The Beauty of the South West

If Kent is the garden of England, than the fibres of England unite in Wiltshire (E M Forster).

Having the fortunate hassle of too many holidays remaining at the end of the financial year, Mr. Husband and I decided to take a few days away from the trials and tribulations of London and run away to Wiltshire for a few days. I now wonder why anyone would consider leaving the country for a holiday when we have the perfect sunshine and the perfect getaway more or less on our doorsteps.

We decided to pack our car to the brim and drive 2 1/2 hours down the motorway to a little bed and breakfast called Summerhayes situated near Westbury. Before I proceed any further here, I have to say you will definitely need a car to get around. The South West has so much to offer but unfortunately not within ease of access to public transport. At least not when you have limited time available to explore. As we drove up to the gates, we were instantly treated like royalty when the large wooden gates opened automatically on our approach. As we reached the front door, it was opened by the owners and after being shown around the property, we were settled in the sun glazed conservatory with a pot of coffee and home-made muffins. It was a wonderful setting but as I walked through the door, I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable as if I was intruding in someone’s home and felt I should sit on the naughty step for not taking my shoes off. In the morning we were greeted by freshly cooked croissants, fresh fruit with natural yoghurt and a menu of local produce listing several varieties of a cooked breakfast. Again, sitting in a stranger’s breakfast room surrounded by their Mother’s Day cards was somewhat unnerving for me.

The trouble with owning and running a bed and breakfast is that you are permanently on call. When Mr. Husband once ran the call bell, he was welcomed by a distressed owner exclaiming: “Oh, what now?!?” I have to say that we were somewhat easy guests and never asked for everything. Although Mr. Husband accepted this in good nature, I can imagine it could be particularly offensive to people (myself included). Elements of the house showed its potential as a family home, all the more highlighted when we could hear the snoring of the guests in the next room. Fortunately they arrived on the last day but sharing breakfast with them around an intimate, family dining table was all the more awkward when all I could hear as I looked at him was his snoring the night before…

The following day as we asked the whereabouts of a post office in the local newsagent another customer offered to post our cards on his way home. I’m not sure if he noticed the somewhat bemused expression on my face. Both my husband and I were amazed that people would even talk to others let alone offer to run their errands for them. Having packed a picnic that filled two picnic baskets to the brim, we were able to limit our eating out to only two nights. The first night on our hosts recommendation we had dinner at the Green Dragon restaurant in Lavington. The value for money is astounding. I ordered garlic bread with cheese as a starter for £2.00 thinking it would be one or two slices but was astonished when a whole loaf of garlic bread, wrapped in tin foil arrived. The main meals were smaller than expected which meant there was still room for the White Chocolate and Malteser cheesecake, although with white chocolate and maltesers being my two most favourite things, my eyes were most probably much larger than my stomach.

The second night we ate at The Churchill Arms a very lovely British pub just down the road from Summerhayes, our host did not provide particularly favourable reviews but if you look beyond any preconceived and condescending ideas, the pub had a charming atmosphere. I was surprised that underage children were entering and enjoying their evening meal, even sitting at the bar. Then again, with not a single curse word uttered I’m not surprised. The food was delicious and excellent value for money. I just wish more pubs in London were like this. The two waitresses could not do enough for you and even the music was refreshing. I don’t think I have ever been in a pub that has played John Lennon and Imagine:

Each evening my husband and I enjoyed our hosts’ hot tub and as a I lay there and gazed up at the twinkling stars scattered across the crystal clear sky, I was in a completely different world. One of the downsides of this crystal clear sky is the lack of light pollution. Walking back from The Churchill Arms with no streetlights meant the streets were quite dark and for someone used to London streets it was a little unnerving. Then again, I had just survived dinner with Twinkle (not it’s real name) below so I had already faced my fear head on:

Cynophobia aside, Wiltshire proves that Britain has so much to offer, even the food is tastier with all businesses having pledged to support the local farmers. It’s ideal for a weekend getaway but with so much to offer, you will find yourself pining for the green hills, the stars, the peace and like me you will be counting the days until you can return.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. grandmac
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 21:17:08

    Can you take me next time please? I wouldn’t mind Twinkle!!


  2. Lucy
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 10:04:36

    Wiltshire is mine and Rob’s favourite holiday destination, and we often talk of one day moving that way. We love the Kennet & Avon Canal, and there’s something very relaxing about spending a week on a narrow boat, living a slower pace of life. The countryside in Wiltshire is stunning, and you’re right that there’s lots to see and do. I’m glad you had a lovely time, even if the B&B felt a bit awkward at times!


  3. Rubyslippers
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 19:14:31

    Sounds lovely Lydia. I do like all the little photos of your trip that you included. A nice article thank you. You are right this country does have a lot to offer if only the weather was more reliable.

    Next time include a photo of you in the hot tub! he he he he he : ) xxxxxxxx


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