Staycationing admittedly brings about connotations of camping in a muddy field and being woken up by the sounds of wandering cows, or being forced to endure a B&B with decor from the 80’s that still things serving up soggy scrambled eggs is breakfast du jour. I spent many a summer holiday as a child on the British coast, and although those memories of caravans and Haven parks will always be treasured, it’s not my idea of fun as an adult. With flights becoming more affordable and some of the European destinations being a similar price to a week at Butlins, it’s understandable that we’ve collectively turned our noses up at the thought of staying at home – but with a whole new generation of gastro pub hotels and quaint rural locations opening their doors, staycationing has actually never been cooler. If you’re anything like me and actually forget to sort out your summer break, then a weekend away in the country could be just what you need for a little relaxation and refresh; and it doesn’t need to cost you a small fortune either.
At the end of last year I made a decision to book a handful of weekend getaways as something to look forward to, and The Fuzzy Duck was top of my list; only a two hour drive from central London and on the edge of the Cotswolds, it embodies this new generation of British country pub getaways and provides the perfect excuse to spend a few days away from city life. If you’ve yet to book yourself a little summer excursion, haven’t the time to fly off somewhere exotic, or even if you’ve got kids and school holidays to contend with, here’s why I’m such a fan of the country pub escape – and The Fuzzy Duck in particular.
THE QUAINT SURROUNDINGS
Having lived in London for so long, I crave the countryside and greenery like it’s going out of style. I adore tranquil cottages and little country roads, and the feeling that you’re driving into the middle of nowhere (even if phone reception is non-existent.) Everything is so much prettier in the countryside, and the surroundings of The Fuzzy Duck are absolutely beautiful; even though it’s a relatively new building with all the mod-cons, the surrounding buildings wouldn’t look out of place in a Beatrix Potter book. You can tell that the pub is the hub of the small town, but with so many walks and places to explore there’s a way to burn off that over-indulgent lunch. (Or you could just sit in the huge beer garden and take in the sunshine!)
THE QUIRKY DETAILS
It’s the little things that make all the difference, and country pubs tend to have more personality than most hotel stops thanks to the people behind them; you can tell there’s love and passion in everything they do, and a real thought for their guests. At The Fuzzy Duck they have everything covered you could ever ask for: from wellies on loan if you want to wander the fields, to weather forecasts behind the bar and complementary sun cream in the garden to keep you safe, with even bespoke menus and locally sourced ingredients so you know you’ll be eating fresh. With so many things to make you smile, you’ll feel like you’re experiencing a little bit of luxury without having to pay for it.
THE COSY INTERIORS
There’s nothing better than a cosy country pub; whether it’s on a chilly winter’s day where all you want to do is warm your tootsies by the open fire, or during a sunny spell and you just want Pimms on tap for the whole afternoon, they’ve got you covered. What I loved about The Fuzzy Duck is the fact they mix the modern and new with the classic and old, sprinkling in everything from a bookshelf of country knowledge and a wine cellar with every type of tipple imaginable. There are blankets available for when you get a bit chilly too, meaning you don’t even have to move from your spot when the sun goes down!
THE FOOD & DRINK
Pub grub is my favourite; there’s something so satisfying about properly made comfort food that’s got more taste and texture than anything you’d get from a chain restaurant. Whether you want a small bite, a massive plate of fish and chips or a locally created special (I recommend the scotch egg!) there’s something to tickle your tastebuds. And my favourite discovery: rhubarb gin mixed with elderflower tonic, topped off with a selection of berries. Incredible. Even the breakfast is fabulous, with options including the most delicious eggs I’ve ever eaten, a full English, fruit and granola, cereals, pastries, freshly baked bread and beautifully brewed coffee on tap too.
THE LUXURIOUS ACCOMMODATION
Although you won’t be spending much time in your room when there’s so much going on downstairs, the accommodation in this new wave of luxury pubs is anything but stingy. The space itself is quite small due to the limitations of such a compact location, but the features are quite extravagant and make you feel like you’re in a five star hotel – not in the middle of the country. I adore the free-standing bath and vintage style decor, as well as the cosiest bed ever and more pillows than a girl could ever need. The only downside is there’s no air con, but when you can open your window and listen to the sound of the great outdoors you can’t really complain.
So if you’re in need of a little summertime break, or simply want to get something in the diary to look forward to, why not consider a countryside getaway rather than faffing around with airport queues and transfers? It’s affordable, flexible, easy to get to and offers so much more value for your buck.
Are you a fan of staycationing? Do you have any fave country pub hotels you think I should visit?
Find out more about The Fuzzy Duck on their website: www.fuzzyduckarmscote.com Overnight stays in a double room start from around £120.00 (based on two sharing.)
We were a guest of The Fuzzy Duck on this occasion, but we booked and paid for our first weekend their ourselves. (Yep, we liked it so much we went back!)
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