on the right track.


Aly and Simon Tuxworth

The Old Stables, Shepton Mallet


Taking Karen's B&B Academy course was by far the single most important thing that we did when we embarked on our B&B journey.  At the start of the course Karen told us that by the end of the weekend we would know if B&B life was for us or not - and she was right!  We literally covered everything from bacon to loo roll.  We had read books and articles about B&B ownership but nothing came close to giving us the real insight more than this course did.  Karen covered things that we didn't even know about - online travel agencies, channel managers, how to spend your marketing money effectively, the Pink Book to name but a few.  

Karen doesn't leave anything out and she definitely doesn't sugar coat B&B ownership either.  It's true - if you don't like cleaning and cooking, then it's not for you!  We left the course knowing that B&B life was for us  and over the next year and a half poured over the course notes we were given, did our research and finally found our dream property in 2015.  We opened The Old Stables in April, 2016.  Karen's expertise,  support and enthusiasm really crystalised our decision to open our B&B.  If you are considering embarking on your own B&B we cannot recommend the B&B Academy course enough.  Thank you Karen - you helped us to make our dream come true!

Mark & Debbie Smith

Tybae B&B, Anglesey


Prior to the course we decided we wanted a change of direction and that establishing a Bed & Breakfast would surely be a straightforward project?!! How hard could it be(?!) and is there really that much to learn? Anyway, my wife suggested we took the course so we could get a better understanding of what it takes. Well, thank goodness we did! There really is so much to learn… whether its pricing, social media or legal matters, Karen covers it all. It is truly one of the most extensive courses I have been on and her go to ‘take away bible’ has proved to be an invaluable ongoing reference document. To anyone considering running a Bed & Breakfast, I urge you to attend the course - even if it puts you off running one! As it was, armed with the additional knowledge from the course, we opened our Bed & Breakfast  in Anglesey and haven’t looked back. Even now, we reference another source of information… Karen’s Facebook 'B&B Academy Past Course Attendees' in search of answers to questions. This is a group of serious B&B’ers who happily share their knowledge with everyone. This is a great course and rich in content… and I thoroughly recommend it.

Nicky Arnold

Tyn Llain B&B, Anglesey


We attended the Breakfast Academy Course before opening our own B&B in Anglesey. Not only was the course extremely informative but the Facebook group is invaluable.

The course covered everything from breakfast timings, to business plans and from cleaning rooms to marketing. As we have continued on our journey I find myself referring to the handout or my notes on a regular basis. Anything I am unsure of I post on the Facebook page and am guaranteed a response (or several responses) within a very short time.

I would recommend Karen's course to anyone considering running their own B&B.

Wayne and Diego

No 27 Brighton


We did Karen’s course while we were still researching about buying and running a B&B. It really helped us decide that this was what we wanted to do. The course covered all the points about the running of a B&B that we wanted to know, from cleaning, making the breakfasts, social media and using booking systems to name a few. It covered lots of points we hadn’t thought about which were really useful. The best thing though is getting advice from someone who has run a B&B and knows the trips and traps of the business.  Also the Facebook forum for past attendees is great source of continued info and support.  We’re now up and running our own B&B.