While I would like to tell you that I completely planned for this blog post to be the way it is, the truth is that I somehow managed to leave my proper big-girl camera on during the first day of our trip, completely draining the battery before I even got a chance to really use it. Great. Luckily I had my iPhone as backup and actually, it was quite nice not to have to lug a big old camera bag around. I also liked being a bit more relaxed with my photos so you’ll notice the shots are a lot less polished than usual.
With my fiancé Matt’s birthday being in July, a staycation tends to work out really nicely as the weather tends to be pretty good. (Though we are in the UK…). This year, I decided to take him to the Cotswolds as neither of us had been before and we’d heard so many good things. On the day that we drove to the Cotswolds, it was actually pretty rainy, though thankfully this turned out to be the only day with crap weather. We didn’t let if put us off and made our first stop at Stow-on-the-Wold. The drizzly rain gave us the perfect opportunity to duck in and out of cute shops and stop for coffee and cake at Huffkins Bakery & Tearooms.
We then checked into our Airbnb which was located in the village of Painswick. It was a really sweet coach house with all we could need for a short stay including a log burner (something I always have a soft spot for) which I could just imagine keeping toasty in front of on a colder night. Our time at the Airbnb was brief and I woke next morning on Matt’s birthday to prepare a quick breakfast of croissants and tea before we hit the road to Cheltenham where we stopped for a stop of shopping. I was really impressed with the choice of shops and restaurants in Cheltenham and we did quite well with Matt spending all of his birthday money and even picking up a duvet for our new kingsize bed from John Lewis.
After a pitstop at Five Guys (overpriced but so good), we headed to our next stop, Ellenborough Park, a sprawling 15th-century country hotel where we were booked in for the night. Before checking in, we headed to the spa where we both enjoyed express massages that were simply heavenly. I’d been experiencing a knotty back so it’s safe to say, it was much needed! We then made our way to the spa and outside pool for an hour or so of further relaxation before heading to our room.
Our room was absolutely huge with ‘the best views in the hotel’ according to the concierge and our very own roll-top bath in the bedroom which was a lovely touch. It wasn’t long before we were getting ready for dinner in The Restaurant (after flooding the bathroom, oops!) where we experienced some seriously fine dining. Genuinely, I didn’t even know what half of it was! While we felt very fancy with our arty dishes, we both agreed we were much more of a hearty meal kinda couple. With very full bellies, we grabbed drinks at the bar and took a walk around the ground of Ellenborough, taking time to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
After treating ourselves to a lie-in and filling up on the breakfast buffet, Matt and I checked out of Ellenborough Park and jumped in the car. Being so close to many of the Cotswolds villages, we managed to squeeze trips into both Broadway and Bourton-on-the-Water. Broadway had some really lovely shops that we enjoyed browsing and while Bourton-on-the-Water was incredibly busy, I can totally see why it is dubbed the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds.’ We stopped for pasties and Mr Whippys, sitting in the sun by the water, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere before tearing ourselves away for the drive home.
I would thoroughly recommend a trip to the Cotswolds, there’s so much to do and see and it was such a lovely relaxing break. If you enjoyed this style of blog post, let me know as it was really nice to put together and a lot less pressure on me too! And if you’ve any suggestions of where else we should visit in the UK, let me know in the comments!