Time out. A weekend in Botley

A weekend away can do wonders. I absolutely adore London and right now wouldn’t wish to live anywhere else, but that’s not to say I don’t sometimes wish to get away and breathe in some fresh, country air.

This weekend we did just that. My lovely little cous’ and I hopped in the car and took a trip down south…

Our hotel for the evening, just 2 hours from London, was the Macdonald Botley Park Hotel. We’d paid in advance but after asking nicely they were kind enough to upgrade us to a better room. Yippee!

I love walking into a good hotel room, kicking off my shoes, jumping onto the bed, and just unwinding instantly as you pop the tv on and make a cuppa. There are none of the distractions I get at home such as needing to pop a wash on or file those bills. Instead, you can allow yourself a time out.

Before long we’d had our fill of coffee and mini shortbread so pulled on bikinis and headed to the pool. We had a brief swim but both felt funny about the kidney-shape pool as it was awkward to do lengths in as there was no real end. Not sure why it flustered us so much! But the sauna soon put us back in relaxation mode.

After a few rounds of candy crush on the loungers by the pool, and not wanting to miss anything on offer we were ready for something a little more energetic.

The hotel gym was well-equipped AND had tvs and games on the machines which was terrific!

I played a few games of ‘matching’ and was so great at it that I won every time. #winning.

We worked our way through machines and weights before ending on the climbing frame 😉
After all this fun I had to have a quick nap. It felt like a holiday and you can nap whenever you like on holiday (In fact, i believe it is actively encouraged) BUT somehow before I knew it it was 6:30 and time for dins. I shook myself awake and we headed out to the big wide world of Botley.

Botley is in fact the furthest you could get from big, and after turning right out the hotel we’d already left it. We drove around country lanes in search of the Public House recommended by the gentleman on reception but unbelievably the two we found within 8 miles of the hotel were both fully booked.

Botley was raving.

We retraced out tracks and tried the other side of town. To our relief we spotted a fancy looking Italian and parked up.

The pubs may be full but clearly no intention of drink-driving here. This was one place we clearly did have to ourselves….


In hindsight I’m thrilled there was no room at the inn.
Dinner was increds.
Starter was a shared cheesy garlic bread. Light in both texture and flavour, with hints of rosemary too. I could have had the same again and been happy to go home.

Fortunately that didn’t happen and mains were served. Anna had a shoulder of lamb which was deliciously succulent and tender. It just slid off the bone, just as it should.


I had a steak that I think il still be talking about in weeks to come. Rare steak (always), filled with Gorgonzola and coated in bacon. I wish I had taken more time to think about how I could describe it, rather than wolfing it down saying, “ziisssh ish shoooo goooood” through mouthfuls of cheesy, meaty, mouthwatering bites.


Stuffed, happy bellies and empty, happy heads we went back to the hotel. The perfect ending to a wonderful day was Britains got Talent. If you’ve not seen it from last night, you must!! Lying peacefully and almost asleep in bed, the 80 year old dancer came on stage. By the end of her performance Anna and I were virtually jumping on the bed, yelling, “YES GRANDMA, YES YOU’VE DONE IT!!”

Watch it.

Thoughts below please!!

More on our countryside adventures tomorrow xx


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