Last week we were away from home celebrating a fiftieth birthday with our friends the Young and Fit. The weather was grey and cold but it didn't manage to dampen our spirits. We stopped off in Stow-in-the-Wold for a wander round the town where I coveted this angel in an antique shop and the birthday boy bought a very fine tweed jacket.
Mindful of a three course dinner to come we ate a light(ish) lunch at Huffkins.
Our overnight accommodation was Billesley Manor Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon.
The manor was first mentioned in 705 AD in the Doomsday Book. During the Elizabethan period the estate was owned by the Lord Mayor of London, Robert Lee.
Imagine my pleasure when I opened our bedroom curtains and looked straight out into the one hundred year old topiary garden!
The Y&F were upstairs contemplating their four-poster bed
before a little ceremonial blowing out of candles.
After our evening meal we explored the topiary garden with the aid of a torch.
After breakfast the following morning
we wrapped up well and went outside to take a proper look.
Not everyone was concentrating on the planting!
I can see ya!
We walked to the small church of All Saints. It serves no community, the former village having been abandoned in the fifteenth century due to plague, and the church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
It was even more cold inside the building than it was outside and we didn't linger, we just stayed long enough to admire this beautiful stone carving.
In the afternoon
we observed the custom of tea
before setting off for a pre-theatre meal in Stratford.
The restaurant had some interesting period features!
We had a leisurely departure the following day after a swim, a sauna and a pilates class, fooling ourselves that these activities might mitigate the damage done by a great deal of eating. (I've since been shopping for a kettle bell!) We stopped for a browse in Chipping Campden on the way home where, you guessed it, we ate another meal!