I visited London for the first time back in 2013 and ever since then, I´ve become mildly obsessed with everything British. I love their accent and how they can swear and still sound so proper! but most of all I love their traditions and tea time! So going to the English Countryside quickly became one of my top places to visit! Luckily for me, my husband is totally on board with my English cravings, so much that as a joke he gave me for Christmas and Ancestry kit to prove that I have some British in me and turns out I have 4%!! hahaha that´s enough for me!
We went in early May and it was a wonderful time to visit! It was still a bit cold but Spring was in full bloom so everything looked so green and gorgeous! and we were pretty lucky because it only rained one day for about 30 minutes and that was it! As a tip be aware that drivingon the left side is more difficult than it seems, I was pretty relaxed about it until it was my turn behind the wheel ... oh my it´s so scary! I felt like all the cars were going to hit us! and our biggest mistake was to rent out a Manual transmission car, don´t do it! you are already too stressed trying to stay in the right side of th street that you don´t need the added pressure of shifting gears with your left hand.
Everytime I think about the English Countryside I picture those cute Inns or B&B´s in historic houses so finding an awesome hotel was one of my priorities. After researching different locations and hotels I decided on No.131 Chentelham and it was the best decision ever! I swear that this hotel stay made our trip even more memorable and definetely one for the books! Why did I love it so much:
There´s so many cute towns in the Cotswolds that you can easily spend more than a week exploring them all. We visited a handful of towns around Cheltenham and here is my recap:
Day 1: We started off with an awesome breakfast and head off to Burton on the water, strolled around it, shop a bit and had a cup of tea because it was freezing! later on, we continued to Upper Slaughter, Stow on the Wold, Broadway Tower and then we were it just in time for our dinner reservations at the highly recommended one Michelin Starred restaurant at The Wild Rabbit Inn by chef Tim Allen. The food was spectacular! and I loved the rustic and "homey" interior of the restaurant. When we planned this leg of the trip we knew we wanted to have dinner at The Wild Rabbit in so we chose to visit towns that were nearby. I liked that we could stay as much or as little as we wanted in every town.
Day 2: This day I made a "cool" driving loop from our hotel (I have to admit I even put google maps printouts with our routes on the itineraries... LOL. The highlight fo the day was our afternoon tea at Lords of the Manor Hotel, first of all, isn´t it such a proper name for a hotel! I love all the quirky and proper names that the English Countryside has. Having afternoon tea is absolutely a must while visiting England and especially in the Countryside. When I was researching which place to go for tea I came across Lords of the Manor and it was delicious, I felt like we went back in time and all of the sudden we were in this magnificent manor with beautiful views of the rolling hills. We also stopped at Painswick, Bibury which is the most popular town in the Cotswolds mainly because of Arlington Row and the Sawm Inn which is so picturesque!
We were so stuffed after the afternoon tea (we ate it all! we had to) that we had a quick and relaxed bite to eat along with cocktails at the hotel´s bar Crazy 8 and it was the perfect way to end the day. The hotel also has a very nice and cozy living room with a fireplace so we snuggled up on a couch and read for a while before going heading to bed... I must admit basically we were waiting to be less stuffed to go to our room and eat the homemade cookies and cocoa.
Day 3: After lots of scary and stressful driving through the winding roads we decided to stay at Cheltenham and explore one of the biggest cities in the Cotswolds. We took a leisure walk around the multiple parks and headed to the main street that´s filled with cute shops, restaurants, and pubs. We ate lunch at a local pub and had the most amazing meat pie! We then rented bikes to explore the outskirts of Cheltenham and biked to Ellenborough Park hotel about 20 minutes ride. This hotel is housed in a 15th century renovated estate surrounded but perfect manicured grounds! The hotel itself is worth the visit but we, of course, came here for Afternoon Tea. We got a little table in one of the hotel´s nook and it felt so private and decadent.
We had a pre-dinner cocktail at a nearby bar, and walked to the star of the trip, dinner at Le Champignon Sauvage, this two Micheli Starred restaurant is managed and ran by the chef David Everitt-Mathias and his wife Helen, when you see it from the outside you wouldn´t imagine the quality of the food and service that awaits inside. From start to finish they made us feel at home in this restaurant the food speaks for itself! We had a terrific time and we quickly found out why they have two well deserved Michelin Stars. Helen took great care of us and made our meal memorable. This was by far the best meal of the trip and I highly recommend coming here when you are in the countryside.
Some pictures of the deliciouse food we had a Le Champignon Sauvage, got caught up in the moment and forgot to take pictures of all the courses but trust me when I say it was amazing food!
One of the things I love the most is to to plan a trip! It gives me so much joy! I must say I´m an excesive planner haha I will usually make a detailed itinerary on excel and write down everything... from the big things: flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. to the small details like how to get to and from the airport, distance between the things we are going to see and an approximate cost of every activity but I know not everybody is as crazy as me! So I wanted to share some of the websites and tips that I usually use when planning a trip.
When I plan a trip sometimes I already know the destination but other times is more flexible and it is based on number of days off, weather or if we find a great deal! Planning trips is my hobbie LOL. Sometimes I´ll start rough plans of trips that I want to do and then once they become more "real" I get going with the small details.
Here are my travel tips:
Hope this was helpful and let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Travels!