2021 is first year in I don’t know how long that I haven’t left the country. I haven’t been outside of England, haven’t got on a plane and the only thing my passport has been useful for is for providing ID. I haven’t even travelled the UK much due to lockdowns but also due to the upheaval and cost of my renovations. Many times I’ve questioned, am I even a travel blogger any more? Well yes, I am lol and I’ll be getting back on a plane this year.
Meanwhile here is a round up of the five hotels that I stayed in this year – all in the UK.
1. Coworth Park
Travel and hotels stays only started in the UK in April and then you were only allowed to stay in self-contained accommodation and dine outdoors! With that being the case, we didn’t have our first hotel stay until May, when there were still some of the milder restrictions in place such as masks inside, the rule of six and social distancing. However, hotels and restaurants were fully open and we could finally enjoy staying in a room other than our own when we did.
Coworth Park was our first stay of the year, I’ve stayed a few times before at the Dorchester Collection Hotel in Ascot and it’s one of my favourites in the UK. We stayed in the Stables which are the more child-friendly relaxed accommodations as opposed to the Mansion House which encompasses more formal rooms.
We had a brilliant time with my parents and my sister and her boys enjoying dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant and more casual dining experiences, crazy golf, a bubble party for Oscar and swimming!
2. Beaverbrook Hotel
Beaverbrook Hotel in the Surrey Hills was a new hotel to us this year. Also a celebrity favourite, we saw Paul McCartney (who witnessed Oscar vomiting all over me) and Zoe Ball! This stately home was once owned by Lord Beaverbrook whose life is honoured around the estate with spitfire planes and wartime photographs. There is also the most incredible art collection including a tapestry by celebrated artist, Gerhard Richter and a poem written for Lord Beaverbrook by Rudyard Kipling.
The bucolic setting of the hotel gives way to the gorgeous pastoral design in the rooms that are located in both the main house and the Garden House.
Beaverbrook was the perfect place to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday in style and we enjoyed meals in both the hotel’s Japanese restaurant and the Garden House restaurant. While for the kids there’s an adventure playground, two swimming pools as well as multiple other activities – there’s even a private cinema which was the first in the UK!
3. The Wild Rabbit
The Wild Rabbit could be one of my new favourite hotels… I even preferred the accommodation to the my beloved Soho Farmhouse.
Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, The Wild Rabbit, owned by the Bamford family, is more a restaurant with rooms or a Modern British Inn (as it’s described on the website). A gorgeous gastropub, this lapin-themed hotel also comes complete with a choice of gorgeous cottages. Booking three adjacent cottages was the perfect choice for my family with my parents in one, my sister and her boys in the other, and Mr S, Oscar and I in the last one. Each cottage was equipped with a full working kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms – it was quite the perfect family stay.
We loved eating at the Wild Rabbit itself one night and the next night was enjoyed dinner at the famous Daylesford, also owned by the Bamfords. We had the best time at nearby Cotswold Farm Park too!
4. Soho Farmhouse
Speaking of Soho Farmhouse … we returned in 2021 and stayed in a child-friendly room with our mischievous toddler for the first time. The child-friendly ‘one bed, one bunk’ cabin was possibly my favourite room type so far! There are two bedrooms, one large adult one and one smaller bunk bedrooms complete with hobby horse and Beatrix Potter books and an en suite bathroom with a lowered sink to wash tiny hands!
Though Soho Farmhouse stays are no longer about long lunches and drinks in the hot tub, we had the best time taking Oscar to the kids club, swimming and meeting the horses. Getting a babysitter in the evening meant we had the chance to have ‘date nights’ at the hotel’s Main Barn restaurant and Pen Yen, the Japanese restaurant.
5. The Midland Hotel
Our only city stay of the year was at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. Sadly it was only a flying visit to this iconic hotel and we didn’t even get to try the famous restaurant by Adam Reid but we loved the beautiful architecture and our spacious room.
But it was a great chance to get a little break and check out Manchester’s version of Winter Wonderland.
That was all the travel that I did in 2021 but I have high hopes for 2022!!