After a summer of bad news, we needed a break.
Exhausted from Brexit, the weather, France, Germany, Turkey, we didn’t want the excitement of a flight, so we turned to the old and trusted fall-back: the English countryside. This time, we didn't fancy a plush place this time where you have to dress up in your best designer garb for breakfast either. We wanted to be pampered, look at rolling hills, eat well, and be left alone to read a good book.
Two hours away in the rolling hills of our Cotswolds, we found just the place. Yes, Kate and her tribes are there, but no, they haven’t actually changed anything much. Perhaps they even upped the game, as there are now such lovely places to stay and eat in. Who would have predicted that ten years ago?
The Feathered Nest Inn in Nether Westcote is one such place. Off the beaten track, it nestles into the countryside. All you have to do is arrive there, and the friendly owners, Tony and Amanda, will do the rest. They’ll have a cosy room ready for you (hurry, they only have four!) with a super comfy bed and comfy chairs aplenty, a lovely garden to smell the flowers, and stunning countryside just waiting for your gaze. Perfect? Well, yes, and the other most important item is well-covered too. Delicious food!
The pair had a successful restaurant in Portugal before they came home, and the food is scrumptious. Lots of choices, all great quality, and presented with pride by an international, friendly, professional staff. I mean, a girl from Uzbekistan? But they all look after you as if you were the only guest, so you can relax and enjoy it.
There are lovely walks to be had all around, nothing too strenuous, mind you, but if you absolutely wanted to hike, I’m sure the possibilities would be laid out by Tony the next morning. That’s the sort of service offered here.
Visiting, you get glimpse of the old country, too. Just a short walk along the road, we saw this way of being laid to rest, something I had only ever seen in films.
We were sorry to leave, but we wanted to see the beautiful gardens at Hidcote, and were stunned by the ‘garden rooms’ on offer there, a National Trust gem indeed.
For a little light refreshment before returning to London, we chanced upon The Wild Duck in Ewen, near Cirencester. What a find!
Their lobster / chips / Champagne deal is a steal at £20, with the best chips I have had in ages! (And the naughty people won’t divulge the trick!) It felt almost like being in Italy: the charming waiter from Perugia helped, I suppose, but the place outside was so lushly green and the decor inside so welcoming, you would be forgiven for thinking you had left Blighty and gone to heaven. I hear they are adding rooms to this place next year; I’ll be watching this space.
The very best news? All of this is just two hours' drive away.