Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If your specific query isn’t answered here then please get in touch with us via the contact page
Could we arrange our own outside catering?
The options generally are for you to either self-cater, or to use our list of nominated, tried and tested caterers. We have built a reputation on the food & service we provide and it’s an integral part of our business. We do not want your guests to be subjected to a range of ‘other’ caterers we have not carried out due diligence on. However, If you do still want to use your own Caterers, we would need to see their liability insurance.
We can eat out at a top restaurant for the prices you charge.
We agree, but you wont find many restaurants only serving 18 –30 diners. We are not comparable to a restaurant. We cater to your specification and our prices take into account the time and effort involved, the high quality of the ingredients, and the staff to prepare, serve and clear. We know how important your meal is to you and we don’t want to let you down. We offer a premium product at an appropriate price.
Can I bring Fido?
Sometimes. We are happy to have dogs at Berry House provided you abide by the rules set out. We will allow dogs at Tone Dale House and Widcombe Grange by arrangement for certain occasions eg Christmas but there may be extra cleaning charges.
Have you got wifi?
Yes, all our houses have broadband with free wifi.
Can we have candles?
Yes. We would want to make sure they were ‘safe’ and in suitable stands. Also we would not want them to drip onto tables/tablecoths. Please note we provide candles and candelabra for the dining rooms already.
Can we have our own decorations in the marquee at our wedding?
Yes. You will need to run it by us first as they may need to be flame retardant or have another implication, or we may already have some you can use.
How can I make a payment?
Most people now pay online – please ask for our account details. We take cheques made payable to the Big House Co. We also accept debit cards. Credit cards are accepted but are subject to commission charges of 2.5% Visa/Mastercard and 4.5% Amex. You can also book and pay directly on our website.
Do we need to bring our own towels?
No, we provide all these and a lot more besides – see the ‘Welcome Pack’ for what is provided. We usually say “all you need to bring is people and any food or drink you require”.
Can we arrange our own activities on site?
It would depend on what and who was doing it. It is usually to do with insurances, health and safety or noise issues. Our suppliers are all vetted and we hold insurance details on them as well as many years of experience working with them.
How do we find you – there are no directions on the website!
We supply directions to all our clients in their ‘Welcome Pack’. As we offer our houses on an exclusive hire basis we do not want unsolicited visitors turning up to have a ‘peek’ during someone else’s house party.
We work during the week, why can’t we view the houses at the weekend?
Our houses are nearly always occupied at the weekends so show rounds are not possible, but when there is a gap we will try to accommodate you.
Why do we have to pay everything before our visit?
We are reserving and subsequently supplying a big house for a specific date. If for whatever reason there is a cancellation numerous parties would suffer a loss of forecast income (the owners, all staff & suppliers and The Big House Co.) If we re-let the house, monies are returned, as per the Big House Booking Conditions point 5. We can supply references if you are worried about our credibility.
Why are the rates fixed, regardless of numbers, for house hire and catering?
Hotels, and similar types of accommodation, have numerous individual rooms, or dining tables to earn revenues from. We have single individual houses to hire and one dining room in each house. The running costs are pretty much the same whether there are 20 or 24 people staying. We have tried to ensure that overall we offer good value for money. If you can think of a way to reduce our costs then we can pass these savings back to you!
Why do you not have a Grading System like some companies?
The rates we charge are the “grading system” but above all we know the houses very well and will be totally honest about what they are like – just ask us anything you would like to know.
Why should we book via the Big House?
We will ensure we match you to the house that suits you – even if that means risking putting you off because your taste/needs are different! Fundamentally we want you to feel you can genuinely recommend us to friends, family and work colleagues, and return yourselves, so it’s in our interest to provide the right quality, right price and overall location of house, that is right for you.
Why are the houses not staffed permanently?
It helps to keep the costs lower, especially for self-catering parties, where no staff are required. Also because it really makes it feel like your place, or as one customer put it “I could make a cup of tea in my bra and knickers.” We do however always give you a duty managers number to call if you need to.
Do you not have more big houses?
We want to remain a small, manageable, local company, offering to arrange all your catering and activity needs so our level of personal service can be as efficient as possible.
Why do we not charge for cleaning, gas, electric, logs?
We offer good value inclusive rates. We think the last thing you want to do is clean a very large house, and start fiddling about with meter readings etc!
When is a house party not a house party? Answer: When it is an event.
Our insurers define a house party as a group size not exceeding the number of bed spaces available within the houses (excluding cots). Once you exceed these numbers the house party becomes an event and as such it must be managed and usually catered by the Big House Co.
I’d like to bring a coach load of my nearest and dearest, we don’t mind squeezing in- is that OK?
No. We do not believe in cramming people in like sardines—not even children, so our basic rates are based on no more than two people to a bedroom—and we believe it’s a lot safer. We do however allow children in cots in addition to the total number of guests allowed.
If you’ve already had your event at one of our houses then we’d love for you to put some of your photos in our Flickr Group.
If you don’t want your pictures displayed on our site you can always just add them to our Facebook Page. You can put videos there too if you have them.
Join our Flickr Group.