A guide to our new country escape...
When city life is closing in on you and you’re suffering from urban claustrophobia a trip to the country could be just the catharsis you need. Our current country escape is the picturesque Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, just a stone’s throw away from our Stratford-upon-Avon Laura Ashley store. Picture chocolate box streets (namely villages such as Chipping Campden and Broadway) made from sandy coloured Cotswold stone, spectacular walks, cosy coffee shops, second hand antiques, fresh crisp air and water so soft you’ll leave with hair feeling like its been smothered in salon goodness.
Here is our line up of favourite places…
Daylesford Organic, Gloucestershire
You may recognise the name from Selfridges food hall but the full Daylesford experience can be found in the heart of the Cotwolds. From the brain child behind the owners of JCB, Daylesford is the ultimate destination for organic foodie conscious shoppers. As you can presume from the name, the produce (meat, poultry, fruit, veg) is all locally reared/grown on the Daylesford farms or whipped up in their creamery (cheese, milk and yoghurt). Situated amongst beautiful sculptured hedges, water features and converted exposed brick barns, Daylesford Organic is a real pleasure to dawdle around. If you fancy making a day of it book into the hay barn spa for yoga, pilates and meditation or switch off completely with an holistic massage and facial. For those looking for something a little more hands on there is the farm school (learn how to rear your own poultry or grow your own food) or try your hand at organic seasonal recipes in the cookery school. We think this may be the answer to leading the good life!
Daylesford Organic website
The Gallery at The Guild, Chipping Campden
Attracting a creative hub of local artists and artisan craft people, The Guild is a hidden gem off the main Chipping Campden strip. A covert destination to pick up some local art, have a browse or simply chat to one of the local artists who take it in turn to oversee the gallery. The Guild takes residency in the Old Silk Mill and exhibits a varied mix of local ceramics, photography, textiles and furniture as well as more traditional oil and acrylic paintings. Don’t leave without climbing the steps to take a sneak look into the working studio of Hart’s Silver Smith.
The Gallery at The Guild website
Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, Chipping Campden
For some boutique luxury there is no competing with the salubrious Cotswold House. Steeped in country opulence, this luxury hotel and spa is slathered in good taste. It naturally attracts a “city escaping to the country crowd” with it’s convenient location and stylish rooms souped-up with gigantic tv, Bang and Olufsen entertainment centre and king size beds. You can even hire your very own cottage tucked away in the elegant surrounding gardens which lead up to the temple spa where you can enjoy the benefits of a hydrotherapy pool and Turkish hammam room.
Cotswold House website
Digbeths Café, Tea Room and Bistro, Stow on the Wold
The charming decor and smiley staff make this our favourite lunch stop. The hearty menu is made from all fresh locally sourced and organic produce, along with some tasty gluten free options. As recommended by the waiter we went for the home made fish cakes comprising of salmon, tuna and crayfish cooked in white wine and season with spring onion. We weren’t disappointed!
Digbeths Café website
Miette Chocolate, Stow On the Wold
We stumbled across Miette artisan chocolatiers in Stow on the Wold in the lead up to Christmas, lured in by the window of yumminess. This is a sweet trove of goodies for the cocoa connoisseur and not one for the January detox! Housed in a grade II listed medieval bakery it boasts to be the ‘best smelling shop in town’ with it’s onsite kitchen and small team of on hand chocolatiers.
Miette Chocolate website
Have you visited the Cotswolds? Live in the Cotswolds? We’d love to hear your favourite places! Comment below or tweet us: @LauraAshley__