Nesting takes many forms, and before Henry was born, my sole mission was to plan our summer travels. Mostly, this was because I knew we had to jet back to the States just one month after his due date. As a result, I wanted to keep the momentum going, and ensure we didn’t go into the same hibernation mode we experienced after Margot was born. Please note: the newborn bubble is dreamy, so don’t burst it before you must. Especially with your first. But life with an active toddler and an April newborn made for a much different vibe the second time around. I knew being housebound wouldn’t work out well for us. As we toyed with where to spend our summer holidays, we decided to dedicate our travels to the UK. We could still get out and explore, but in the event of an emergency, everything would be familiar. After two weeks in the US (and as a way to decompress), our first weekend trip together took us to the Four Seasons Hampshire. Our second getaway was a long weekend in the Cotswolds, for a bucket list stay at one of the cottages at Daylesford Farm. We’ve long loved the Cotswolds, and this was our fourth visit since moving to London. I’m actually just realizing that this may be our first year since moving here that we haven’t planned a weekend Cotswolds trip? We decided to try out East Devon and Cornwall this summer instead. But I have a feeling we’ll make a point of returning to the Cotswolds next year. We really just love it that much. As per usual, we rented a car, and left early one morning to drive the two-ish hours to the farm. Though we could have gone directly there, we opted to stop on our way for lunch at The Woodstock Arms, and to explore Blenheim Palace. We’d strolled around Woodstock and the grounds of the palace once before, but visiting in summer was a totally different vibe. We loved it so much that we left as annual members, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit it’s now expired without us making any actual use of the pass. Whoooops, this is what happens when you make decisions while addled with baby brain. After this little pitstop, we hightailed it to Dalyesford, where we checked into the Apple Store cottage. I’m genuinely surprised we ever even left, because it is objectively perfect. We walked into an open plan kitchen, dining, and lounge area. Our booking included a surprise welcome gift, which ended up being a complimentary heart-shaped cutting board. Hearts are the official symbol of Daylesford, though I never quite got the backstory — you just notice them everywhere. You also notice that the decor is impeccable. I left wishing I could do a complete overhaul to our flat, replacing anything with a touch of color with various shades of oatmeal, cream, and taupe. It was all extremely calming, with only fresh flowers and bunches of lavender offering the occasional splash of color. My biggest regret is my suitcase included no white linen to wear (because, again: small children). My second biggest regret is that until this stay, we didn’t know wtf an Aga was. We learned when we called the staff and asked why the OVEN was on. Isn’t that so DANGEROUS for children?!!?!? They were like, ummm… we can turn it off? But then it takes a day to cool off. And two days to heat back up. So… then you can’t really cook any of the delicious food we left you. Sooooo…? I mean, they were extremely gracious considering how stupid we probably sounded. But I will say that it’s odd to me to have an oven you keep on 24/7 in the middle of summer. Yes, even in the UK! We certainly weren’t aching for air con, but the kitchen area was warm, all day. Am I missing a trick here? Obv at the same time, I now dream of having my very own Aga in my very own Cotswolds cottage, just because it’s all so damn QUAINT. ANYWAY. Back to the delicious spoils they left for us. The cottage featured a stocked bar with complimentary bottles of red, white, and rosé (all their own label, but made in France), plus ingredients for the perfect G&T, lest you forget you’re having an idyllic British experience. The kitchen came with freshly baked bread, eggs from the farm, cheese, jam, milk, fresh juice, pasta, tomato sauce… It basically was like someone went grocery shopping for an exhausted set of new parents and told us to put our feet up. WHICH THEY PRACTICALLY DID, because included in our booking were two complimentary spa treatments. Hello, private massage mornings, sandwiched in between a fresh breakfast and a farm-to-table lunch. Where on earth have you been all my life? pre-treatment tea Other perks of the stay were the Bamford spa products in the bathrooms, and full containers of Daylesford laundry soap if we needed. (Fellow parents will recognize just how lovely a gesture this truly is). As a guest, you also get 10% off at any of the shops. There’s a massive Daylesford store attached to their restaurant, and a smaller shop near the spa. Plus a florist, I think? I don’t know, honestly. If I wasn’t in that sweet, hazy newborn bubble, there’s a very real chance I would have walked in as myself and cycled out, effortlessly polished, in a white linen pansuit, with a baguette and a fresh bouquet of flowers in my front basket, tiny fluffy poodle mix in my lap. It’s just that kind of place. Whether it’s factually correct or not, I feel like I passed a bunch of tiny shops around the grounds, each selling all you need to complete this oddly specific scene. It’s a bit Goop-esque, if Goop was run by Diane Keaton instead of Gwyneth Paltrow. For meals, we basically had breakfast and dinners in our cottage. On some nights, we ordered takeaway pizzas from the Daylesford restaurant on-site. Other days, we picked up accoutrements for cheese boards and charcuterie plates, and snacked away. On Sunday, we went out for lunch, and LOVED The Fox at Oddington. We sat in the garden, the sun was shining, the Sunday roast was on point. Sidenote: I always want to write en pointe. And in this specific instance, I’m picturing my Sunday roast doing ballet, and you know what? I wish I could tell you I’m following Hemingway’s rule of write drunk, edit sober. I’m not. Writing about a trip a year after it happens is just super tricky, as it turns out. We spent the rest of our weekend driving around to our favorite local villages, including Burford, the Slaughters, and Bourton-on-the-Water. In Bourton, we ate ice cream and ducked in little book shops. We stopped on Monday for lunch at the Kingham Plough, which was lovely, but we sat next to a family who was… distracting? I was distracted because their two young children were horrifically behaved — complete with wrestling practically under our table, bare feet on the tables, and toys getting tossed in the air, all while their adults mostly ignored them. Jeff was distracted because their father kept calling his own parents mummy and daddy. We left with a LOT to discuss. Unfortunately for the restaurant, it’s really the only thing we remember. But I did find the restaurant itself charming, and I recall thinking the food was good! After each daily drive, we went back to our cottage to relax and have dinner, and attempt our new bedtime routine with two babies. We managed to get them both down by 7 pm each night, and it was at the Apple Store cottage that Henry slept 12 straight hours for the first time in his little life. This obviously called for wine in the little garden off the front, chatting and relaxing and even — gasp! — reading for pleasure. We drove back refreshed and relaxed and, most astonishingly of all, well rested. For that reason alone, I’ll always be happy to look back on our little family weekend in the Cotswolds, and ideally start planning a return sometime soon. xoxo! ashley
The post english escapes // a family trip to daylesford farm appeared first on the lazy travelers.