I have wanted to visit the Cotswolds, with its pretty villages and gorgeous scenery, for ages so when Mark and I got the opportunity to have a child free weekend I knew exactly where I wanted to go!
With the kids safely with their hosts for the next few days, we packed an overnight bag each and headed off. The weather on our journey was awful, with torrential rain and virtually no visibility at one point, so we stopped at the services and both ended up getting a hot chocolate - it felt more like a winter break than a summer one! Roughly three hours later we arrived in the Cotswolds and decided to head to Burford before driving on to our hotel for the night.
It was still raining when we parked in Burford, but it didn't affect the prettiness of the village whatsoever. Fortunately Mark had thrown our Superdry coats in the boot just before we left, so we weren't fussed about the rain. We walked round from the carpark and found a little cafe to have some lunch in. It was gorgeous in there, it had traditional exposed stone walls and at the back was a really cute garden that would have been lovely to sit in on a sunny day. The food was lovely and there was so much of it! After our lunch we took a wander up the high street and pottered in and out of the shops - the little bookshop was my favourite!
We left Burford and drove on to Cheltenham to our hotel. I'm not going to say much about the hotel as it was a major let down. We paid a lot of money for what was described as a 'luxurious executive room' however what we were given was not luxurious in the slightest. The bed was so low to the floor it was like a futon, the curtains didn't cover the windows properly and the whole room was tired. Mark spoke to the front desk who explained that the hotel was going through a renovation and that unfortunately our room hadn't been renovated yet!! He also said that they were fully booked so couldn't move us to another room. This really did put a dampener on our spirits as we had paid over £250 for this room and it was nothing like the pictures on their website. Before we checked out the Manager asked to speak to us and he apologised for the issues with our room. He gave us a small refund and told us if we wanted to stay at any of their other hotels to give him a call and he would sort us out a nice room.
Our destination for the morning was Bourton-On-The-Water. I had visited the Cotswolds many years before as my Uncle and Aunt both worked at the Wildlife Park and I had vague memories of Bourton-On-The-Water being so pretty. My memories were correct - it's absolutely beautiful there!
First stop was the Victorian Christmas shop - you can't beat a bit of Christmas in July! we bought a little reindeer that the shopkeeper (who looked suspiciously like Father Christmas) told us was called Dave. We strolled through the village looking in all of the shops and picking up a few items for the house. The weather was glorious and the village soon filled up with day trippers like us. We bought an ice cream each and sat on the edge of one of the bridges to eat them. There was such a lovely atmosphere in the village, children and dogs were splashing about in the shallow river and everyone was enjoying the slower pace of life.
Anne Hathaway's Cottage
After a few hours we drove to Stow-On-The-Wold and had a wander around there. The village was lovely but as it was a Sunday there wasn't much open unfortunately. Before heading for home we took a drive through the countryside and I realised that we weren't too far from Stratford Upon Avon, home of Anne Hathaway's Cottage, something I have wanted to see for forever!
20 minutes later we were parked and walking round to her cottage. Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare and this is the cottage that she grew up in. It is also where Shakespeare visited her before they got married. The cottage was so pretty with its thatched roof and gardens full of bumble bee friendly plants and flowers. I was so pleased that we had got to visit it.
Our weekend away was wonderful and although I love to take the kids everywhere we go, it was lovely to spend some time with Mark and enjoy visiting places that we knew the kids wouldn't enjoy that much. We will definitely return to the Cotswolds as we want to take the kids to the Wildlife Park as I have wonderful memories of visiting there as a child.
The Cotswolds were the perfect destination for our grown up weekend away!