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I’m not usually one for a Winter holiday – frankly, if I want to be cold, I’ll stay at home – but there is something about a weekend in the Cotswolds at this time of year that I find irresistible. However, with little annual leave left as the year came to a close, I had to settle for a quick break that I could squeeze in over 48 hours.
And what a break it was! My other half and I honed in on Kingham when deciding where to book, as there are direct trains from London that take just 90 minutes.
Perusing Sykes Holiday Cottages, we were immediately taken with Pear Tree Cottage, a gorgeous two-bedroom that looked like the quintessential Cotswolds home, with a roaring fire, massive bath that enjoyed views over the village, and a pretty garden.
The cottage is in Bledington, about 20 minutes walk from Kingham station, and it fulfilled our Cotswolds fantasies nicely, situated as it was within walking distance of a lovely pub and overlooking a church which dates back to the 12th century.
Check-in was a breeze, and after taking delivery of our supermarket order (there is a newly opened village shop in walking distance for essentials, but for a bigger shop you’ll want to get prepared in advance), we cooked a big dinner and settled in for a night of Netflix and staring at that fire (yes, we were obsessed with it).
Spend a cosy afternoon in front of the fire
We could easily have not left the house for the entire weekend, as it was so warm and cosy – but with an abundance of things to do nearby, we wrapped up warmly and dragged ourselves out.
Happily, we didn’t have to go too far, as one of the best pubs in the area, The King’s Head Inn, is a few minutes walk away. After oohing and aahing at the dream homes in the village, we stepped in for a delicious Sunday lunch. We started with a cocktail in the main bar area, which is filled with classic church benches, before moving to the dining room.
It was packed, so definitely book ahead – and happily for this dog lover, four-legged friends are welcome too. There was a choice of classic dishes and more experimental offerings, but for us, it was all about the classic roast, which was as hearty and well-cooked as we had hoped for.
Full of roast dinner, we walked to Kingham village – cue more lusting over stunning homes – and stopped in at The Wild Rabbit for drinks and games by the fire. I’ve heard good things about the food here, but couldn’t get a reservation as it seems to be very popular with weekenders, so book well in advance if you want to eat.
One raucous game of Trivial Pursuit later, and we set off on the walk home, gazing at the stars as we did so. A note about taxis – they are wildly expensive around here, so either drive yourself, or expect to walk a lot if you aren’t prepared to pay £18 for an eight minute journey.
After a very comfortable sleep, we made a plan for our second day, and decided to head to the village of Oddington.
First stop was The Horse & Groom for a light lunch surrounded by their gorgeous Christmas decorations – the perfect pick-me-up after a long walk.
We meandered through the village afterwards, stopping at The Fox at Oddington for a post lunch beer…yes, the aim was to try every pub we went by!
The cottage is decorated in a classic country style, and offers every comfort
The ultimate goal for the day though was a visit to Daylesford Farm, a mecca for organic produce, pretty homeware and the kind of Christmas gifts everyone dreams of finding under the tree. The Wild Rabbit, mentioned earlier, is also part of Daylesford.
It is a gorgeous setting, with cottages, a spa, a cookery school, florist, and shop. If I’d had the foresight to plan ahead, I’d have booked in for a massage, but alas, I had to make do with a peruse of the beauty shop.
After whilng away some time browsing the aisles and chatting to the friendly staff about the food, we stopped for tea, cake and people watching in the cafè – this is exactly the kind of place you could imagine Meghan Markle visiting, and the clientele are as well groomed and glamorous as she is.
With darkness falling, it was time to head back to our home for the weekend, pack up and head home.
We had enjoyed the perfect pre-Christmas pick-me-up of good food, fresh air, and sitting about by (you guessed it) the fire, and I could have stayed forever. Pear Tree Cottage really did feel like my own home for the weekend, and I would return in a heartbeat.
But my real life called, and we had to go, so after one last look at back at the gorgeous stone cottage, I dropped the keys into the safety box, and with a sigh we headed back to London.