My favourite places: Ellea Whamond, co-founder of 100 Acres
A Muddy woman through and through, beauty guru Ellea Whamond spends her days in the Cotswolds countryside dreaming up ideas for luxe botanical brand 100 Acres - but where are her top spots?
If you’ve not come across Cotswolds-based 100 Acres, then you’ll want to pick up one of its beautiful bath and body products ASAP (just head the The Indie Store, obvs!). Inspired by the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire countryside, they’re British-made with 100% natural botanical ingredients. Co-founder Ellea Whamond is a massive advocate of the Cotswolds for her creative inspiration, so if you’re looking for a bit of that yourself (or just a great pub lunch) read on for her recommendations.
The Swan Inn, Ascott-under-Wychwood
One of my favourite spots in Oxfordshire, this gorgeous countryside property in Ascott-under-Wychwood is everything you could want from a Cotswold pub and more. It’s cool, cosy, the food is unbelievably good and there are a number of great walks nearby too. It’s also such a good place all year round for drinks or dinner with friends – the fire is always roaring in the winter, and the outdoor garden is heavenly in the summer – I’ve had many a drink here (pre-Covid, of course). You may also find 100 Acres in the bathrooms!
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
I really do think that the grounds of Blenheim are one of the best places in Oxfordshire. It’s perfect for a crisp winter walk (preferably early morning), but is also one of my favourite spots to put a blanket down in the summer for some reading in the sun, or cold drinks with friends. The further away you go from the main house, the less busy it gets, which is great, and I get lots of creative ideas while surrounded by the ancient trees and and soaking up the fresh countryside air.
Burford to The Swan Inn at Swinbrook, via the River Windrush
Another gorgeous Cotswold weekend activity is starting on Burford’s high street and walking along to The Swan Inn at Swinbrook via the bank of the river Windrush. It’s a perfect 1.5 hour round walk, and you can have a drink by the river. It’s heaven on a spring day and you may even find some children selling homemade lemonade by the river, as we have before.
Cutter Brooks, Stow-on-the-Wold
I find it very difficult to leave this gorgeous shop empty-handed. It’s a treasure trove of vintage and vintage-inspired fashion, homeware and gifts, all of which is just impeccably tasteful. Their botanical prints and bamboo cutlery especially I always find it very hard to peel myself away from. They sell online too, which is both wonderful and dangerous!
Dormy House, Broadway
Full of cosy fireplace nooks and surrounded by countless Cotswold walks, Dormy House is definitely a personal and 100 Acres favourite for a weekend getaway. I’m also lucky enough to have lots of family in the area, so we’ve celebrated many a family birthday here. Their Back Garden restaurant is just so good – the celeriac and truffle risotto especially.
Painswick Beacon, Glos
One of my favourite spots in the whole of the South of England has to be Painswick Beacon. The surrounding walk is about five miles, and the view from the top is incredible – you can see for miles and miles. From there, The Painswick is an amazing supper spot and is one of the first places my partner and I ever went for dinner together. The bar is really cool too, perfect for both pre and post-dinner drinks.
Set just back off the King’s Road in a spacious courtyard, Stanley’s only opened back in June but it’s rapidly become my go-to place in London. Inspired by an English country garden, the interior is seriously cool, and the restaurant spills out into the most gorgeous botanical terrace (that’s covered and packed with heaters, so you can sit outside in the winter too). The Tunworth cheese is unbelievable; last time we went, we ordered it three times (seriously).
Thanks to Ellea for her recommendations! If you’re feeling inspired, hotfoot it over to The Indie Store to pick up some gorgeous-smelling Christmas gifts from 100 Acres.