It’s not too often that the theme of our family vacations can be labeled with the term “relaxing” and that’s just fine with us. It’s rare that we visit the same country twice (there’s so much to discover in this world, it’s hard not to keeping venturing elsewhere), so we pack each and every inch of our itinerary with things to do and see. Luckily, I married a man with the same travel outlook as me and wound up with a kiddo who thrives on new experiences so we all get along just fine.
That said, there was one day on our extended holiday to the UK where we reveled in an itty bitty patch of time off and it inspired the flow of one of our upcoming trips to be more laid back, fly by the seat of our pants.
Said spot is the English city of Malmesbury where we visited for one reason alone: a gorgeous, history-injected hotel called The Old Bell. I sought out The Old Bell when planning our trip and didn’t care how far out of our way we had to drive to get there. I’m dropping this picture below to explain why, it does a much better job than I ever could.
Yes, you read that right — 1220 and the rumored oldest hotel in England. Holy crow!
Everything was charming from start to finish. Just look at the room key. Although we wanted to explore the hotel, we were pretty weary from traveling and felt bad putting Fox in another high chair in a restaurant, so we decided to stay in for the night. We went nuts ordering room service (they have incredible food offerings) and I even got my clotted cream and tea. If they made IVs of cream tea I would most likely overdose with a smile on my face.
After dinner Fox passed out face down on the floor and we flipped through photos of our travels so far. It was so relaxing to enjoy our room for several hours before hitting the hay. Although there are stories of bumps in the night at The Old Bell, we had a proper night’s sleep. We had brunch the next morning and explored the property. You could see Malmesbury Abbey from our room as it was directly next door. My favorite part of traveling is when I get that “We’re not in Kansas anymore” feeling and this town definitely put me right there. Situated on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, it’s a nice quiet area that’s key for relaxation.
The only part I regret is visiting a bit too early for the front of the building to be covered in vivid purple Wisteria flowers.
On the way we kept passing all of these rapeseed fields in a brilliant yellow hue and kept wanting to stop, but the roads are narrow and we didn’t want to be unsafe. Finally we got to one that had a designated pull-off and an entrance that seemed to welcome those who wanted to take a gander. I put on my rainboots (these were Godsend this trip, I wore them way more than I thought I would) and headed into the field. We only had to take a few steps in before being completely surrounded and Tyler was happy he got to use his tripod for the first and only time of the whole trip — haha. When we finally made it to Arlington Row I couldn’t get over the major bucket list item I was crossing off my list.
Nothing like a tourist’s shocking yellow car to break up this iconic shot 😉
Since we’re talking bucket list, what are the top five places on yours? Mine are Iceland, India, the Amazon River, Norway, and Banff. Stay tuned to find out which of these I have flights locked and loaded for this fall.
Thank you to The Old Bell for your incredible hospitality in hosting us for the night. We will always sing your praises after such a relaxing stop.