This weekend, Ian and I had a 3-night break in the lovely Stratford-Upon-Avon. We left on Friday afternoon a little later than planned after some iPad related drama (!) and decided to drive the scenic route. It may have been a little longer than the motorway but it was absolutely gorgeous driving through the countryside, seeing all the autumnal colours and passing through picturesque Cotswold villages.
We stayed in the Charlecote Pheasant hotel, which is just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon and right next to Charlecote Park, a beautiful National Trust property with a lovely old house to look around and deer running around the grounds.
The hotel itself consisted of several old converted buildings and we were in the old Farmhouse building, up in the eaves.
I was very impressed with our room when we first walked in. It was comfortable, spacious and full of lovely touches which someone as fussy as me always notices such as posh shortbread to have with a cup of tea, soft sheets and good quality towels. Trust me, it’s the small things!
We unpacked, had a coffee and little nose around then headed down to the restaurant for dinner. We were staying on a half-board basis meaning we got our breakfast and evening meal included. I have to admit I was slightly dubious about this as we really enjoy good restaurants when we go away but I was very pleasantly surprised. On the first night we had chorizo frittata and prawn cocktail for starters, roast pork and spinach and ricotta cannelloni for mains and lemon tart and warm fruit sponge for puddings, followed by coffee and chocolates.
All were well cooked and seasoned and the service was excellent. Being a rather fussy diner I did have a few quibbles (paper napkins instead of linen, fake flowers on our table, no black pepper grinder on the table) but they were relatively minor and did not take from our enjoyment of the evening.
The breakfast on Saturday morning was equally as good and we both had the Full English. Feeling very full we decided to have a wander around the very pretty village of Charecot to walk off some calories.
After that, we headed into Stratford-Upon-Avon for the day. We used the Park and Ride which was very easy and dropped us right in the centre of the town next to the market. I insisted we had a look around and I came away with a few nice vintage finds and other trinkets.
It is such a beautiful town that you can just wander around and appreciate the gorgeous old buildings. Stratford-Upon-Avon has a nice mix of independent shops and the usual high street names and I couldn’t resist some shopping – I will show you some of my purchases later this week. Ian had enough after the fourth shop so I sent him off to a pub for a pint and the papers so I could shop in peace!
As I mentioned in my last post, we did have tickets to see The Merry Wives of Windsor at the RSC but unfortunately this was cancelled due to the set not being ready. We did go to the RSC for another exhibition that I had been dying to see and my review of ‘The Waft That Woos’ is on its way!
All that walking and shopping called for some refuelling and there were lots of great pubs and cafes dotted around the town to stop off at. I had a lovely cup of Earl Grey and a slice of lemon courgette cake as Box Brownie Coffee which was incredible! It was the first time I had tried courgette cake and I am now looking forward to trying it out myself at home.
Dinner on Saturday night was even better; stilton-stuffed field mushroom and smoked salmon mousse for starters, we both had the tarragon chicken for our main (absolutely delicious!) and then we both opted for the warm marbled brownie for pudding. A really lovely meal and we even had a pumpkin for company!
On Sunday, we had another wander around Stratford-Upon-Avon, seeing the things we didn’t have a chance to see the previous day. I managed to shop a bit more and then we found a nice pub to watch the football in. The weather had turned a bit grey and miserable so it was nice to hole up somewhere cosy with hot drinks!
Our final evening meal at the hotel was unfortunately my least favourite. The starters were lovely; I had French onion soup and Ian had a goats cheese salad but the main of roast beef was overcooked (I like my beef rare and bloody!) and there was gravy over everything meaning the lovely crispy Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes went a bit soggy. Ian said I was just being fussy but I didn’t really enjoy this meal as much as previous ones. The pudding, vanilla and raspberry panna cotta, was very tasty which meant we finished on a high!
Whether you are visiting the theatre or not, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a lovely city to visit. It has great shops, lovely countryside and lots of good places to eat and drink. We found our two days there a good amount of time to see and do everything we wanted to and, even though we have been together for almost 9 years now, I loved getting away for a few days with my beau!
Finally, you may have noticed the ‘arty’ treatment some of my photos have had – I have now joined Instagram so please follow me at hannahhotcakes.