Well, it’s safe to say I pulled off a pretty epic surprise! Last month, I showed up at a cozy brunch spot in Chelsea unbeknownst to my best pal, Alexis, of The Lexpat’s Passport. There were tears. There was jet lag. And two weeks of much needed friendship (which includes free therapy sessions of course). While I spent most of the time on the clock, we did get to embark on a day trip to the Cotswolds which is always a pleasure.
We started out with a cozy cuppa at Barnsley House in Cirencester. One step inside the front door, and I vowed to myself I’d book a stay for my next visit. A crackling fireplace beckons you to one of the wingback chairs next to the window, and once I spotted a copy of Patterns by Rebecca Atwood, it was game over. We popped out to the gardens before the sky opened up, strolling through tulips, blueberries and poppies of all colors. We even spotted a wedding ceremony setup for later that day!
Next we took the short, winding drive to the tiny village of Bibury. What it lacks in size, it makes up in charm with its babbling streams, white-feathered patrons and idyllic row of cottage homes. You may know it as Arlington Row! There’s nothing more peaceful than the symphony of nature you experience strolling through this village, and it seems to be the perfect getaway from the chaos of daily life. New retirement plans? I think yes.
As we started our journey to Stow-on-the-Wold, we passed an expanse of yellow flower fields that were just too gorgeous to pass up. I wish I could say that we made the responsible, adult decision to pull over only where we saw an entrance that didn’t require creative thinking. But alas, we are in our mid-20’s and can still use the excuse of making poor life choices. We pulled over to a dip in the road and hopped a decrepit stone wall for our encounter with nature, and while I’m pretty sure I stuck my hand in a plant I’m allergic to, the pictures were all worth it. As was the #dirtybootsandmessyhair that resulted from the visit.
Stow-on-the-Wold is a market town at the top of the hill, known mostly for its wide array of antique shops. Taking after my paternal grandmother, I’m a big collector of Staffordshire dogs. So when I spotted a mom + pup pair, it was love at first sight!
We ended our day trip with afternoon tea at the Slaughters Manor House, whose stylish pink tea room is somehow luxe and homey at the same time. We sipped on jasmine tea and noshed on raisin scones as Michael Buble softly crooned Me & Mrs. Jones in the background. The rain outside offering a soft pitter-patter too so as not to be forgotten. Naturally, I was overflowing with contentment.
My visit across the pond was short, sweet and exactly the soul food I needed to tide me over until November. Did I mention I’m spending Christmas in Great Britain? Until then, I’ll project these memories on anyone who will listen, and there’s more European discoveries where this comes from. So stay tuned for my latest Barcelona recap soon — bridal fashion show edition!
Obsessed with all things English countryside? See a sunnier visit to the Cotswolds here to find out just where some dreamy lavender fields are located (outside of Provence)!