Early birds! Get your Mothering Sunday sorted
Everywhere gets so darn booked up for Mothering Sunday – as you’ll know, if you’ve ever spent the week before desperately trying to nab a restaurant reservation only to find it’s Burger King or bust. So in the interests of being super-organized, we’ve decided to get in there early this year with our guide to what to do with your mother – or your children – on Sunday 26 March (I can think of a few suggestions that aren’t quite in keeping with the spirit of the day, but let’s leave that there). Here are Muddy’s mega Mothering Sunday picks…
Family Sunday lunch – don’t worry, you don’t have to cook it
As regular Muddy readers are aware, I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of our region’s many, excellent local pubs (*hic*). Some of my favourites for a family lunch include (*drum roll please*)… The Perch in Binsey, The Muddy Duck in Hethe, The Nag’s Head in Great Missenden, The Miller of Mansfield in Goring and The Greyhound in Rotherfield Peppard, owned by a certain Anthony Worrall Thompson. For something a bit different with kiddie catnip animals attached, The Green Dragon Eco Farm & Centre in Hogshaw is hosting a pop-up Sunday lunch, cooked by Raymond Blanc-trained chef, Stephen Bulmer who will be using the farm’s own rare-breed beef and organic vegetables.
A family walk (that’s not the school run)
If the weather is looking good (we can but hope), tell your kids to can the moaning about their legs being tired and head off for a nice family stroll. We’re spoilt for choice for scenic surroundings in our region but your starter for ten includes the stonking grounds of Chastleton House (the house itself is newly reopened too); Blenheim Palace in Woodstock with its 2000 acres of Capability Brown landscaped gardens; Stowe gardens near Buckingham (because why stop at one Capability Brown success story?); Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury, the Rothschild family seat; the more bijou and rustic Waterperry Gardens near Wheatley, which is offering free entry to the gardens for mums on 26 March.
Let them eat cake
I, for one, will never turn down the opportunity to scoff a scone and I’m guessing that you’re partial to an afternoon tea too. Allow me to suggest the ritzy Stoke Park, with its tea served in the Orangery with a lakeside view, luxury country house hotel Cliveden, just across the border in Berkshire (they cater to kids really well at afternoon tea here), or city slicker-favourite Soho Farmhouse in Great Tew – although you’ll need to splash out on an overnight stay too to eat there. Fancy a jaunt to London? The Berkeley Hotel‘s long-running fashion-themed afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea, is an oldie but a goodie (all biscuits should come in the shape of a stiletto I think). Or – curveball alert – The Spice Merchant in Henley is doing an Indian- themed tea, with mango lassis and Indian carrot cake. Finally if you’ve got little ‘uns who are mad about trains, you might enjoy a chug through the countryside in the afternoon tea carriage of a Chinnor Railway steam train – mothers travel free on 26 March and get a free flower posy. Cute!
Mother/ adult daughter jaunts (no kids allowed)
Looking for something grown-up and child-free to do with your mum? If you’re partial to a Jacuzzi’n’manicure, Danesfield House Hotel has a two-person spa day package (£180 per person), involving various treatments, lunch and use of all the facilities. Missenden Abbey has a weekend wine-tasting package for £149 per person, involving a sleepover on the Saturday night, 25 March. Escape to the Cotwsolds with a mum-pleasing day around Daylesford (warning: bring your credit card and a back up). Finally, how about a London shopping trip avec maman? Central London is so much calmer and more pleasant on a Sunday than a Saturday. Jump on the train to Marylebone or Paddington (don’t forget shops close at 4pm on Sundays so start earlyish), and have a wander down the villagey boutiquey Marylebone High Street, before heading to Selfridges to flex your credit card. The iconic department store’s Mothering Sunday activities are still tba but they usually involve prosecco and pampering (yes please).
After all that exhausting shopping – what troopers! – you’ll definitely need a cocktail-based refreshments before heading back to the station – try The Harcourt in Marylebone (above), an old pub that’s recently had a chic Scandi makeover.