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Gorgeous weekend break in Cotswolds

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Last week my daughter thought she’d gone to heaven when we waved goodbye to Mr Muddy and crew and drove off with barely suppressed grins for a girly weekend together in the Cotswolds.

If you have three kids like me, the one thing that’s hard to find, aside from your sanity (alas, that’s lonnnnggggg gone), is time to devote to one child at a time. So that was a massive pleasure in itself, loads of girly stuff like morning baths, X-factor in pyjamas, tea-drinking/ cake-stuffing. But Bruern Holiday Cottages, what a place to do it in – we just struck gold with this place.

They’re 5 star cottages, part of the Astor estate in the village of Bruern, that were converted in the Nineties from their Victorian stables usage into holiday accommodation. I stayed in the converted coachhouse, Sandown, below, which was just stunning – look at this place!

Buern cottage collage
And certainly by the time I’d spotted the cake left for us on the table and the contents of the fridge, below, I had a feeling this might be just the kind of break I wanted.

All the nutrition you need for a balanced liquid diet.

All the nutrition you need for a balanced liquid diet.

These cottages are just perfect for, well anything really – romantic breaks, groups of friends and/or families, because all bases are covered with cottages for 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10 people, and you can book cottages next to each other if you like to go away with other families but keep your own space. There are private gardens or courtyards for many of the properties, and the general grounds are beautifully kept.

outdoors bruern cottages
I guess these guys are competing with boutique or country hotels, so there’s a massive range of facilities.  For little kids, there’s a proper lifesize two-storey Wendy house, below, a little playground and a room next door for drawing and playing (and a sofa for exhausted toddler parents to flop on – God, I remember those days….).

IMG_9611 IMG_9644

Older children have a fab gamesroom with pool table, a piano that’s in way better nick than my own *humph*, table footie and massive TV with movie selections and all that jazz.

But meh to the kids, what about grown-up fun, I hear you cry. Well the good news is that Jamie Dornan is on speed-dial for late night frolics wearing only a loin cloth. Oh sorry, you didn’t mean that? Well then, ahhhhhhhhh yes – the pool and spa. My daughter and I had the pool to ourselves, both times we went, so had full rein on the inflatables and water guns which was great. I would have booked a massage and facial for the following morning except I thought Iris would stage a protest and insist on treatments too (she’s only 7 so good luck on that one!).

What else to tell you? These cottage are self-catering, so you need to think about whether you can be arsed to do any cooking, though let’s face it, when you go on a weekend break you’re usually eating out most of the day, so it’s more of a tea and toast or evening sweet tooth kind of scenario. The decor is English traditional – four poster beds, antiques, the kind of thing that has American tourists drooling and your mum cooing over the Egyptian cotton bedding and The White Company towels and bathroom goodies.

Our bedroom

Our bedroom


The four poster singles upstairs

The four poster singles upstairs

To top it all off, the cottages are in just the best spot for accessing all the best bits of the Cotswolds. The foodie villages of Kingham, Churchill and Nether Westcote are a couple of miles away, a mere bike ride away (and yes, there are really good Giant-brand bikes/helmets you can just help yourself to from the cottage grounds). Chipping Norton, where I spent a lovely weekend not so long back (see my review here) is a ten minute drive away. The gorgeous National Trust Chastleton House is another ten minute drive. Daylesford Farm is around the corner. And so it goes on. Iris and I bombed around non stop for the weekend and could have done so much more. That’s a whole different post, and I’ll give you the low-down on the area next week I promise!

I think I’ve had a quietly held view that The Cotswolds is quite a grown-up place to visit – all those quaint towns with pensioners bussed in to shop in Ye Olde tea shops – but this weekend has dispensed with that opinion and then some. Biking, walking, eating, National Trusting and yes, enjoying the stonking architecture of the area is so easy around here, and the Cotswolds are just so incredibly close, it makes sense to make a weekend of it, don’t you think?

A three night stay at Sandown Cottage (sleeps 4) in November costs £922.

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