TRAVEL | Stratford-upon-Avon Staycation
We recently had a weekend away in Stratford-upon-Avon to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.
We stayed at the Swan’s Nest Hotel, part of the Macdonald chain. I’m sure there are nicer independent hotels but the location was perfect. It’s on the river and a short, very pleasant walk into the centre of town. More to the point, we paid for it using Tesco Clubcard vouchers so two night’s bread and breakfast was essentially free! (you can exchange the face value of Clubcard vouchers for three times their value at various hotels/retailers etc – we tend to save up and splurge once a year. Last year we paid for half the cost of our wedding rings at Goldsmiths!).
These were some of my favourite places…
31 High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon
Bardia’s is the prettiest little coffee shop in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. Faux flowers and lights adorn the ceiling. The service was just as charming as the décor. The cake counter was literally overflowing with every conceivable treat imaginable. Deciding what to order with our coffees was probably the most difficult decision of the weekend! I settled on a slice of white tiffin, studded with cranberries and cherries. Colin had an amazing looking blackberry drizzle cake… both served with great coffee.
If the weather allows I’d recommend sitting outside as it’s distinctively bijou inside (And by that, I mean verging on squashed. For this reason I would actively avoid with pushchairs etc – you’d be fine outside except other guests were smoking outside when we visited).
27 Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon
El Greco is a busy, family run, authentic Greek restaurant. We visited for lunch on Saturday. The lunch menu consisted of all the usual Greek favourites plus a selection of sandwiches, baked potatoes, burger, salad etc. I was drawn to the Greek style tapas, particularly the long-running offer of three dishes for £10.95. I had chicken souvlaki, halloumi and tzatziki (which was served with an enormous basket of warm pitta bread). All were excellent and more than sufficient for lunch. If you were making more of an occasion of it all 22 dishes on the menu can be served for £22.95 per person.
Although we were delightfully childfree on this occasion, El Greco would be a great place to dine with children. I saw staff happily arranging high chairs etc and there are baby changing facilities on the ground floor.
Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar
3 Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon
When I started planning our trip, I’d heard glowing reviews of Loxleys so I had high expectations… and Loxleys smashed them! Loxleys serves bistro style, locally-sourced food and prides itself on its exceptional service in stylish surroundings. Our waiter, Juan was a delight.
To start I had chicken liver parfait served with brioche toast and the most delicious chorizo emulsion. As it was a special occasion (and we are partial to a gastronomic experience) we shared the Chateaubriand. The meat was perfectly cooked, mouth-wateringly tender and buttery. I enjoyed the accompaniments just as much: crispy skinny fries, a rich Béarnaise sauce and the tastiest tomato I have had in this country for years. Although we were both pretty stuffed by now, I struggle to resist a crème brûlée, particularly a white chocolate one, which was served with shortbread and Bailey’s ice cream. Three courses and a decent bottle of Rioja and two espresso martinis came to approximately £130.
They were fully booked for dining on the evening we visited so I would recommend booking (and do let them know if you are celebrating a special occasion). We were presented with a handwritten card and a complimentary glass of bubbles to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.
RECOMMENDATION : This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full and the venue had no idea that I was there. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
Jo Swann has 15 solid years of experience in Public Relations and runs award-winning Leeds-based PR Company – Chocolate PR after working in media, marketing and PR agencies. She has worked with companies of all sizes including the likes of Whistles, NSPCC, Marriot Hotels, Yo! Sushi to name just a few and won many awards along the way but her mission now is to help small businesses, and particularly female entrepreneurs harness the power of PR.
My mental health has had a good bashing over the years. I’ve suffered with post-natal-depression, panic attacks, addiction, anxiety and a serious lack of self love and self worth. And then of course there’s the meds and the side effects that come with them.
To support the #HaveAHeart campaign I asked the beautiful blog squad ladies some their thoughts on what wellbeing means to them, why they are supporting this campaign, who they are gifting their yellow hearts to and how they look after their own wellbeing.