Recently, on Instagram, I came across the hashtag #TravelWhereYouLive and it inspired me to write this blog post. I’m currently living at home in Buckinghamshire, England, dreaming about hiking in South America and food in Asia and cocktails on soft sandy beaches but I quite often forget to think about how nice it is to have a staycation in England. I live in a little town surrounded by fields and woodlands and cycle paths and I always missed the colour green when I was living in Alicante. Buckinghamshire is covered in countryside. I only have to walk out my back garden to see these fields and when we adopted a dog a few years ago, I can’t even explain to you how excited she was to go for walks, even as a crippled old lady. One time she tripped my dad over because she was so excitable!
A few weeks ago, me and four friends decided to go for a weekend away. We chose a cute house in the New Forest in Derbyshire as we all live in a perfect circle around Nottingham where we went to uni together and it was fabulous! I was so excited to see my girls again that I made an extensive Pinterest board of ideas and it was the best weekend I’ve had in a long time! Here are my top tips for how to make the most of a weekend away in the English Countryside:
Food is always an important factor of any holiday in my opinion so it seems only right to talk about it first! We kicked the weekend of with the biggest lasagne ever made by Zoe although we were very confused when the house only had one fork! Luckily, I’d packed my picnic set so we all had kids plastic cutlery until the reception opened again the next day. I was in charge of the lunches for the weekend and made my favourite sweet potato and mango salad for the first lunch (we had leftover lasagne the next day and sandwiches the day after).
Snacks were also an important part of the weekends menu. Fiona and Lilly were on snacks and we were eating crisps and chocolate until they came out of our ears! Our mums and grandmas also gave us things to take so we definitely didn’t go hungry.
Me and Lilly are lucky enough to have September birthdays and, as it wasn’t easy for everyone to travel to both of us in the same weekend, we had a mini birthday celebration together. Thank you girls for the caterpillar cake!
Prosecco and wine. And a lot of it!
Do an outdoors activity
We were so lucky to have such nice weather and we definitely made the most of it. We went for a long walk on the first day and an even longer bike ride the next! It balanced out the weekend perfectly as a combination of relaxing and doing activities. Turns out, where we hired bikes was very hilly and my thighs we on fire! I can’t remember the last time I went for a real bike ride so it was so nice to do something again that I loved so much as a kid!
We had only 1 main criteria when looking for a holiday house and that was that it needed to have a hot tub! At first we all fancied it but thought it’s not the end of the world if we can’t find one but BOY WE WERE WRONG! I think, for us, this was the highlight of the weekend and I don’t think we’ll ever go away again without one! On the Saturday we spent an impressive 5 hours in the hot tub and got through an even more impressive, 7 bottles of prosecco and wine! We played games, had a good catch up, talked out future plans and got very, very silly by the time we went in for dinner! I’ve read a lot of things about the medical benefits of hot tubs but combining those with the best medicine that is laughter, we all had the best time ever and were grinning like Cheshire cats!
Explore local towns
On our last day we all said goodbye to our lovely little house and I said bye to my pretty princess bedroom and we headed to Ashby-de-la-Zouch. We parked our cars and walked up and down the high street and ended up in a cute little market. We had a lovely little mooch around and bought a couple of things including a TY that we thought was valuable but Lauren only managed to sell it for £1.40! Was worth a try I guess! We then walked to Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle which isn’t really much of a castle anymore but nice to look at nonetheless.
On our last night we were recommended a pub by the receptionist for dinner. We did a short drive to The Cricketts Inn and it was a lovely typical English pub with typical pub food. Everything was absolutely perfect except for one thing: the portion sizes. They were HUGE! Lauren, Lilly and Zoe all opted for fish and chips and asked what the difference was between the small and large. The waitress said that grown men described the large as being like a whale so they went for small and that was huge too! Mine and Fiona’s were a similar size and although I ate more than a normal portion (and I eat a lot!), I still left a normal sized portion of salad and chips! The best thing about it was the starter – fried brie! It was BEAUTIFUL.
Our weekend was perfect. It was so nice to spend some good quality time together as we so rarely manage to get all 5 of us together. As there was no wifi, we all stayed off our phones and played good old family games like charades (sorry Zoe that we never got ‘Maybe Baby’…), went on adventures in the forest, had long long chats and drank and ate our own bodyweights in junk food!
I think a staycation in England is lovely and as long as you have amazing company like I did, there’s not really much that can go wrong!