It's hard to decide what the best part of this weekend was:
1) Having the 48 hours to relax with my beautiful lady
2) Spending the whole time talking and catching up with the friends
3) Discovering a whole new part of the country
4) Eating delicious fresh food!
After arriving in Birmingham on Friday evening we started the weekend catching up late into the night.
We woke up at 11am on Saturday and enjoyed breakfast before driving to Cheltenham to start what is called 'The Romantic Drive' across the Cotswolds. It is miles of beautiful countryside circumnavigated by a road that goes between each of the villages - some with only a few houses and some with town squares but all with a history dating back to the English Civil Wars.
After starting the drive we came across Winchcombe and signs to Sudeley castle, before we knew it we were driving down a narrow road and approaching the castle grounds. After parking we were wandered into a tent where we were told about the history of the castle and what to expect if we entered. As it was such a nice day we decided that strolling around the grounds, rather than the inside of the castle, was the better choice and it really was. The grounds were beautiful and every corner held a new view - either across the Cotswolds or of the castle.
It was so nice just walking and talking and stopping to take ridiculous photos like these:
At Broadway we stopped off for lunch in a local pub for what turned out to be delicious food that was SO filling! Although we managed to save room for a sugar mouse - Laura's first!
We also stopped off at the lavender fields at Snowhill. It was too late to enter the lavender farm and enjoy the official tour of the area but we managed to sneak into the fields - avoid the bees who were loving the lavender- and get a few pictures!
The drive continued around to some places with great names:
Chipping Campden: where all the houses are honey coloured,
Moreton-in-marsh: part of the old route between London and Worcester,
Stow-on-the-Wold: The highest point of the Cotswold and the place where the Civil War started,
Upper and Lower Slaughter: Picturesque villages that have the River Eye running through them crossed by stone brides - how very romantic.
By the time we arrived back in Cheltenham it was time to refuel and where better than Whole Foods! Our hunger meant we were probably not the best customers, our eyes were bigger than our belly and after initially filling up our trolley our better judgement took over and what we purchased was about half of what we put in!
On Sunday our English weekend continued with a trip to a Pick-Your-Own (PYO) to collect strawberries and raspberries. It was the first time I had ever eaten a raspberry that wasn't made into jam or covered in cream- and picked off the bush it was DELICIOUS!
After collecting a punnet worth of fruit - for £4 (bargain!!!) we sat in the sun to enjoy an ice cream before returning for a roast dinner and a stroll with the pup.
It's amazing how a drive up the motorway can transport you as if you are on holiday. We returned feeling relaxed and refreshed and can't wait to go back!!!