a year ago, we planned a trip to Vietnam for my big birthday – but obviously with all the pandemic it soon got cancelled; we then replaced it with a trip to the Highlands – both places that I have always wanted to go, and again this was not possible…. so here we are in the lovely Cotswolds in a hotel named Thyme, which coincidentally gives you nature and time to stop and rest…… its always been a tradition to do something on my birthday as December is that quieter time before the xmas rush, when things are out of season. I totally forgot how beautiful all the little villages are in this area – even new builds are constructed in that sandy soft stone that seems to blend into the environment …. the hotel was just getting back on its feet after the 2nd lockdown, but the vast open plan rooms really allow for a lot of space, so you really felt safe. its an easy going hotel, younger staff, pretty pastels of pale pink, soft greys and chalk. the food was very simple and tasty and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a bit of peace and quiet surrounded by lovely walks and pretty villages. There is also a lovely shop in the hotel selling basket wear from Colombia and Ghana and silk and cashmere clothes, all beautifully made and mostly commissioned by the owner of Thyme herself. even if you are not staying there, its worth popping in to take a look and a bite to eat at lunch or dinner.
we ventured to Tetbury, which is a village full of antique shops – all selling pretty much similar things, mainly that washed out French painted look, but there are a few different shops – our favourite being a modernist furniture shop that sold classic Prouve, Periand and Eames and contemporary Spanish paintings. the whole house is beautifully presented by a Spanish couple, Gallery BR – you definitely would want some of those pieces, but as they are real collectibles they are pricey. there is a lovely utilitarian shop, similar to Labour and Wait, called the Fig store. we ate food at Quayle’s Corenerhouse, which was again very simple delicious light food – I have never seen so many furniture shops in one village. the next day we took a walk around Coln St Alwyn, where we lunched at the New Inn serving tasty burgers and nearby to see the church and graves where the Mitford sisters are buried at Swinbrook and then a quick stop in the village of Bibury, once voted by William Morris as the most beautiful village in England. it definitely is a pretty part of the English countryside.