Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

In room 108 of the Relais Henley is the royal coat of arms of King Charles I, who stayed there in 1632.The room next door, 109, was frequented by John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, the great general whose victories included Blenheim in 1704.And room 107, on the other side of 108, is where my wife…

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

If Mick Jagger or Keith Richards ever fancy a Cotswold escape they should look no further than this charming cottage.That’s because it is within walking distance of the Rollright Stones, some old ‘rockers’ that are even more ancient than members of the band of the similar name!Called Cotswold Cottage, for want of a better name, the…

Derbyshire Dales

Each year, the small, picture-postcard Derbyshire Dales village of Tissington is invaded by 50,000 visitors over just seven days.The hoards are attracted to Tissington’s six wells which every Ascension Day are decorated (or ‘dressed’) with flower petals, as well as cones, mosses, seeds and beans.In a laborious process, each petal is placed individually – overlapping like tiles on a roof…

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

It was a ‘knight’ to remember as tales of dragons and princesses were told in the grounds of a medieval castle.For starters, Zog and Princess Pearl climbed out of the pages of Julia Donaldson’s best-selling children’s book to recall how they became flying doctors.Then, as bedtime  grew near, a sword-wielding knight recalled a tale of another fire-breathing friend  which enthralled young listeners and – like all the best pantos – amused mums and dads, too.Accident-prone Zog and Pearl…

Wookey Hole, Somerset

The eccentric old woman who lived alone in a cave aroused the suspicion of villagers. They suspected witchcraft and started blaming her for everything from ill health and failing crops to wifi outages and Brexit! Hearing their pleas for help, the Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey sent Father Bernard into the witch’s lair, armed only with…

Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

Spending peaceful evenings gazing up at the stars I came to understand the appeal of Sherwood Forest to Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. After a hard day robbing from the rich to give to the poor the outlaw would rest under the branches of the Major Oak (or inside the tree if…

Cotswold Water Park

There can be few more appropriately named streets than the two we came across on a weekend away – Happy Land and Bow Wow. The former, in the Wiltshire village of Ashton Keynes, overlooks a playground where our two children spent a (for want of a better word) happy half hour. The latter is a…

Bodmin, Cornwall

”Look, Daddy,” said my three-year-old son during our visit to Bodmin Jail, ”that man is ironing that lady’s hair.” He was starring at life-size models recreating the moment a certain James Holman killed his wife by striking her a blow with a smoothing iron. Holman was hanged for the crime at the jail in 1854. ”He’s straightening…

Malvern, Worcestershire

Railway enthusiasts or young fans of Thomas The Tank Engine can live the dream at a new holiday home in Worcestershire. Platform Three, in Malvern Link, is part the former station master’s house and our two children loved playing the ‘Fat Controller’ as the trains pulled up right outside. During our weekend stay, they never…

Brecon Beacons, Wales

EVER wandered what the difference is between a full Welsh breakfast and a ​​full English breakfast? Well, the Welsh version comes with a side dish of live singing. That was our experience, anyway, when we spent the weekend with Stephen and Lynne Groves at their B&B in the small market town of Talgarth, ‘’the jewel…