English Country Break
It has now become one of our longest standing family traditions, renting a cottage somewhere in the English countryside and spending a week there in summer and now that we are all grown up and married we still love taking the usual nostalgic trip with our parents who started it all. The only difference now is that we have to rent a mini van instead of a car. We tend to take the wild route and visit near by villages and towns, wonder around the local markets, eat pub food and have home cooked dinners which we take in turns preparing in our cottage kitchen every evening.
We visit parks and Castles and this year since it was our first visiting with our Son Leo we got to experience a different side to the English country, one that is more toddler friendly. Which means shorter routes, more frequent breaks, more snaking, more play parks and downscaled railway adventures. We actually totally loved it and so did Leo. I was worried the flights might be tough on him but he was so very well behaved. Yes I had a whole strategy planed to keep him busy and entertained. Favourite toy, snack, iPad, favourite book, new toy, iPad, new book, snack and so on. When we landed in Heathrow we still had nearly three hours drive to reach the cottage in Evesham. He surprised us all and we made it to our destination feeling like we had reached the top of a mountain. The moral of the story is, your kids may surprise you so unless you take that trip you will never know if you can survive your toddlers. Obviously go prepared; do your research, make sure you have enough toys and books and snacks to keep them busy. Take plenty of their favourites but also get new ones you can give to them on the plane or during your trip. Also be realistic and make sure to plan a holiday that suites your child’s age. If you are visiting England you are really spoiled for choice in that regards.
We stayed at Woodbine a 17th century Cottage with thatched roofs and wooden beams. We visited a small railway train that stopped at a play park where the children could play in a wooden caste structure. We also went to Sudeley Castle, the resting place of Queen Katherine Parr. Naturally the castle is rumoured to be haunted by a certain housemaid who worked there. Needless to say everyone is a little on edge whilst walking through the castle grounds and I quickly realised just how much when I peeked through a window of the castle down into the garden where a tour guide was taking a small group of people around on a guided tour. They initially must have thought I was some kind of an apparition since they gasped and held their breath. Then I could see the tour guide reassuring them it was just me, a tourist, and they all started laughing. So just to enhance the experience I gave them my best royal wave which they seemed to appreciate. I don’t think I will ever forget their faces when they first caught a glimpse of me though!
We also visited various villages but somehow the picturesque Burton on the Water stood out more than the others with its low bridges and traditional stone houses. What makes the trip one of the most memorable is of course the fact that we got to share it with the whole family and Leo got to spend some precious time with his grandparents and his aunt and uncle.