The Cotswolds is a quintessentially English area of outstanding natural beauty that’s a mere stone’s throw away from the hustle and big city lights of London (well, 120-minutes to be precise).
Though it’s so close to our capital city, The Cotswolds’ charm, natural beauty and picturesque villages will feel like you’ve been whisked a world away to a land that time forgot.
We arrived in the Cotswolds a week after flying back from The Maldives (which was incredible, by the way)!
After a few days rest to get over our jet lag, catching up on Netflix and bright-eyed ‘wake ups’ at 3am, we were raring to experience a little piece of olde England.
Getting to the Cotswolds
Leaving from London Paddington, we decided to take the train directly to Evesham and hop in a taxi to our hotel, mainly because I was far too sluggish to even attempt the few miles walk after gorging on two packets of Haribo on the train (…in addition to my chicken buritto … and two apple pies). I felt so full from all the sugary sweets, I swear if anyone attempted to poke my tummy I would have coughed up cola bottles and gummy bears! Anyway, I digress…
Although the Cotswolds looks rather rural, it has really great transport links by road or rail. It’s so convenient to visit, even for the day from cities such as; London, Bristol and Birmingham. Make your journey nice and simple by booking your train tickets ahead of time (this can also work out significantly cheaper too) – no one likes a scramble for a seat on a train, especially if you’re filled with gummy bears. 🙂
Stay in a stately home: The Wood Norton
So, we’d heard about The Wood Norton Hotel for quite a few months before we finally got to visit, just enough time to pique our interest with some surprising facts about it being a French Royal’s home and the Victorian shower that still stands in the hotel itself!
You see, in the last century, the Wood Norton used to be home to Prince Phillipe, the very last Pretender to the French Throne – which instantly made me feel like royalty – just without the crown or jewels (I need to sort that last bit out).
I instantaneously felt as though I’d been whisked into the glamour and charm of early 20th Century England, a-la Downton Abbey style!
The hotel is beautiful and the rooms were something out of a fairytale…
Wooden panelled rooms, a plush bed and a beautiful bay window to enjoy the rolling hills of the Cotswolds!
One thing that The Wood Norton does better than anywhere else of this stature is its homely welcome and friendly charm. The whole feel of The Wood Norton was elegant, classy and unbelievably friendly – some traits that I don’t instantly put together while at a grand hotel.
Grab your dream car for the weekend!
The best way to experience the Cotswolds is to free yourself of taxis and public transport and get yourself a car for the weekend. But not just any old car – we’re talking about a Morgan! A Morgan Plus 4 to be specific.
And yes, it’s as amazing as it looks! When you’re staying at the Wood Norton, give them a ring in advance to have them help you organise one of these to see the weekend in truly British style.
I’ve never been the biggest car fanatic but I fell in love with this car and I want one of these of my very own now!
This traditional British Car is a masterpiece, even if you’re not into cars, I think you’ll be able to appreciate how special it is. The only thing that could make this beast any more special was a name, which I decided had to be Bertie!
As soon as I got to grips with the handling of the car, we headed straight out to explore so much more of the Cotswolds and visit some of the most picturesque little villages in all of England. Take a look at them here.
Roast rabbit, creme brûlée and pink bubbles
After a whole day exploring three of the closest and arguably most beautiful towns in the Cotswolds I darted back into little Bertie and made our way back to the Wood Norton in time for cocktails by the fireplace before supper.
Before cocktails though (the espresso martinis here are pretty famous), I drew a bath, in what I feel is the grandest of all baths, and made a reservation for an evening meal for the restaurant downstairs at The Wood Norton.
Between the bath, the martinis and fireplace – I was snug as a bug in a rug and absolutely ready for dinner. Spurred by the rumbling in our tummies, Yaya and I decided to turn up a bit early for our reservations with the hope that we might get seated early. My rationale was that if we ate early enough – we could head back to the bar and carry on trying out the selection of delicious cocktails on offer.
As it turns out, we were one of the first to arrive and were seated immediately. (YASSSSS!!!! 30 minutes later, we would not have had this privilege as everyone seemed to arrived almost at the same time).
We decided to commit to a bottle of amazing Rosé prosecco while surveying the offerings of the menu like hungry gannets. (I was this close to eating the menu!)
We both decided to go for a 5 course meal starting with a smoky amuse-bouche.
…and a palate cleanser of pear sorbet.
before our delicious mains of the most delicious beef fillet (perfectly cooked)…
… and roasted rabbit!
My mum used to eat lots of rabbit when she was young but I’d only ever thought them as the cute bundles of joy that come from a magician’s hat. This made it me a little hesitant at first but I finally took the plunge and tried it. It was delicious and so worth it!
After a little rest, we dived straight back in for dessert – a classic creme brûlée that’s so moorish and one of the best I’ve tasted out of France… and I’m really particular about my creme brûlée!
Dinner over, we waddled over to the bar where a merry party of guests filled it’s plush chairs and we proceed to take on our very own cocktail challenge (i.e. taste them all).
We had such a wonderful time at The Wood Norton Hotel and exploring the pretty villages of the Cotswolds. I’d wanted to do this for quite a long time and I just can’t wait to return and do it all over again! 🙂