Staycation holidays: a beautiful and socially-distanced holiday in the Cotswolds
- Credit: Tim MAX HETHERINGTON
By the time August came around, CHARLOTTE SKIDMORE and family felt the need for a change of scenery – but what would a holiday in the ‘new normal’ look like?
I’d had enough of staring at four walls and as much as I love Somerset, I felt the need to stretch my socially-distanced wings a little further five months after ‘lockdown’.
An invite to Hoburne’s site in the Cotswold sounded just the ticket; but there were a number of questions running through my mind. What would a socially-distanced holiday look and feel like? Would there be enough to entertain my two-year-old in the Cotswolds or is it more of a holiday for the grown-ups?
Well, read on to see how things went.......
En route to our holiday we passed through some wonderfully picturesque villages and life had started to feel a little brighter, with the week ahead to look forward to. Whilst it was mid-August, the surroundings seemed peaceful and serene and well away from the stresses of Coronavirus.
On arrival at Hoburne Cotswold the check-in was very smooth, with everyone respecting one another’s space; we may have been on holiday but I was all too aware not to let things slide on that level.
We were given the keys to our deluxe plus lodge – and ‘wow’, this was so much more than a caravan. With a large, luxuriously decorated open plan lounge, dining room and kitchen, leading out onto wrap around, secure decking, our week away had definitely started the right way. Two double bedrooms, one with an en-suite and walk-in closet, also gave us a really good-sized sleeping space – which we needed as it was a very intense heatwave that week!
The lodge had never been stayed in before – so yes there were a few ‘snagging issues’ that needed sorting out, but I can honestly say that this didn’t impact on our stay. And the efficiency with which they were dealt with said a lot more to me than the ‘issues’ themselves.
The site has a really lovely outdoor pool area, but sessions need to be prebooked the day before because of social distancing restrictions, so we managed to get two sessions over the week.
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There is a super lake and family beach area too - great to walk around and a lovely spot to sit
and relax too.
There is also an indoor pool and a fitness suite, but we didn’t visit those as the weather was so nice. The site’s restaurant is open for both indoor and outdoor seating and there is a programme of socially-distanced entertainment. You won’t find any ‘posh nosh’ here – but what you will find is a menu full of family favourites like steaks, nachos, burgers and fish and chips. Just the job.
We had a well-needed and lovely break at Hoburne Cotswold - it is great for families young and old. I think perhaps what I enjoyed most about the week was sitting on the lovely decking of the lodge, listening to the birds singing in the trees and looking up at the clear blue sky with a glass of wine in hand – and thinking ‘corona-what’?
The Hoburne site lies right next to the Cotswold Water Park, which makes for a great day out. With a family beach, electric boat or pedalo hire and water sports, you’ll need a map to get around. You need to prebook your entry at the moment before you can book activities, but do check the latest regulations before setting off.
Lying around 30 minutes from the site, this has to be one of the most picturesque wildlife parks I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Whilst fairly busy, people in the main seemed to respect each other’s space, but of course, social distancing is a two-way street and we had to be conscious to do our part too. Our two-year-old particularly loved how close she could get to the penguins, who didn’t seem as keen on her as she did on them.
Cotswold Wildlife Park was the brainchild of John Heyworth who started it in 1970 at Bradwell Grove, his family home. His dream was to share his enduring interest in nature with as many people as possible.
The park relies totally on visitors and receives no outside help from other sources. Set in more than 160 acres of beautiful parklands, the site has a massive collection of animals, birds and amphibians to see and never have I had such a good vantage point of of some of the larger creatures like rhinos, giant tortoises and camels.
The gardens surrounding the site, particularly the walled garden, are stunning and so well taken care of.
Currently tickets need to be booked in advance, but check the latest information at cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk