Monday 16 February 2015

A few days away

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!

Click on Miss Cellany to read about the theatre visit.
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!


  1. What a wonderful hotel and topiary garden - pity the poor gardeners who have to trim that lot!

    1. Everything else in the garden was grass so not too onerous a task for the gardeners to trim a couple of times a year. I liked the funny face they made!
      The hotel was a mixed experience. Definitely a case of could do better. But the theatre was fab!

  2. Oh Rosemary. So lovely. I've really enjoyed this armchair journey. Those topiaries!!!!!

    1. Imagine us in the moonlight with a torch. I felt like Alice in Wonderland!

  3. UK and Europe do have the history and wonderful buildings we lack, what a great place to stay.

    1. You're right, Merle, the country is littered with history. The hotel literature stated that Shakespeare wrote 'As You Like It' there but I think that if it were truly the case then they would have dedicated more than just one line of their publicity to it! In the absence of hard fact a great many claims are made for where he was and what he did!

  4. Ha ha. I love you comment on my blog. So that's my problem. I haven't been taking my nightly bile beans!

    1. I know, I had to laugh at the wartime adverts, nothing very glamorous about them, and mostly obsessed with food. (I don't recall ever eating bile beans!)

  5. Thank you for visiting me from Connie's blog and for your kind comments.I enjoyed looking at your photos they bought back happy memories of visits to the UK,many years ago,1983 and 1975.I love the history and we enjoyed visiting many historical properties.That topiary garden is amazing. Unfortunately my gardening interest had not kicked in then so missed many gardens.Maybe next time ,whenever that may be.

  6. Lovely to meet you, Jill, via your blog. Tours of English gardens are very popular now, with even Charlie boy getting in on the act. The topiary garden was a delight. I'm trying to grow my own topiary shape but it's slowly slowly.

  7. Wow! The hotel is a beauty! Very British style...I am sure you have had a pleasant staying there!