A Midlands mini break

Perhaps not everyone’s first choice of a mini break destination!  But we spent the first few days of the recent half term holiday enjoying a mini break in the Midlands.  We based ourselves at my parents’ place near Northampton – and they very kindly had the children for a night so Matt and I could escape for a proper break.

We headed over to the beautiful National Trust’s Upton House on the edge of the Cotswolds.   We had a quick wander around, enjoying a quick cuppa (which Upton House took pretty seriously):

UptonHouse

Despite the grey day, the beautiful flowers and bunting brightened everything up:

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Our real reason for visiting Upton was to walk.  So for the first time in about 6 years, Matt and I got to spend a few hours in the hills without having to bribe little children, carry them up hills and shorten routes because of tired legs!  What a treat!  We followed a National Trust route past a number of historical sites, including the Edgehill battlefield.  We barely passed a soul during the walk – heavenly!

Hiking

We stopped in the pretty village of Ratley for a spot of lunch in the “Rose and Crown” pub – parts of the building are 900 years old!  I would highly recommend a visit if you’re anywhere near – the food was absolutely delicious and the welcome very warm.  I love the tiny Church next door.

HIking2

After our hike, we headed to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a night of culture at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre where we saw their incredible production of “Hamlet”.  What a wonderful day!

Meanwhile, Alex and Sophie were excited to be having a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s!  They also enjoyed a National Trust experience, this time at Canons Ashby where my Dad volunteers.  Apparently they decided to continue with their quest to complete all the Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 – by building a tree house.  I’m not sure this is quite what the National Trust had in mind!

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Once we were all back together, we headed into Towcester, the nearest town to my parents’ place.  With the rain hammering down, we didn’t have many options, so we made a run for the tiny Towcester Museum.  I think it might be the smallest museum I have ever visited, but we easily whiled away an hour in there!  It was packed full of fascinating local history, and was so geared up to children that Alex and Sophie loved it!

They followed a historical trail answering questions on each exhibit, and adored the little dressing up stations in each area.  Here are my Roman soldiers (I know which one I’d find scarier!)

Romans

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And here’s Norman Alex!

Norman

We spent ages in the craft corner, Sophie making a crown and Alex a Viking ship!  They were so proud of their creations!  And left proudly with a museum badge they’d earned completing the quiz.  What a great place!

Artwork

We ended our Midlands mini break celebrating my dad’s birthday with a family pub lunch.  The children love visiting their grandparents, so we’ll no doubt be back soon – just hoping the weather will be a teeny bit better next time!

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