• Ask your host when they would prefer you to arrive. Even if they’re laid back it’s considerate to clarify, for instance, whether you will arrive in time for Friday night supper, or fully-fed afterwards.
• Arrive with a gift. Thoughtful trumps extravagant! Fine toiletries, chocolates, wine, flowers or a houseplant are all good standbys; well-chosen books, DVDs and seasonal foods can go down well, too.
• Ask what you need to bring. Country walking gear? Smart clothes for a dinner? Swimming kit and a towel? Don’t forget to pack your PJs or other night attire as well.
• Be prepared to join in with games and activities. No one’s likely to force you onto a horse, or on a long hike, but you could drive to meet up with your host or fellow guests at the pub.
• Take your cue from your host. Limit lounging in bed for hours, unless encouraged to do so. Sitting around in your nightwear eating breakfast while lunch prep is in full swing is deemed rude in certain households.
• Do offer to help. Unless you’re in a formal environment with staff, your offer will be appreciated. Helping in the kitchen, laying the table, or clearing away afterwards can ensure that you are asked to stay again.
• Don’t outstay your welcome. Be prepared to disappear after Sunday lunch unless you are genuinely pressed to stay longer.
• Ask whether you should remake or strip the bed before you go.
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