The Manor House Hotel

I'm rather late in posting this but it was such a lovely weekend away I couldn't resist blogging about it. December began in a wonderful way, first with my brother's winter wedding where I was a bridesmaid and then the very next day it was my birthday. As I got in the passenger seat of our car to make the journey from London back to Nottingham (upon which I promptly fell asleep after the late night we'd had dancing with the newly weds!) I was expecting to end up in our hometown. Little did I know Matt had planned a birthday surprise for me and had booked us a weekend away at the glorious Manor House Hotel in the Cotswolds. 

Situated in Wiltshire on the outskirts of Bath, the hotel lies within Castle Combe - a beautiful chocolate box village which has remained untouched since the 17th Century, steeped in history with quaint homes and shops dotted about. 
What I really loved about the Hotel was the location of the rooms in the Mews Cottages - a row of 14th Century cottages all with their own individual features and names. It's such a lovely way to integrate guests into the quaint village and give them an experience of what life would be like as a resident whilst creating a homely atmosphere. It was a beautifully sunny day so we took a leisurely stroll around the 365 acres of garden and woodland before heading back to our cottage room where we indulged in a bubble bath (made all the more enjoyable with a TV built into the wall), wrapped up in cosy robes and settled down with room service in the huge bed.

It was the little touches which made the stay extra special - a little teddy to pop outside your door if you didn't want to be disturbed, a doorbell (the original kind with an actual tinkling little bell!) and even a pillow menu where you could choose how plump and firm you preferred your pillow, what it was filled with and even an option for a lavender scented pillow to induce a sleepy slumber!

After a cosy, deep sleep and a scrumptious breakfast where we feasted on eggs benedict, delicate pastries and croissants, we headed into Bath for a spot of Christmas shopping in the German markets. There was a suitably festive atmosphere with Christmas carols being sung by a choir, so we took our time 
wandering around the stalls and browsing the lovely handmade goods on offer whilst snacking on freshly roasted caramelised nuts. 

It was such a wonderful birthday treat and it gave me the first opportunity to experiment with my new iPhone 4S (one of my lovely birthday presents) so I got snap-happy and all of the shots above were taken with the very impressive camera. I didn't realise phone cameras could produce such incredible pictures! 

I highly recommend The Manor House Hotel for a romantic weekend away. Not only is it set within the breathtakingly beautiful Cotswolds, the grounds, hotel and cottages are exquisite, the staff friendly and attentive and the food is divine (the Michelin Starred Bybrook Restaurant won 'Wiltshire Restaurant of the Year). I also couldn't help thinking it would make a fantastic venue for a wedding! I would love to return to the country retreat again, perhaps in Summer when we could enjoy some al fresco dining or afternoon tea on the lawn.

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