The PH conference at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire, in one of my previous blogs, was a highlight of our Autumn and instead of coming straight back home we travelled on to have a browse around Chipping Norton and then drove to Minster Lovell, near Witney in Oxfordshire, where we were stopping on for a couple more nights. I have had Blenheim Palace on my list of places to visit for ages now and we thought that while we were over in Oxfordshire it would be an ideal opportunity to visit. It just happened to be one of the most glorious autumn days you can imagine and as we drove into the pretty village of Minster Lovell, it actually took my breath away. It is all quintessentially very English, with pretty thatched cottages, the river Windrush meandering through it's midst and a six hundred year old inn, called the 'Old Swan and Minster Mill'. We were staying at The Old Swan and when we got out of the car, there was the delicious aroma of wood burning coming from the pub. I couldn't really wait to check in the bags and then have an explore!
|River terrace at The Old Swan|
|Main street, Minster Lovell|
We had dinner in the pub, which serves generous portions of good quality food and an adventurous menu - I skipped on my starter when I saw the size of the main course - and it was a lovely intimate atmosphere, 'olde worlde' charm and roaring log fires. By the time dinner was finished I was so exhausted by the whole weekend, I could hardly walk and an early night beckoned.
Unfortunately, with PH, when you are tired its a lot worse than just tired, it's like you cross a certain threshold and then your whole body just gives up altogether. It's because your heart is working so much harder than a normal person's and just very simple tasks can be akin to a full blown zumba session and more.
When we got to our room, the beds had been turned back and there was a cosy hot water bottle, which was a lovely finishing touch, it was like they knew I wasn't well and they were making it as homely and as cosy as they could for me! This I have to say, clinched my love of this place, never mind the log fires and the beautiful food, just put me to bed with a nice hot water bottle! I'm easily pleased!
I will just add a note of caution if you find stairs difficult, as I do, there are some very tricky stairs to negotiate, as it is an old inn and has the original twisting, turning, low head height, wooden steps. Rob had to fetch all the bags in and out, without any help from me and really had to help me negotiate them.
Another place should you happen to visit Minster Lovell and worth a visit to, is the English Heritage place 'Minster Hall and Dovecote'. Hidden away behind the church in the village are some very picturesque ruins of a 15th century riverside manor house.
After a beautiful full cooked English breakfast, served in Old Swan style, the following day we set off for Blenheim Palace at Woodstock, which was about fifteen minutes drive away. We were so lucky with the weather, another glorious autumn day and as soon as you drive through the gates at Blenheim Palace you are blown away by the view over the water at this beautiful World Heritage site.
|View as soon as you drive onto the Blenheim Estate, drive slowly so you don't miss it!|
We had another lovely evening at the Old Swan, this time I was not as tired as I had been pushed around in my wheelchair, so I was able to enjoy the evening much more, but I will concede that Mr Graham will beg to differ, he said he was 'knackered' after pushing me round all day! We visited Woodstock town on our way home for coffee and a browse round the town and the Oxfordshire Museum at Fletchers House. Here there are some interesting artefacts and you can find out more about the local history, it's worth a browse. www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org/the-oxfordshire-museum
This was our second visit to the Cotswolds this year, we were blessed with glorious weather and know there are still lots of things to see and do that we couldn't quite manage to fit in, so we will be back ...