After the rather disappointing weather in July and August, the beginning of September brought scorching summer temperature, just in time for the break that I planned months before.
Having a relative who lives in Claverdon, Warwickshire gives us an excuse to seek out great places as a base for a few days while visiting. This time we landed in the beautiful Ardencote Hotel. The wonder is that we hadn’t come across it before!
Set in 83 acres of landscaped garden in the Warwickshire countryside, this former manor house was built in 1863 by a wealthy merchant. It is now an independently owned and run hotel, with a golf course, gym, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools etc. For me the main draw is the beautiful grounds complete with its own lake and 2 islands!
Our room at The Courtyard facing the lush green golf course was spacious, comfortable and peaceful
The Brasserie restaurant was heaving with people in the evening when I was there!
The lake & islands
The 3-acre lake & the islands were my favourite haunts during the stay.
Shrouded by early morning mist, the lake exuded a demure charm like a veiled bride …
As the sun gradually appeared, the morning light on the lake brought the view to perfection!
One of the two islands lead to a wedding venue and the other to a walk along the lake
I had intended to visit Coughton Court or Ragley Hall just a few miles from Claverdon. Unfortunately both were closed on the day. However, I was amply rewarded by the discovery of the lovely Roman town of Alcester in the vicinity
There’re buntings everywhere in the town; the colourful floral displays added to its festive feel.
Alcester High Street was lined with charming historical buildings
There’s no mistaking that Alcester is in “Shakespeare country” as there’re black-and-white Tudor cottages and charming historical buildings everywhere. However it’s not as hectic and commercialised like other better known towns in the area, such as Stratford Upon Avon, Warwick or Leamington Spa.
Alcester is more a community where people stopped to chat to one another about the weather, than a tourist hub. Most of the historic buildings dotted along Butter Street and Malt Mill Lane appeared to be well kept private dwellings
St Nicholas Parish Church at the centre of Alcester can be seen from the top of High Street. There’s a “Sensory Garden” at the back of the church, surrounded by charming older houses
It is said that life is about discovery; I am really made up for having “discovered” 2 A-list places in Ardencote and Alcester!