Big photo post this one, so brace yourself.
The biggie being our Cotswolds half-term break. Me and Rach long have a tradition of going away in February, to beat the winter blues, and this year was a return to the Cotswolds. We stayed in a cottage in Shipston near Stratford upon Avon, and the absence of going to the more fairytale parts of the Cotswolds (Burton on the Water, Stow on the Wolds, Broadway etc) made it a different experience for me. The children are now mature enough to appreciate the historical places we go which is really good 🙂
We drove up after the last day of school on Friday, which turned out to be another 7 hour trek, and arrived late in the dark. Saturday was a pottering day round Shipston, which is a lovely little town which I could easily see an older Newt relocating.
Sunday was London. We got a Family Ticket (about £60) which not only let us get via a hour long rail journey, but also gave us unlimited bus and tube travel. Morning we did Buckingham Palace and Parliament Square, as well as a large chunk of Whitehall (Admiralty Arch etc) simply because it was on the way from the tube station we jumped off at. With aching feet we whizzed over to the British Museum and had lunch at family favourite Pizza Express. Then around the museum, which was excellent as ever but was way too busy for our liking. Then a quick tea at The Spaghetti Company ( big thanks to the manager who squeezed us in before the Valentines Day rush) and home on the train again.
Monday was another rest day at the cottage, with a bit of pottering around Shipton, and boy did we need it after London.
Tuesday was Warwick Castle. Still my favourite castle, despite the Disneyfycastion its undergoing.
Wednesday, a quick trip to Stratford upon Avon as a retail experience, ending up in the Bella Italia, where me and Rach first went on our way down to our Honeymoon all those years ago, watching H stuff his face. The others got toys and books, but I got a new lightweight waterproof (which is like having your own tent) which pleased my middle-aged self no end. It got immediate testing because it was chucking it down. Still no where near as bad as home, which we delighted telling the shocked locals.
Thursday was a nice stroll about Charlecote Park. It was still slightly damp and cold, but the day was clear and typical of the nice weather that we enjoyed while we were away. In the evening I quickly packed everything and dumped it in the car. A far cry from our two-week long camping holiday in the summer.
After a very quick rounding up of the last bits of stuff, well done Team Newport, we said goodbye to the Cottage and had a lovely morning in historical Stratford Upon Avon. So we did Shakespear’s Birthplace and the adjoining museum, before wandering down to the Merchant’s house (whose name escapes me) and doing lunch at a British Pub (cheese sandwiches and Pedigree for the win!). Then it was the long drive home.
After that February was pretty much done, but there were signs that Spring was coming on time which perked up my mood no end.