We thought we were all sorted to go up to my brother's little "holiday house" in Pickering, Yorkshire for a few days over our anniversary. It had all been arranged weeks ago, well before they went off to France for their holidays, I had the keys safely in my bag and we planned to go up on Friday evening and stay till yesterday. Just because I wanted to check the house number, I rang my SiL's mum up in York to be met with a strange sort of silence at the other end of the line when I told her we were going. Turns out she's arranged with some friends of hers to go for the week - but hadn't rang SiL to check it was OK, assuming that as they were in France it would be fine for them just to go if they wanted to.
Not a good start to our little holiday. Especially as it was Thursday already, and one of the busiest weekends of the year, and knowing from experience how difficult it is to find somewhere nice to stay even when we did have more notice......
So instead of spending Friday afternoon packing, and the evening travelling, we stayed home and spent hours on the phone and internet looking for somewhere, anywhere, to stay.
Eventually we got booked into the last room at the Chester House Hotel in Bourton on the Water, deep in the Cotswolds - lovely. We headed off after lunch on Saturday and the drive was really good, roof off the car, sun shining and the traffic behaved quite well. We headed off the main road once we'd got past Milton Keynes and instead drove along the country roads, through some beautiful little villages - it was all very pleasant.
The hotel was fine, nice and comfy room, though not a great view from our room - but what could we expect with our such last-minute booking, The staff were very helpful and friendly and the hotel is completely non-smoking, which is such a treat. While we were wandering around the web we found a place that looked amazing, but they couldn't offer us the 3 nightz, or the particular room hubby liked the look of so we're saving that one for another trip later in the year hopefully!
Bourton is soooo pretty, with it's river running right through and all the tiny little bridges over it. A plethora of tea-shops and antique shops if that's the sort of thing you like. A lovely place to wander around - very much on the tourist trail but quieter in the mornings and late afternoons when the tour busses have left.
We had quite a lazy few days exploring the area. We went to Hailes Abbey - ruins of a Cistercian Abbey, up to the Broadway Tower - folly built on the 2nd highest point in the Cotswolds, the Lavendar farm near Snowshill, and the Model Village of (and in) Bourton on the Water itself. Apart from that we toured around the beautiful villages of the area including Snowshill, Broadway, Burford, Bibury, Lower Slaughter and others. Photos will follow.....
On the evening of our anniversary we went to La Villa Romana Ristorante near Stow on the Wold and had a delicious meal. I had a starter of assorted mushrooms in a herb sauce with garlic croutons, then veal escallops with dolcelatta cheese and a tomato sauce. I should have stopped there but couldn't resist trying the tiramisu - which was fantastic, but tragedy of tragedies I couldn't finish it! The restaurant is lovely, very plush indeed and the food was fantastic - and very generous - to be recommended if you're ever in the area.
Well, we had a wonderful break, the weather was pretty good - a few late evening showers and a torrential downpour on Monday night, but somehow we managed to avoid all that. One day we'll get up to Pickering, but on this occasion tbh I think we were better off being looked after in a hotel rather than having to do any of that "house-y" stuff up in Yorkshire. When it comes down to it there's nothing much nicer than having your breakfast cooked for you, is there?