weekending :: snow, snowdrops & a stay at the Kings Head Hotel

A February birthday is not an occasion for picnics or garden parties, even if I have sometimes wished that it could be. It’s a time for cosying in with those I love, feeling grateful that Spring is just around the corner. This year, for only the second time in memory, it snowed on my birthday. I awoke to the enthusiastic cries of three small boys desperate to open my curtains and show me those few gently swirling snowflakes. A snow day always feels special and a snow birthday doubly so.

The next day, my love and I set out without the children (for almost the first time) to spend a night away as a birthday treat. Our destination was the Kings Head Hotel, a boutique hotel in the heart of the Cotswolds. In the centre of pretty market town Cirencester, the Kings Head is a beautiful former coaching inn that dates right back to the fourteenth century.  

We stayed in a charming room with exposed brickwork, simple style and a set of elegant sash windows with a view of the town. The en suite bathroom was pretty much my dream: all metro tiles, walk-in shower, and a huge shuttered window that bathed it in cool winter light. After a wander around the quiet streets, with an unhurried sojourn in the second hand bookshop and a cafe lunch, our idea of utter bliss was to curl up with books and the papers for endless cups of tea and an afternoon nap. We woke up just in time to head down for a leisurely and delicious meal in the hotel restaurant.

The next morning, after a wonderful night of uninterrupted sleep on soft white pillows, and the delights of French toast, croissants and slowly-sipped coffee, we reluctantly bid the Kings Head Hotel goodbye, resolving to return as soon as ever we could.

Although February birthdays are not generally good for picnics, they are excellent for snowdrop hunting, and it’s become something of a birthday tradition for me in recent years. With snowdrops in mind, we stopped off at Newark Park, a 16th Century Manor House perched on the edge of the Cotswold Escarpment. Newark Park’s grounds are a favourite haunt of ours, particularly at this time of year when they are carpeted with the bobbing white blooms that we sought, intermingled with cheerful yellow aconite.

After a wander through the gardens and a visit to the peacock, all that was needed to round off a truly lovely trip was one more cup of tea and a generous slice of cake. Because, after all, every birthday requires plenty of cake.

{Our stay at the Kings Head was gifted to us, but all thoughts, opinions and images are my own.}

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  • Laura! Sounds gorgeous! I love that it snowed on your birthday and that snowdrops are a tradition on your day. The hotel looks beautiful too, you photos are just lovely xx