Last Thursday I was awarded the title of Gloucestershire Digital Woman of the Year for 2017 at a swanky do at Cheltenham Racecourse. We had a fab night out and (once again- I know – it seems I never learn) a cheeky glass or two of the fizzy stuff. It was a late night but a great night and I was so happy to share it with a group of great mates from the pre CheltenhamMaman era – they’ve been so supportive of my loony endeavours.
I woke the next day feeling a touch jaded but also not quite ready to settle back into the sometimes mundane cycle of domesticity so we booked a night away as a family in the Forest of Dean to celebrate and to enjoy some time together at the end of half term. The big boys are all into mountain biking at the moment and the Bébé and I are into staying in nice places with crisp clean sheets, roll top baths and not having to do any household chores so we needed to combine a great location for accessing the forest’s many cycle trails and a bit of boutique chic. We settled for Tudor Farmhouse Hotel in Clearwell – just up the road from the famous Clearwell Caves.
Our family makeup is generally a really tricky one to satisfy logistically when it comes to hotel rooms. The boys are way to big now to be on a little sofa bed in our double room – plus where do you then fit the cot? So we are now at the stage where we need two rooms. But then how do I keep an eye on them and satisfy myself that they are a) safe and b)not causing total carnage. Tudor Farmhouse was perfect for us – many of the rooms are in little annexe buildings dotted around the pretty grounds and they can be books on their own or together, so we were put in a building that housed two pretty double rooms with a shared lockable porch – perfect!
The rooms are beautiful with the ideal mix of muted tones, exposed brickwork, monsoon showers and rolltops baths. The provision of a travel cot, nappy bin and high chair in the restaurant meant we were well looked after as a family with young children and the Nespresso machine made the inevitable 6am wakeup call (not from reception) bearable.
We took full advantage of the dinner, bed and breakfast option and were excited to hear that the head chef Rob Cox took pride in sourcing as many ingredients as possible locally. The menu (and the staff) were really flexible with us and offered the children options from the children’s menu (with small and larger portions to suit varied age ranges) or the adults menu. The little lady made a hell of a mess with her linguine in a fresh tomato based sauce, no eyebrows were raised.
As for the grown up option I enjoyed a dish of guinea fowl with asparagus and the Papa had spring lamb with fresh peas and spring vegetables. The truffle mash and twice cooked chips we shared left just enough space for us to dive head first into a cheese board – the highlight of which for me was a soft cheese from Bath and Wookey Hole cheddar. The provision of board games in the hotel restaurant meant that we had a little more time to enjoy our meal before the boys hit their fidget limit.
It was also great to be offered some great wines by the glass, 250ml carafe, 375ml carafe or the whole bottle. I’m a rosé girl and the Papa prefers red so we were both catered for and my blush option was delicious. I took full advantage of the roll top (and the wonderful Bramley shampoos, bath scents and lotions) when the smalls were settled in bed and we enjoyed a super early night – it was just what I needed to refresh and recharge.
Breakfast the next morning was a lazy affair. Fresh croissants and fruit and a really strong selection of cooked options – I almost felt a moment of stress creep in as I was forced to choose between a Full English and smoked haddock and poached egg. I love eggs and bacon but I’m always put off by the description on menus as it can sound like a veritable food mountain but the Tudor House option was the perfect size and offered just a taste of each of the essential elements of a great traditional breakfast. Even the jams, marmalades and honey were sourced from farms and businesses within a 20 mile radius. The coffee was excellent too which again can be another let down.
The last thing about Tudor Farmhouse that impressed me…. checkout is midday – hooray! When you’ve stumped up for a bit of luxury for the night the last thing you want to be doing is rushing about – after breakfast I made use of the room while the Bébé napped and the boys hit the cycle paths.
Heaven on our doorsteps!
Though we were kindly gifted this lovely night away all thoughts and opinions are my own.