Around 3 o’clock the same day, we arrived at our home for the evening. With nothing but fields for miles, the Charingworth Manor didn’t disappoint. There was a long and beautiful drive up to the hotel, and nothing but fields for miles.
The hotels amenities included a tennis court, pool and a helipad. Unfortunately I’d forgotten to bring a swimming costume, tennis shoes and my helicopter so we had to make do with drinking gin and tonics and admiring the sprawling view.
As chief organiser I made sure that the hotel restaurant was up to scratch. The food in the John Greville was delicious – I started off with a salmon carpaccio starter which was studded with salmon roe (my favourite).
Followed by quail stuffed with black pudding (what’s not to like) and polenta (which I’m not so keen on. Does anyone actually like polenta?)
I finished off the meal with the richest and most decadent cherry and chocolate mousse.
The hotel was absolutely divine – deep baths, L’occitaine soaps and toiletries and an incredible view – the staff were lovely and attentive, and impressed the Japanese contigent (who are used to a constant level of polite service). We were really sad to leave after just one night, but would definitely recommend it for the future (and bring a swimsuit!)
We reluctantly loaded up the car and drove to the nearby village of Chipping Campden.
We stopped off at the Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden. Ernest ‘Chinese’ Wilson was a famous plant collector, and had introduced many plants from China.
We reluctantly left the peaceful garden, to make one last stop before our drive to London – the birthplace of Shakespeare: Stratford upon Avon.
I am a massive fan of Shakespeare – I was always in all the plays at school, and love going to the Globe – but I must say the visit to the birthplace museum did nothing for me. The combination of the heat, and being herded like cattle from room to room (I like doing the herding, not being herded, thank you) ruined my enjoyment. I would recommend it for children – they had several members of staff dressed up in the grounds, reciting lines and generally being cheerful, but for an undercaffeinated, overheated and person not much enamoured with crowds it was an experience I perhaps could’ve done without.
Although it was a fleeting visit I was absolutely charmed with the Cotswolds – it really shows England at its best!
We began our drive back to London in eager anticipation for our evening – and some of the best Japanese London has to offer.