A weekend in the Cotswolds

It’s two weeks to go until the birth, maybe sooner. Natalie decided we should take a brief break by ourselves in the calm before the storm of a new baby. I take absolutely no credit for organising our weekend, but I wanted to share with you a lovely experience in the Cotswolds.

When you are a parent it’s very difficult to find time together as partners.

I would never want to take my family for granted, but sometimes it’s important to be a couple to focus on being the best family you can be. And so every now and then, you should take time to relax and recharge. We didn’t do this in a huge way (think weekend in Rome) this past weekend, but we decided to take some time out to visit Cotswolds. It’s only around 45 minutes away from home but felt like a world apart.

We checked in for one night at the Redesdale Arms in Moreton in Marsh. It’s a charming and lively pub with a number of guest rooms and suites. We stayed in a suite and enjoy the complimentary sherry on arrival. My Lent pledge to give up alcohol and bread took a night off.

Our suite was comfortable and quite spacious. It was very quiet even though there were obviously other people around. We had everything we needed in a well-designed and spacious room. In particular, the extra-large bed was much appreciated, as it gets very difficult for a heavily pregnant woman to get comfortable at night time.

The food was the highlight of the stay.

I am easily pleased and will eat anything, but even I could tell the quality of the food was far above most pub fare. Natalie had a duck dish and I had steak and ale pie. Both were cooked perfectly and we were looked after by the waiting staff very well. As I hadn’t drunk for a while, and Natalie isn’t drinking at the moment due to obvious reasons, I felt the alcohol a little more than I usually would. Pulled pints of specially-commissioned Cheltenham Racing bitter went down very easily, as did the complimentary (two!) glasses of prosecco.

If there was one meal I could have every day it would be breakfast. I’m a huge fan of a full English breakfast. The sight of a breakfast buffet often gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, I can eat as much as I like but on the other I would rather have a better quality breakfast to order. There were both options available at the Redesdale Arms; the buffet was full of staple foods such as grilled sausages and the increasingly elusive black pudding. Added to this was the option for bespoke grilled skippers or freshly-made porridge and cream, for example. I desperately tried to keep up my Lent abstinence from bread.

After breakfast we took a walk around Moreton in Marsh. Truth be told we didn’t stop too long because there’s not too much to do on a Sunday when most shops are closed. And so we hopped in the car I went to Bourton-on-the-Water.

If you want to visit a quintessentially English Cotswold town, Bourton-on-the-Water is the place. Unfortunately, everyone else knows about this and it was full of people even on a pre-season March spring day.

It’s a pleasant town and we stayed for a while walking around the beautiful Cotswold stone bridges and taking in the picture perfect sites. It seems to be very popular amongst the East Asian tourist community, and several of the signs in shops and cafes were in dual languages. We also drove through a couple of smaller villages called Upper and Lower Slaughter. These seem to be less busy just as perfect looking and perhaps would have been a better bet for a leisurely walk.

On our way back home we stopped off at Hidcote Gardens, as no trip is complete without a visit to the National Trust! This was completely the wrong time of year to go, with absolutely no flowers on show. Although I could see plenty of preparation and hard work had gone into the gardens. I think coming back in May would be the best time. Of course, we stopped off in the café for a scone.

I’ve never been much of an advocate of weekend breaks. But this was a fantastic break and I’m grateful to Natalie for booking. I couldn’t help thinking at many points on the trip that our daughter would enjoy looking at these things, or climbing over something. I suppose we can’t help thinking and seeing things through our children’s eyes when we are so well practised at being with them.

It’s really important and enjoyable to spend time just as a couple. If you’re thinking about doing the same, I would definitely recommend a trip to the Cotswolds. Take a car because you need to get around. And don’t eat for a while because as plenty of great food on offer.

So my compliments go to the staff at the Redesdale Arms. And of course to Natalie who, amidst the final weeks of pregnancy, still takes the time to book and think about organising fantastic weekends away.

 

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