Nestled deep in the English countryside, where the back roads twist and curve past soft sand coloured stone Cotswold houses and green pastures, lies Bruern Cottages.
^^both dresses gifted by Chi Chi London
Rising up in grandeur, our home for the weekend was the centre point of a horse shoe shaped row of cottages set behind a central grassy mound. We pulled the car up directly in front of our large looming door as the rain tried hard to dampen our spirits, but there was no chance of that.
The porch covered us overhead as we worked the key in the lock, pushing open the wide door and found ourselves out of the cold rain and into the most warm, serene setting you could find.
With an instant welcoming feel it was almost like we’d stepped straight into a Christmas movie.
The high ceilings and the antique pine mantelpiece, which originally came from one of the rooms in Bruern Abbey, exude sophistication and elegance but in a way that’s lived in and homely.
The fire was lit within seconds, the complimentary champagne popped and a takeaway was on order.
William desperately wanted to explore because we’d told him of all the exciting child friendly quirks that Bruern had. So with a torch in one hand (as night time was iminant) he went for a walk with his dad and discovered the games room full of dvd’s and brought home about 10 choices for us to pick and choose from throughout our stay.
While waiting for our takeaway we popped on Top Gun. Every one loves a classic. While the kids pretended to fly around in aeroplanes they’d built from the soft furnishings, we just relaxed into the comfort of the Chesterfield, feet tucked up with champagne flutes in hand.
The morning was gratefully met, I walked outside with my oldest child to enjoy the peace of the sunrise. Dressed in our pyjamas and wearing our wellies and coats we walked through the fine mist and fog and across the road to a neighbouring field to watch the sheep grazing on the grass.
We returned back to Sandown Cottage to find Jesse and Evelyn had woken up too and we set about getting breakfast ready. With a fridge full of complimentary high quality local produce we had some exciting options to start our day with.
We cut into the fresh loaf of bread and slathered it with the yellowest of butters I’ve ever seen- but also the most delicious tasting butter. We topped it off with some bacon rashers with a rind so thick that it became delicious crackling in the oven, and some sausages and scrambled eggs. With steaming hot cups of tea- fresh from the pot, and fresh apple juice we had the heartiest of starts to the day.
As the heat from the sun cleared the mist, we decided to step out of our back door to play on the lawn. With football goals and some footballs I think Jesse was itching to relive his youth. Another family joined us and all the children ran around happily kicking the ball or in Evelyn’s case picking it up and running off with it. There’s only so much a toddler understands!
^^my jumper and boots gifted by JD Williams
With tables and chairs situated on a small patio in front of the back doors of our cottage, we would have been in the perfect position to just sit back and relax if we’d wanted to. But Bruern just has so much to do and enjoy that we flitted from one activity to the next with excitement.
The play area was absolutely perfect. With an abundance of toy cars, trikes and bikes the children had their choice of wheeled outdoor toys to play with. And with path ways that wrap around the back of the cottages they also had the space to really enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed.
A beautiful climbing frame was on hand to play with, along with a gorgeous wendy house which had steps leading to a small bedroom at the very top.
When a small down pour happened (this is England after all) we were able to nip into a play house full of different sorts of toys and activities… of course our home was only a manor of steps away so we were able to play outdoors or slip back home as and when we liked.
After lunch we decided to explore the heated pool. Our children love playing in water, and for that reason I love any holiday or break where we’re able to do that. Small touches like having a baby bouncer and an activity station for babies makes the difference here, Bruern have obviously consciously thought about real family time and how to maximise full family enjoyment safely across the ages in different situations.
As evening drew in we again lit the fire and watched the flames slowly turn the logs into blackened dust. As the warmth of the fire radiated around the room we made ourselves dinner and settled down to another night watching a family movie, before we finished our evening by drinking hot chocolate and heading to bed.
We had the magnificence of a four poster bed in our bedroom that we shared with our daughter while William slept soundly in the twin room.
^^one of the beds in the twin room
We realised the morning after when we woke up, that we hadn’t even left the grounds of Bruern the entire time of our stay. Here we were in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, but we all just felt so at home where we were that we wanted to just indulge in the true meaning of family time and relaxed enjoyment.
It just means we’ll have to make sure our next stay at Bruern is longer than a weekend!
Disclosure: Complimentary stay