A Weekend in the Cotswolds

A WEEKEND IN THE COTSWOLDS

Just outside of chaotic London is a region of idyllic villages where city-dwellers will often escape for a weekend away. The Cotswolds is brimming with charm and countryside coziness, and offers dozens of different destinations within itself. After years of hearing how lovely this area is, I finally decided to see it for myself. Straight away, I could see what all the hype was about. While I barely scratched the surface on all this region has to offer (I absolutely plan on going back!) my weekend in the Cotswolds made for a perfect itinerary for those looking to plan a trip of their own. Here’s what I recommend:

THE FISH HOTEL

fish hotel cotswolds

After researching some of the best areas to visit in The Cotswolds, I knew I couldn’t miss Broadway in Worcestershire. Almost instantly, I found The Fish Hotel and was sold straight away by all it’s charm. This collection of quirky hotel houses and huts is nestled in a hillside within a 400-acre private estate right in the heart of Broadway. We stayed in one of the Hideaway Huts, which was hands down one of the coziest places I’ve ever laid my head! These little units may look like you’re “roughing it” with their remote location being tucked away on their own, but don’t be fooled! Each one has under-floor heating, a bedroom with double bed and roll top bath, as well as separate en suite bathroom with shower. They have a lounge area with large L-shape sofa and wood burner to snuggle up in front of. Above the bed there is a skylight so you can see the stars at night or various forms of wildlife during the day. But my favorite part was easily the bathtubs: one option indoors and a heated one in the backyard!

fish hotel hideaway hut cotswolds
hideaway hut cotswolds fish hotel
hideaway huts cotswolds fish hotel
cotswolds fish hotel hideaway hut

While staying in a Hideaway Hut, you also have access to the rest of the property, including a boot room where you can borrow wellies (rain boots) to wear for your country walks into town (and the staff is so wonderful about providing you with maps and showing you the different routes into town you can take.)

welly room fish hotel cotswolds
Broadway Cotswolds
broadway cotswolds england

While you certainly can find places to eat in town, I doubt you’ll want to given the incredible dining right on site at Hook. Distinctive, addictive and unlike anywhere else in the Cotswolds, Hook takes dining at the Fish into new and uncharted waters. The vision of Farncombe Estate's culinary director Martin Burge, the restaurant is a laid back but luxurious celebration of seafood that combines the sophistication and refinement of Martin’s head-turning gastronomy with the warm and welcoming rusticity that has made the Fish a firm favorite of Cotswolds visitors and residents.

hook fish hotel cotswolds


I can’t say enough wonderful things about this property… it was a dream to stay here and I will absolutely be back! Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just a cozy place to relax, The Fish Hotel has you covered.

After an incredible night at The Fish Hotel, we hopped in the car to drive to our next destination. But first? We had to stop for lunch at Daylesford: an award-winning organic farm and farm shop.

daylesford farm cotswolds

Daylesford actually has a few locations in London, which I had visited and loved. But visiting their Cotswolds location where all the ingredients are farmed was a truly incredible experience that I’d recommend to everyone. Daylesford is one of the most sustainable farms in the UK. They aim to grow, farm, produce and sell food according to sustainable principles, and in harmony with the environment. Above all, they believe that when people eat natural, organic food, they can taste the difference. It’s a chain of goodness that begins with healthy soil, and finishes with healthy animals and people. This sentiment absolutely radiates as you visit this property and I challenge you to find a meal anywhere that’s more delicious or comprised of more farm-fresh ingredients. Whatever you do, don’t miss this absolute gem whilst visiting the Cotswolds.

daylesford farm cotswolds
lords of the manor upper slaughter

After lunch we drove to Upper Slaughter, another beautiful region of the Cotswolds, to our next accommodation for the weekend: Lords of the Manor. This gorgeous estate is the perfect destination for guests who wish to experience a truly enchanting and luxurious getaway.

This privately-owned hotel offers idyllic scenery at every turn and sits at the heart of the village and showcases all that is loved most in the area. They also boast some of a long list of prestigious awards including:

  • 4 Red Star AA Inspector’s Choice accolade.

  • Good Hotel Guide Best UK Country House Hotel

  • Listed in The Sunday Times Top 100 UK Restaurants Guide

lords of the manor dining

We loved going for a country walk into town, strolling through the gardens, enjoying a delicious cocktail by the fireplace after the sunset and then having an incredible meal in their restaurant. If you’re looking for a property that’s luxurious yet quaint and doesn’t feel like a massive hotel, this is the spot for you.

LORDS OF THE MANOR COTSWOLDS
lords of the manor hotel
lords of the manor hotel upper slaughter

I adore doing life in London, but a weekend away from the chaos to enjoy the beauty of the Cotswolds was just what the doctor ordered. I’d recommend everyone experience this gorgeous at some point while visiting the UK… I can’t wait to see even more of it during future trips!

Have more questions about the Cotswolds or want help planning a trip of your own? Book a travel planning session with me and I’ll be more than happy to create a customized itinerary specifically for you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

xx

Whitney

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A Weekend in Trieste, Italy

TRIESTE ITALY

We’ve all heard of Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Milan, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Almafi and loads of other spotlight destinations across Italy. But if you’re looking to escape the over-saturated tourist traps without compromising the rich culture of this wonderful country, there are some equally fantastic destinations to add to your list. I recently had the opportunity to visit Trieste: a port city in northeast Italy nestled just along the border of Slovenia (and often called “Venice’s Little Sister” because of all the sparkling canals). This beautiful town is rich in neoclassical Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences, yet authentically Italian through and through. In a short weekend, we squeezed as much as we could out of this fascinating town, and I’m here to tell you why you should pay it a visit as well.

For starters, Kirker Holidays (+44 020 7593 2283) offers short breaks to Trieste from £399 per person for a two night stay at the Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione including flights, private transfers, accommodation with breakfast, Kirker Guide Notes to restaurants / sightseeing, and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book opera/ballet/concert tickets or make a dinner booking.

Regardless of whether you opt for a package tour or plan a trip of your own, here are some things not to miss during your visit:

trieste Italy
trieste italy
trieste italy
savoia excelsior palace

We stayed at the beautiful Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione, conveniently located on Trieste’s historic seafront just a few steps from the city center. We were able to walk everywhere during our visit all while taking in the sweeping views of the Gulf of Trieste.

breakfast savoia excelsior palace
savoia excelsior palace trieste italy
trieste savoia excelsior palace


The hotel is comprised of 144 rooms and suites, which have been designed to perfectly blend classical elegance with contemporary details and amenities. We were blown away by all of the opulent decor, and even more so by the exceptional hospitality from their staff (we all felt like family by then end of the weekend!) Between dining in their gourmet restaurant, being taught about the local delicacies (largely revolving around seafood dishes) and chatting over some of the finest wine in the area while getting to know the staff, my time spent at Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione was truly special and I would highly recommend staying here to anyone coming to Trieste.

EATALY

EATALY TRIESTE

I’d been to Eatly in Chicago and New York plenty of times over the years, but it never occurred to me that these existed in actual Italy. On our first night in Trieste, our friends from Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione walked us here (just opposite of the hotel) for an exceptional dinner.

Both Starhotels (the parent company of Savoia Excelsior) and Eataly are two companies with “Italy in the heart” and with the common goal of exporting “Italianness” all over the world: Starhotels through hospitality, Eataly through the restaurant industry. This partnership allows both parties to stage impressive events and launch collaborations with Michelin starred chefs like Ugo Alciati.

While all Eatly locations have always had incredible quality products, it was so cool to experience it in Italy- where all it’s inspiration comes from! Regardless of whether you come for a proper meal or simply to browse their shop, don’t miss this spot while in Trieste.

COFFEE TOUR

ILLY COFFEE ORIGINAL LOCATION TRIESTE ITALY

Trieste has a feature unique within Italy: the traditional Viennese-style coffee house. Today these Cafés are popular meeting places where you’ll see elegant ladies sipping their coffee, famous writers and poets, university students writing their lecture notes and obviously tourists who are immediately bewitched by the slow and relaxed rhythm surrounding them. These are all over the city and visiting one (or as many as you can!) is a must. We actually did a proper tour (thanks to FVG). Some of the cafés they showed us include: Tommaseo, Caffè degli Specchi, Tergesteo, Stella Polare, Torinese, Urbanis, Pirona, the Ancient Caffè San Marco. Furthermore, Illy Coffee originated in Trieste and you can visit the very first store here (pictured above).



MIRAMARE CASTLE

MIRAMARE CASTLE TRIESTE ITALY

On another tour with FVG, we visited the stunning Miramare Castle. Once a noble residence commissioned by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg, its interiors feature sumptuous original furniture and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Trieste from every window. It was built between 1856 and 1860 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, later Emperor of Mexico, the building is strongly influenced by a Romantic taste, as a revisited construction of a medieval fortress. There is so much fascinating history to absorb here (all while enjoying a feast for the eyes!)

KANTE WINERY

KANTE WINERY TRIESTE ITALY

One of my favorite things we did was visit Kante Winery: a unique micro-climate sandwiched between the Adriatic Sea to the south and the Alps to the north. The temperatures here are cool at night and the surrounding grey limestone makes for a near-perfect combination of climate and terreno. Edi Kante produces wines that are poised, solid, fresh, and brimming with the character of both the chosen grape and the stark limestone soil of Carso. We had such an incredible afternoon here touring the cellars, learning about the production, tasting the wine (along with an impressive charcuterie board!) and chatting with the owner. Tours are available by appointment only, but can easily be coordinated for you through the Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione staff.


MORE NOT TO MISS…

agriturismo bajta trieste

AGRITURISMO LA BAJTA:

We visited this charming agriturismo for lunch one afternoon and it was idyllic to say the least. All ingredients in the food they prepare are sourced right on site (we even toured their extensive kitchen and the cellar where ham is cured to become prosciutto). Rest assured, you won’t leave even remotely hungry!

CHIMERA DI BACCO:

We came here for dinner on our last evening in Trieste and it was absolutely wonderful. Not only was every food and wine paring exceptional, the ambiance was lovely (and the company of our friends from Savoia Excelsior made for the perfect cherry on top!)

All in all, I can’t say enough wonderful things about Trieste, especially our incredible hosts for the weekend: Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione. I was completely charmed and fell in love with everything about this darling Italian town. Thank you so much to Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione for sponsoring this trip and being the most gracious hosts. I will come back anytime!

trieste italy
trieste italy

This trip was sponsored by Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione. All opinions are my own.

Thanks as always for popping in and following along with my adventures! Until next time…

xx,

Whitney

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Where I Love to Shop in London

WHERE TO SHOP IN LONDON

A common question I’m often asked is “Where are the best places to shop in London?” While I’ve already shared a few times now that I’m really not much of a shopper, when I moved to London back in August, I came with virtually no winter clothes in my suitcase and have been forced to acquire an entirely new wardrobe this season. Throughout this process, I’ve discovered a few stores that I can always count on to have high quality clothes that align with my “fewer, better things” mentality (and all of them offer online shopping even if you can’t make it to London in the near future). Furthermore, I support the ethical commitments they are making regarding important issues like climate change and fair labor. So if shopping online or in London is something you’re looking to do anytime soon, here are my four favorite places:


& Other Stories



& other stories

This is hands down my favorite (and most frequented) place to shop in London (although they have locations all over). They have beautiful pieces designed by creatives from around the world, creating a global aesthetic that I love. They believe that the manufacturing of clothes, shoes, accessories and beauty products should be done in a responsible way and their aim is to create collections, with well thought-out solutions, that give people the opportunity to express their personality.

While I love their designs, I equally love that they are aware that climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and are taking action to tackle this (they continually expand their environmental goals and want to find the most energy efficient and sustainable way for all stages of their business.) They want to reduce the environmental footprint in the fashion world, and believe recycling is a big part of that, so they established an in-store recycling program for all beauty packaging. They’ve extended this program to include textiles too (includes stores in Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States).

The items I’ve purchased this season and wear frequently can be found below.

sezane london

Sézane is a French label with pieces that are designed to last, to be passed on, and are created with integrity. They believe doing things well is both a choice and a duty, and they have never deviated from it. Every season they scour the world in search of the very best materials, take great care of their partners, and ensure every last metre of fabric is used. They believe in taking concrete actions in order to assume their social responsibilities and limit their environmental impact. Their pieces are beautiful and I’ve loved every item that I’ve purchased from them (the items I purchased are now sold out, but take a look at their site for plenty of new, beautiful options that are available).

jack willis London

Jack Wills is a British lifestyle brand known for its high-quality, heritage-inspired wardrobe classics. It’s a great place to find classic items (like my trench coat and cable skirt). I also support their company values like ensuring that all of our materials are sourced responsibly. They firmly believe it is not acceptable for animals to suffer in the name of fashion or cosmetics, and they also work with suppliers that make great clothes in a fair, equitable and environmentally conscious manner.

Hobbs London blouse

Hobbs offers modern cuts, feminine tailoring and heritage craftsmanship – inspired by London, designed here and brought to life by their in-house atelier. They don’t get swayed by trends that come and go and are smart enough to see beyond the throwaway, to seek out styles that will stay relevant. Current yet timeless, they make the pieces you’ll still be reaching for ten years from now. Furthermore, working conditions are safe and hygienic, child labor is forbidden, living wages are paid and no harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.

I’ve loved finding timeless pieces here that I know will last (see some recent favorites below).

I hope you love these stores as much as I do and that this post helps you shop more consciously and sustainably. If you have other brands you love to support that are fighting fast fashion and making more ethical choices, tell me about them in the comments below.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

xx,

Whitney

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