Wednesday, 12 December 2018

TRAVEL: Falling in love with the Capital of the Cotswolds

TRAVEL: Falling in love with the Capital of the Cotswolds
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When I was growing up I didn't live too far from the Cotswolds, so we would often spend days out at Cotswold Wildlife Park, exploring the little villages and going for walks. However, when I went to university up in Durham and then moved to the East Midlands I didn't visit the area as much anymore. That was until we had children and fell back in love with the Cotswolds for family walks, delicious pub lunches and all the beautiful places to visit. Somehow, despite living so close for so many years, I had never visited Cirencester which is considered the 'Capital of the Cotswolds'. It's quite a title and one I was intrigued by, so when the chance came up to visit we were all very excited to see what it had to offer.


Red Letter Days are well known for their impressive selection of experiences, days out, spa retreats and meals out, all of which would make the perfect gift for any event. But they are perhaps less well known for their range of nights away vouchers that span the whole of the UK. There are theatre breaks, spa breaks, boutique hotels, city breaks, country breaks and breaks involving all the delicious food you could ever imagine. Something for everyone, including families. Their Two Nights Country House Escape for Two (£299) may initially look like it is only going to be suitable for couples and of course it is aimed at that, but some of the hotels included in this voucher welcome children too. This transforms it from being an escape only for two to the perfect voucher to use for a short family break. Red Letter Days often have discounts across their website, so it is always worth keeping an eye out for any good deals you can get on their short break vouchers.
After a lot of research and comparing between the twenty six different hotels you can choose from with the Two Nights Country House Escape for Two voucher we finally settled on booking our stay at The Kings Head in Cirencester. It is actually possible to buy a voucher for two nights solely for this hotel for the same price, rather than include the whole twenty six hotels, if that's what you or the lucky recipient would prefer. We settled on this hotel for many reasons, including the stunning location in the heart of Cirencester, the fact that they allow up to two children's beds in your bedroom for an additional cost and the stylish interior really stood out to us.
I was nervous about us all being in one hotel to be honest - Would we all end up with no sleep? What would we do once Isabella and Poppy had gone to sleep? Would we wake each other up? But in fact it was a total breeze and a really positive experience; we're certainly not put off staying in hotels as a family just yet! When we arrived at The Kings Head in Cirencester we were greeted by such friendly staff on reception who checked us in and instructed us on how to find our room. We were very lucky and had been upgraded, which meant the room had that extra bit of space we were so grateful for. We were also lucky with the location of the room we ended up with because it was at the top of the hotel, so was very quiet. 
The room was such a generous size with a large (and very comfortable!) bed, a roll-away bed for Isabella and then we brought our own cot for Poppy. It is an additional £30 a night for a roll-away bed and if you don't want to take your own cot then it is £15 a night. That price does include breakfast for your children too. In the room there was also two arm chairs and a little table, which ended up being our evening saviour as we could fit them in the bathroom. So every evening we would move them in there, set up all the snacks and card games. There was no laying in the bath or sitting on the toilet all evening that I had been so worried about! Though I would say that the Wifi was very slow, if existent at times, so we couldn't watch anything on our phones/tablet. Our room also had a kind of balcony/walk way that you could access through the door in the bedroom and the views over Cirencester were absolutely stunning, especially at sunrise. 
We all slept so well on both nights we were at The Kings Head, which is testament to the comfort of the beds, the noise levels and the size of the room. You could certainly have fitted in another roll-away bed comfortably, if you have two children who sleep in beds. This saves the cost of having to stay in interconnecting rooms, making using this Red Letter Days voucher an affordable option for a luxurious short break away I think. When we went down to breakfast we were blown away by the options and menu they had to offer. We're talking French Toast with Blueberries, Porridge, the tastiest Pain au Chocolat I've ever tried, Croissants, Cereals, Avocado on Toast, Full English, Meats, Cheeses, Breads etc. The type of hotel breakfast you could only dream of every hotel serving, not to mention the incredibly friendly service from all of the waiting staff. I honestly can't speak highly enough of the breakfast at The Kings Head; it's well worth visiting just for that! 
Once our tummies were full we went out to explore Cirencester a bit more and this is when we fell in love with the place. It's beautiful cobbled streets, array of independent shops and cute little cafes all make it feel so homely, if that makes sense? There was a lovely market selling local produce on one of the mornings we were there and it really felt like that had a nice balance between well-known high street shops and independent smaller businesses. The perfect place for Christmas shopping or going for a wander around. There was a coffee shop or cafĂ© almost every way you turned, although it is worth noting that many of them aren't so ideal for smaller children (small and quaint, so not very pushchair friendly). We went to Malt & Anchor for lunch on one of the days, which is just across the road from the hotel. It serves delicious fish and chips (takeaway option is available too), with their curry sauce being one of the best I've tried. I'd highly recommend a visit there if you're visiting Cirencester. 
We also wandered up to Cirencester Park for one afternoon, grabbed a hot chocolate from the converted horse box just into the park and Isabella scooted around. It was the perfect way to spend an autumn/winter afternoon in Cirencester, so peaceful and spacious. Overall, we simply fell in love with the Capital of the Cotswolds and can't wait to visit again. It would be a dreamy place to go just the two of us one day, mainly so that we can eat and drink our way around all the quaint cafes.
Have you visited Cirencester before?


Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)


Helen x
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16 comments

  1. The Cotswolds are our go to place for a little couples only break as it's only about an hour away from home, we've not been to Cirencester yet though. The king's head looks like a beautiful hotel, with lots of luxurious treats, glad you all had a lovely time away

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  2. I grew up not far from here in the beautiful cotswolds. There are some really lovely places to stay, eat, and visit and your trip looks amazing. That accomodation looks fantastic!

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  3. We went to Cirencester briefly this year but would love to spend more time exploring the town. I think these vouchers from Red Letter Days are great value and make a lovely gift

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  4. We love the Cotswolds and had a fleeting visit to Cirencester when we were last there but would love to go back to spend more time there and explore.

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  5. I love the Cotswolds. So cosy and quaint. Looks really elegant here too - plus the food looks lovely.

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  6. I haven't been to Cirencester, it looks like a lovely place to visit.

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  7. I live so close to Cirencester and drive past off but not ventured there yet. What a lovely hotel to stay at, decor is impeccable

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  8. Ooo looks like you had an amazing stay. not been to the Cotswold's before, but it looks lovely xx

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  9. The cotswolds is on our list of places to explore and we are yet to go. The breakfast at your hotel looked amazing! So nice and neat and just the right portion too. Off to check the red letter days website now as never thought of using them for short breaks!
    Mary Louise

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  10. That accommodation looks AMAZING! I've visited The Cotsworlds before but never the captial. It looks a lovely area and one I am adding to my list

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  11. I grew up not far from the Cotswolds either, but I've never been to Cirencester! It all looks lovely though, and that seems like a really lovely quaint hotel.

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  12. I've never been to the Cotswolds! I know, it's shocking! I really want to go though - especially having seen your breakfast photo!

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  13. We are adore the Cotswolds and I would love to go here next. We often use Redletterdays for gifts for friends and family. Beautiful photos!

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  14. I have never been and it looks like I'm missing out! The hotel looks really nice too.

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  15. I didn't even know the Cotswolds had a capital. It looks really picturesque.

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  16. We visited the Cotswolds for the first time last year and I fell in love - would love to explore some more of the region

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