Hospitality newcomers Stephen Wild and Sheila Cadd have purchased Somerville House, a detached Victorian Bed & Breakfast with an AA five star rating in the centre of Hereford for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was brokered by Colliers International off an asking price of £800,000.

The couple, who are from Greater Manchester, had been planning their new life for years and took a number of courses to prepare them for life in the hospitality sector.

Sheila, a community nurse, said that she and Stephen, an engineer, were enjoying their career switch.

“We have all the advantages of the fantastic countryside but we also benefit from the busy restaurant and bar scene in Hereford,” she said.

“We did a residential course in Wales and also took a hotel management course to ensure we were up to speed on the new regulations. I would recommend anyone thinking of buying their own B&B to do the same as it really helped prepare us for taking over the business.”

Built in 1895, Somerville House is a detached villa, situated in a tree-lined avenue and offering a touch of luxury to people looking to explore the historic town. It has earned a five-star rating from the AA, yearly, for the last nine years.

Peter Brunt - who sold Somerville House to the previous owners, Bill and Rosie Blanksby, in 2007 - said: “Sheila and Stephen recognised that Somerville House offers considerable scope to upscale the business, whether through converting part of the generous owners’ accommodation into another suite or by moving up a gear from the present rather relaxed business style.

“Somerville House offers 12 letting rooms but there is also a light and airy suite of rooms for the owners and a fabulous garden.

“Hereford itself acts as a major tourist centre for the surrounding area with a stream of visitors to the Cathedral and the Mappa Mundi exhibition, and the Three Choirs Festival, triennially.”

Colliers International advised the vendors in the deal.  The purchasers were unrepresented.