Heading out of London for the weekend with my favourite girls was always going to be fun! For a change of scene and this year’s birthday celebrations I decided to leave the hustle and bustle of London for some civilised country fun. The itinerary was fluid, there was to be lots of champagne, good food, a horse ride (token country activity) and lots of laughter… with all this in mind, so begun our country adventure…!
Our Journey – Angel Cars
We decided to take a cab out of London so that we could sit back and enjoy – the whole journey took 2 hours with traffic. Angel Cars provided a comfortable service for seven very excitable ladies and all for a very decent price of £350 for the return journey.
Our Destination – Chipping Norton
Friends recommended Chipping Norton and upon further research, we also found it to be a popular destination for celebrities who appear to retreat there for escapism just outside of London. We figured if it was good enough for them, it would be good enough for us. Chipping Norton is a market town in the Cotswold Hills in the county of Oxfordshire and the town’s name means ‘market north town’, with “Chipping” (from Old English cēping) meaning ‘market’.
Our Accommodation – The Kingham Plough
We had booked The Kingham Plough in Chipping Norton which we discovered was one of supermodel Kate Moss’s local country haunts when in the Cotswolds. In her honour we quietly toasted her love of partying and promised ourselves that our weekend would be equally rock n roll! Apparently Ms Moss isn’t the only fan of this drinking establishment. David Cameron, Alex James and Elizabeth Hurley have all dropped in, good to know we were in such good company.
The staff at The Kingham were super friendly and accommodating. We had arrived armed with bottles of champagne for when the pub was closed (we were told that the surrounding area was a quaint quiet village). We had booked the entire floor above the pub, which had four country chic bedrooms that were spacious and perfect for our getaway; our little haven for the night.
Bed and Breakfast was included in the stay and offered everything you could possible want: pancakes, full on fry ups, eggs every which way and juices, coffee and tea. We opted for fry ups that did not disappoint.
We also booked Sunday lunch here and most of us opted for the traditional roast, there was a choice of beef, duck and chicken. We washed down our lovely meal with delicious wine and elderflower bellinis. Our bill was around £60 per head which included plenty of wine and fizz, coffees, starters and desserts, as well as our mains. Pretty decent considering how much we had ordered and the food was definitely worth it. Hearty and comforting, just what you’d expect from a good roast.
B&B at The Kingham Plough costs around £90 per night, it’s cheaper if you book two nights.
Country Walk – Destination Daylesford
After breakfast we headed out for a muddy country walk to Daylesford, a unique farm, a gentle 45 min stroll away. Daylesford is a sanctuary of beautiful shops, a lovely spa, a deli with exquisite organic food, coffee shop, and we even caught a glimpse of Cotswolds resident David Cameron, who was visiting with his wife Samantha and his children.
Country activity – Horse Riding at Turpins Lodge
Half of our party had also booked a horse-riding lesson as a way of embracing country life. Armed with liquid courage (just the one) we took a cab to nearby stables in Hook Norton which was a 20mins drive from The Kingham, and made our way to Turpins Lodge for our lesson. On arrival we were given the essentials: boots (if we needed them) and a helmet, and were introduced to our lovely horses; Phoenix, Mickey, Ted and Spooky. The staff at Turpins Lodge were extremely patient and very encouraging during our half hour lesson, some of us hadn’t been on a horse for over two decades, and the remainder were pretty out of practice too! In our lesson we’d all had a go at a rising trot which was pretty impressive for newbies, we were told. We then continued the remainder of our lesson with a half hour hack, taking in the fresh country air and catching up on our hectic London lives. Turpins Lodge also have a holiday cottage on site, available for short breaks which is great for riders who want to make a weekend of it. Even non-riders could enjoy a break in the countryside, in a lovely comfortable character cottage with an outside hot tub, sky tv, wifi, jacuzzi bath, rayburn and underfloor heating. There is also lots to do in the area including Blenheim Palace, Silverstone, Bicester Village and much more. We’ve definitely earmarked this for our next trip.
Dinner – The Wild Rabbit
We had booked dinner at The Wild Rabbit, a recent winner of the Michelin Pub of the Year title, mainly because of its proximity to our residence for the night but also because of its reputation for fantastic food.
Having had an afternoon that consisted mostly of liquid fuel we were all ravenous and decided to go the whole hog! Three courses, because we knew our entertainment would end once dinner did, and the pubs close at 12pm. The food was every bit as good as we’d heard, starters were interesting and the main course generous in portion. The menu changes seasonally, so we noticed quite a bit of fig on the menu whilst we were there, the atmosphere was relaxed and the company delightful – what a lovely end to a wonderful day. The bill again was very reasonable, three courses for most of us plus lots of wine and fizz came to around £70 per head.
Captured moments – Panasonic Lumix GX7
We went old skool with this trip and took photographs on our fabulous Panasonic Lumix GX7 as well as our new iPhone 6
Summary of our adventure
Whilst we don’t think we out-partied Kate Moss, we did consume a lot of bubbles and enjoyed everything the country had to offer. Hanging up our London hats for a few days we fully embraced our country wellies for the weekend. Cotswolds, we’ll definitely be back very soon…