More than ever we need to be supporting our hospitality industry that has been so reliant on foreign travel – and I’m happy to do my part! This new series on my blog is called ’24-Hrs In’, and I’ll be discussing some of my favourite destinations that I recommend in the UK. Let’s start today with a good one – The Cotswolds.
Just one hour away from London, and 40 minutes from me, is a magical place in the UK that you might be familiar with – The Cotswolds. Thatched cottages and elegant stone dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries… this place has me written all over it! Here’s what I would get up to in 24 hours.
But I guess if I’m going to level with you, these are some of the things that I think we have been missed most about travel- great hotels, great restaurants, and great shopping.
10AM – Set off on your journey by car or train. It’s quite easy to get to: the main stop, Kingham, is just one hour away from Paddington station in London and 40 minutes through beautiful countryside from myself in Northamptonshire.
11AM – Arrive in The Cotswolds! Before checking into your hotel, I would stop at the gorgeous Daylesford Farm. I’m not sure a place could be more me if it tried! The iconic farmshop takes full advantage of its location. They have so eloquently captured it here: “Vegetables, fruit and herbs are picked each morning from the Market Garden and travel a few yards into our award-winning farmshop and kitchens. Next door is their dairy and Creamery, their farm kitchens and organic animals, who roam freely on the surrounding organic pastures.”
12PM – By the time you finish going through Daylesford’s shop (and believe me, I don’t think I’m being generous enough with the time scales here because you could literally be there all day, see links below to shop my faves), you’ll definitely have worked up an appetite and how convenient – your hotel has an incredible restaurant with an emphasis on local produce. My choice is the family-owned Thyme Hotel and Restaurant. They have the most gorgeous characterisation of it online : “a botanical breather away from life’s bustle” … I am literally swooning. No two rooms are the same, and there is a true dedication to bringing nature into their space (currently crying with happiness but I digress). Short of buying shares and joining their family, I try to tell everyone I know that about this hotel tucked away in the Cotswolds. *for the next activity, you’ll want to grab a cab and not drive, it can get a little messy*
2PM – What better way to continue the day than with a local spirit with one of the best you can find worldwide : a visit to The Cotswolds Distillery. You can organise a tour around the distillery, tasting along the way to your heart’s content. I always like to pick up a bottle or two of the harder to source spirits and keep as gifts in case I need one… or frankly just open it up myself on a special night.
4PM – Head back to your hotel a little bit looser than when you first rolled up and enjoy the space. I think I often get quite antsy about making sure I’m hitting all the right spots when I visit a location, but for an overnight stay, I really try to make a little time to unwind and decompress.
9AM – Wake-up and shine! I love going for runs in new areas because I find it the easiest way to get to know the nooks and crannies of the area I’m exploring. You really get to know an area by seeing the residential properties and people watching as you run by. Once you are back from your run, grab a complimentary breaky at your hotel with delicious seasonal produce.
11AM – Before heading home, you cannot leave without a visit to Station Mill Antiques. Please note : I wear a comfortable outfit and come fully caffeinated as I am on a mission to find special elements to add to my home on a constant basis. And if my home doesn’t need them, I’m buying from friends and family. Any excuse to get my hands on a little piece of history with so much character.
Depending on where you live, this is the ultimate connection to nature and a real slice of British heritage. I would love to hear your thoughts on the area and where you like to visit. Oh and if you have any areas in the UK that you would like me to write about, please let me know below!