How to enjoy a wet weather holiday…
When you book a holiday in June, even in England you’re probably not expecting it to throw it down with rain the entire time. However in true British fashion when it did we still got in the car on Monday and headed down the motorway to the Cotswolds for a mini break, waterproofs in the boot and lot’s of layers packed.
Travel and Check In
The easiest way to get to Stow on the Wold (which is where we were staying) is by car. I believe you can get the train however it would then be a taxi into the actual village. If you are driving all street parking is free, which is a god send because there are no car parks for any of the hotels. I came to Stow two years ago with my mum and stayed at Stuart House which I would highly recommend, however this time I picked to stay at The Porch House because it’s the oldest inn in England and I love a historical building. The staff were all delightful, the room was super cosy (which is even better as it was so miserable outside) and there was complimentary fudge!
Journey Detours and Dinner
Despite the rain we decided to stop off on the way to make sure we really made the most of our trip. My mum is always in the know for the best stately homes and she had recommended we go to Snowshill Manor on the way and it did not disappoint. It’s possibly the wackiest place I’ve ever been due to the fact that it’s stacked full to the brim with an eclectic collection of thousands of objects, gathered over the years by Charles Paget Wade, whose motto was “Let nothing perish”. It’s quite bizarre but in the best way possible and I can’t quite put it into words so you’ll just have to check it out yourself. Plus it’s the perfect rainy day activity because the whole collection is inside the manor house and it’s only a short walk to the the tea room.
We chose to dine at the hotel on our first night so we could just climb a flight of stairs and fall into bed afterwards plus the menu was fantastic. I can’t stay away from a camembert and luckily the Mr is the same as me when it comes to loving cheese so it was a no brainer to kick start our holiday by sharing one. Baked to perfection and with enough bread for scooping (what is it with places not giving you enough bread for dipping) He followed it up with a delicious Monkfish with new potatoes and pancetta whereas I went for the veggie option of goats cheese and red pepper ravioli with pesto. Perfect comfort food on the abnormally cold June evening. Nicely full we headed upstairs and climbed into our very comfy bed.
Long Walks and New Friends
After a delicious breakfast and hope in our hearts that the rain would stay in the clouds for at least a little bit we set off for a nice long walk. We picked up a pasty and some chocolate from local shops in the village for a snack lunch and energised ourselves with a decadent hot chocolate from the New England Coffee Shop. I haven’t used a paper map for quite sometime but we decided to give it a go none the less and buried our phones deep in our backpacks and set off. What I didn’t realise about cross country walking was just how many animals we would have to interact with. Don’t get me wrong when they are cute like sheep is fine but when a herd of cows are thundering towards you it’s less fun.
There are so many places to walk to but we decided to go for the big one and visit all the ‘chocolate box’ villages in one go. Stow on the Wold to The Slaughters (yes that is a place) on to Bourton on the Water. Would highly recommend a pit stop at The Slaughters Inn because that is a long walk!
I love quaint little village attractions and the The Model Village in Bourton on the Water is no exception. Yes we strolled around pretending to be giants despite the drizzling rain and throughly enjoyed ourselves. With feet beginning to slightly sting from walking so much we set off back to the hotel for a much needed hot shower.
Posh Pub Food
We could have driven out of the village for dinner but that wasn’t really the vibe of this trip. So we decided to hike the five minutes down the road to The Bell. I’d visited before and knew the food was good so it was an easy option. The Mr started with the coconut and sweet potato soup whereas I opted for more cheesy goodness with the double baked Lincolnshire Poacher soufflé which was so rich and delicious I almost asked for the recipe. I followed this up with the chicken and leek pie and the Mr went for the ham, egg and chips. The perfect comfort food our weary legs needed.
Birds, More Birds and Long Drives Home
I love animals so when I discovered there was a Birdland in Bourton on the Water it was straight on my list. It’s not for everyone and I am always a little hesitant on places that keep animals in captivity but I can assure you all the birds were happy and it has the David Attenbourgh seal of approval as he did some filming there. Even with the damp weather it was great, despite the animal encounters area not being open! It’s not huge so it won’t take the whole afternoon but you could combine this and the model village together plus a pretty cool maze which we didn’t get time to do but wish we had. Yes that is a photo of me with a dinosaur as there is a little dinosaur discovery section to Birdland and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.
Before we started the drive home we fuelled up on some delicious cakes from the Bakery on the Water as the rain had stopped and we could enjoy sitting in the garden – coats still on of course. It’s a gorgeous little stop just by the Motor Museum (which we wish we had been to but it’s on the re-vist list) and you can sit by the river Windrush and watch the world go by. Even with the damp weather it was bustling and they served the nicest raspberry turnovers which paired perfectly with a english breakfast brew. Sad to be leaving and thinking of when we could come back we set off back to equally rainy London.
Other places I would recommend checking out for dining, shopping etc.