A family of six have become the first to stay overnight in a quirky wombat’s burrow – after winning a UK competition to celebrate top holiday mishaps. Amanda Willis, 48, from Exeter, wowed the judges with a spectacular packing blunder, which saw her jet off on holiday with a suitcase full of her nan’s knitted blankets, instead of her clothes.
Joined by her daughters, partner, and son-in-law, the family were treated to a one-of-a-kind stay in the B&Burrow – a unique subterranean hideaway designed to resemble a wombat’s warren, tucked away in the picturesque Mendip Hills, Somerset.
The marsupial-inspired digs, which sleeps six, has cosy, tunnel-style living chambers, a crawl-through child’s entrance, and even a distinctive cube-shaped loo – a playful homage to wombats being the only species in the world which produce square-shaped poo.
Amanda was handpicked out of countless other accidental tales of misadventure from other travellers to win the contest, created by Compare the Market to celebrate its characters, including the mishap-prone Carl the Wombat.
She said: “I had a suitcase of knitted blankets belonging to my late nan in my hallway. As she’d recently passed away, I was going to take them to a charity shop.
“That very same winter, I excitedly headed off on a trip to Tenerife with my then boyfriend.
“When I arrived, I eagerly unzipped my luggage only to discover that I had mistakenly taken the wrong bag – instead of holiday clothes, all I found was a suitcase packed to the brim with woollen blankets.
“In despair, I had to rush out and purchase an entirely new holiday wardrobe on the very first day of our trip.
“I was also left roaming the island with an unruly and frizzy perm – as my hairdryer, mousse, and hairspray were all lovingly waiting for me back home in the hallway.”
But Amanda isn’t the only one to have suffered an unfortunate travel mishap.
Alexandra Gossage, 34, from Taunton, also won a stay in a separate burrow with members of her family – after her £30 return tickets to Bruges ended up costing her an extra £540 due to getting the return times mixed up.
She said: “A decade ago, as a financially strapped student, I meticulously planned my first trip with my boyfriend to Bruges, just before Christmas.
“We secured bus tickets for a mere £30 each for a round trip, which felt like an incredible bargain at the time.
“However, the excitement of our adventure was momentarily overshadowed on December 23 at 3.00pm, when I suddenly realised I had made a booking error.
“I had mistakenly reserved the bus journey back for 00:00 on the same day – essentially, the very beginning, not the end, of December 23rd. This meant we had already missed our return trip.
“To make matters worse, there were absolutely no available buses departing on December 24.
“I had no choice but to dig deep into my pockets and shell out a hefty £540 for last-minute train tickets, to ensure we made it back in time for Christmas Day.
“It’s rather ironic that I teach physics today, given my poor grasp of the concept of time back then.”
Images show the B&Burrow features a characterful home decorating mishap – a clock that’s been restored by drawing the missing numbers on paper and sticking it to the wall.
Carl the Wombat’s signature yellow T-shirt can also be found hanging on the bedroom door for guests to wear.
Other highlights include a luxury hot tub near the entrance, with plenty of places to bask in the sun.
Ursula Gibbs, director at Compare the Market, said: “Lots of us have had travel mishaps – or “wombat moments”, as we’ve affectionately coined them – where we’ve accidentally dug ourselves into a hole.
“Our research, of 2,000 adults, found nearly half (46 percent) said they had fallen foul – be that from booking tickets on the wrong dates, to missing flights entirely.
“On average, this costs holidaymakers £143 each time – although some unlucky travellers have had to stump up £1,000 or more.
“In spite of his best intentions, our beloved character Carl the Wombat sometimes doesn’t get it right.
“Our research shows that many of us can find common ground with Carl – whether it’s mistakenly boarding the wrong bus, or forgetting our passports before an international journey.
“Ultimately, life is a journey of learning from our missteps, and making great decisions for ourselves – an approach we fondly refer to as being more meerkat!
“That’s why we created the B&Burrow, to soothe hapless holidaymakers and help rectify those travel mishaps.”