Welcome to no.56
Your oasis on the Somme
This beautiful B&B which offers the services and features any small hotel would envy, is located at the epicentre of the battle of the Somme. Once ravaged by gun and shellfire, No.fifty6 is now an oasis of peace and tranquility in the beautiful French countryside.
From the moment you enter the warm and tranquil guesthouse, you’ll be welcomed with cake, coffee and captivating stories in the lounge. This is the beginning of your wonderful stay in the historic village of La Boisselle, Northern France.
With five artistically decorated bedrooms to choose from, each with its own en-suite shower, free Wifi, and tea and coffee making facilities, you’ll be spoilt with serene comfort, sumptuous breakfasts and enviable views from every window. Delicious, locally sourced evening meals are an option - the best times are had around the No.fifty6 dining table discussing all sorts of things. David and Julie are hosts without compare. It is what they love to do.
Prepare to walk in the footsteps of the fallen and fill your senses with the sights, sounds and emotions of the Battle of The Somme on our Walk With Me experience, or simply enjoy a slice of café life in the nearby French towns.
You won't find us on any hotel booking sites, Airbnb etc. as we prefer the personal approach from start to finish.
We are delighted to have been awarded Winner status in the Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice for 2 consecutive years, and winner of the prestigious Excellence Award in 3 consecutive years. It is why our guests come back again and again.
"Hello David and Julie,
Well I am now back in Australia after a fabulous 3 months in the UK and I wanted to thank you both for an amazing weekend at Number 56. It felt like a home, not just a B&B. You couldn’t have made us more welcome and we left feeling we had made new friends.
We loved the accommodation – again it felt like home. And the little extras, such as the plug adapter and weather report, were most welcome. Breakfast was yummy and the packed lunch, too! But the absolute highlight was the unique and wonderful tour of the Somme battlefields. The initial ‘briefing’ before we left, which helped to set the scene and the actual visit, which was just amazing and brilliantly researched. We can appreciate how much hard work goes into these tours and it is obvious that you both have a great love for your work and for the Somme.
Thank you , David, for bringing the tour to ‘life’ – you treated my two grandfathers with warmth and respect. Sadly we never met either of them but you gave us a real feeling of connection with them both. We had no idea what happened to William Fry. So It was very touching to see the actual field at Ginchy, where he had gone into the attack and where he most probably fell. It was a sobering and very touching experience. Likewise to actually visit High Wood, where Harry Ambrose was seriously injured. How ironic that it all happened on the same day and only a few miles apart. Although the weather was not ideal in one way, we actually liked the idea that the weather conditions were very similar to those on the actual day, the fog made it very atmospheric."
30th September 2020
Last week we were walking on the beach at the Somme coast in 27 degrees then 2 days later the thermometer plunged to 11 degrees and wet and windy weather. At month end it has settled to a drizzly but mild , certainly autumnal weather front. So, the landscape is changing, softening. Leaves changing colour. Fields once plump with crop have given up their treasure to feed a nation, but never empty as ploughing and reseeding continue the cycle of agriculture. The light is more golden, there have been some dramatic skies and sunsets. Autumn has its own soft beauty. And we love it.
It brings to mind this poem by Ernest Rhys written in 1918 – The Leaf Burners, which ends:
Much I thought then
of men that went forth,
Or dropt like the leaves,
to die and to live;
While the leaf burners
with their long brooms
Drew them together
on the day of their death.
I wondered at that,
walking the fell —
Feeling the wind
that wafted the leaves
And set their souls
free of the smoke,
Free of the dead,
speeding the flame
To spire on the air —
a spark that should spring
In me, man of men;
last of the leaves.
With quarantine in place for UK visitors returning home from France, borders closed in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, we have had no guests this month. It is hard, we miss everyone, but nevertheless we keep busy and there has been plenty to keep us occupied this September.