Do you fancy a weekend in the Cotswolds? When Mother Hen, my nickname for A, posed this in an email, I jumped at the chance. Yes, yes, yes, cried my over-worked self. When she asked me what I wanted to do, my list was pretty simple: walk, pub lunch, visit a few boutiques and head out for dinner. Of course, being a cracking Mother Hen, she fulfilled all of my demands – and more.
Three years had somehow swept by since I last retreated to the Cotswolds. It’s so much closer to London than I remembered, making it just the perfect destination for kicking yourself out of the big city, grabbing your Hunters and Barbour jacket and making the most of one of Britain’s best natural beauties.
Just over an hour from Paddington and I’d arrived in Kemble, where A picked me up and drove us through some country lanes to pretty Cirencester. Soon enough we were perched at the bar in deli-restaurant Made by Bob’s watching the chefs kick up a storm in the kitchen and drinking a glass of wine. The food, the staff, the atmosphere – all delightful.
Stomachs full, we turned our attention to browsing the town’s adorable shops. Boutique 3 and Sue Parkinson were two standout indies, both stocking a brilliant selection of premium labels, including Eileen Fisher, Joseph and Chinti and Parker.
Later, after A cracked open the prosecco for me and P, who had joined us for an overnight jaunt, we grabbed a taxi into Cheltenham and into two-storey bar No 131 where the barman crafted the perfect pisco sours. Dinner was at a brasserie called Flynns, which also got the thumbs up from this hungry threesome.
The next day, after A whipped up scrambled eggs on toast for all three us and we said out goodbyes to P, A and & I donned our walking gear and hiked Cleeve Hill for a couple of hours, taking into breathtaking views and some muddy pathways, along the Cotswolds Way (and stopping for a breather, as pictured).
Our reward? A booked us in the most picturesque country bolthole (complete with not one, but two roaring fires) that is The Green Dragon Inn in Cowley where lunch was polished off with a fine apple and crumble pudding.
With late Sunday afternoon soon creeping upon us, A dropped one revitalised Londoner back off at the train station. A short but very sweet, and memorable, weekend in the Cotswolds. Just what this city girl needed.