I get a lot of messages and emails from parents planning either a well deserved child free break or a family staycation in the Cotswolds. Where to stay? Where to play? Where to eat and drink….? It makes such a difference to your planning to have some recommendations from people who really know the area well. So when an invitation came from the fairly recently refurbished Lygon Arms in the gorgeous chocolate box village of honey coloured Cotswold stone buildings that is Broadway, I thought I’d test how useful a little mini summary of a specific Cotswold location might be to my readers.
Broadway is a village (feels a little like a small market town) in the North Cotswolds just over the Gloucestershire border, neatly nestled on the edge of some Worcestershire hills. It’s about 25 minutes from Cheltenham and is a perfect base for those wishing to visit the infamous Cheltenham Racecourse – in fact you can now take a nostalgic steam train straight from Broadway in the the Racecourse!
For a child free break Broadway has some excellent and unique shopping – highlights for me are Wild at Heart gifts, Cotswold Trading and the seriously instragrammable and plastic free champions at Broadway Deli.
If you’re visiting with the family then you really are spoiled for choice with daytime activities! Broadway has a massive playpark (basketball courts, zip wire, football pitch, toddler area) just a stone’s throw away from the high street (ask a local if you can’t find it as it’s tucked away behind the local museum.) A short drive (or walk) away magnificent Broadway Tower is a local beauty spot where you might be lucky enough to see herds of deer grazing in the forefront of the stunning views of the Cotswold hills. A brilliant coffee shop on site does some great cake or a light lunch after your burst of fresh air and activity. Or try All Things Wild in nearby Honeybourne.
Now as for where to stay, obviously I am now able to recommend first hand the Lygon Arms as a brilliant option for both types of escape. We visited with the family and were lucky enough to enjoy two massive courtyard suites. For a family of four one of these would still have been palatial but for those, like us, with more of you be it in number or physical size/age of the children the interconnecting suites were a real bonus.
The interior design was dreamy and the bathrooms with massive baths and walk in waterfall showers made our stay extra special. A free soft drink mini bar, free delivery of milk and cookies for the children in the evening and free use of the indoor swimming pool and for the adults jacuzzi, steam room and sauna means that you have plenty to keep you busy should you accidentally choose to stay on a rainy day. (Elemis treatments also available in the spa should you have time and inclination!)
The main hotel is 14th century Tudor and the interiors offer surprise and delight as you explore the many hidden rooms trying to decide which cosy sofa and fireplace to enjoy your afternoon tea or pre dinner drink! In the summer you can take advantage of a hidden courtyard area.
The restaurant was really impressive. One of the major selling points for me about the hotel was the abundance of helpful staff. You can identify them all from their chic but casual uniform of jeans, blue oxford shirt and navy tweed jacket or waistcoat and you only need to think a thought and someone is there to put it into action for you. This was particularly noticeable in the restaurant (The Lygon Bar and Grill) and even in the evening the children were welcomed by the staff and there wasn’t an eye roll in sight! The food was first class too – both dinner and breakfast.
For a balanced review some constructive criticism is always in order (if it can be found) and the only suggestion I could make to The Lygon Arms would be a more varied array of pillows (in this case beggars can’t be choosers so we were happy). There were lots of them but they were all a little firm and packed for our liking. That’s it though…. overall it was pretty faultless!
If anyone is planning on visiting the Cotswolds and would like some honest advice on Broadway or any of our other beautiful market towns or idyllic villages do get in touch – I’ll do my best to help! It’s a very special part of the world and one I’m so lucky to call home. You should definitely pop along and try it – whatever the weather, there’s something for everyone!
*Our visit to The Lygon Arms with dinner, bed and breakfast was a gratefully received gift.