June is officially the start of summer (YAY) and I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to start it than with a weekend away! But where to this time…?
G and I woke up on Friday morning and after ensuring we had remembered everything from our weekend bags and sliders, to the banana bread and fudge I’d made for everyone, we started the 4-hour road trip to The Forest of Dean.
Some of G’s relatives have connections there and hence the choice of destination. I have never been to this neck of the woods before but I was ready for a long weekend of relaxing, socialising and exploring. What could be better?
Having stopped off for lunch at a nearby pub, we arrived at our ‘home’ for the weekend – Danby Lodge. We pulled up to a beautiful, secluded house in the middle of the forest and I just knew that it was going to be the perfect setting for the weekend ahead. I got that giddy feeling as we parked the car, unlocked the door and stepped inside…
Once through the hallway we discovered multiple lounges, 6 double rooms and enough beds to sleep up to 14 guests (one room was hidden behind a bookcase-door!). It had a really homely feel and just the right size to give everyone enough space, but so that it also felt intimate. There was a separate out-house which hosted a ping-pong table, punching bag, bikes, games and other activities so you’d never get bored. In addition to all these inside crevasses there was a variety of garden furniture and an outdoor pool in the grounds– so fingers crossed that the English weather would be on our side so that we could make use of it!
G’s family arrived in dribs and drabs throughout the afternoon but that did not stop us from taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine as soon as we could. Swimming costumes on, we braved it into the pool which was surrounded by a wall of trees. We had the entire place to ourselves with no neighbours or passers-by to interrupt our fun – absolute bliss!
We sat outside all afternoon and into the evening, hours filled with soaking up the sunshine, playing football with vino in hand, playing tennis on the lawn and catching up with family.
Saturday was filled with more of the same. Although we did manage to squeeze in a short history trip to visit some of the places that G’s family had connections with including Pope’s Hill which boasted incredible views of the countryside. I had almost forgotten how beautiful England could be.
We headed to a pub for our evening meal which was pure comfort food – vegetarian burger and sweet potato fries for me, yesssss please! The whole trip was epitomised by the word ‘chilled’ and it was ideal to switch off from work and talk nonsense for a couple of days. In between pool sessions and sunbathing was more lounging on the sofa and taking in the views. We also enjoyed all the home comforts you’d want with spag bol, full English breakfast, banana bread and fruit platters. Everything you could wish for with a family weekend away, we had it.
It also gave me some time to take a step back. Every time I look out onto a view that is pure green I think back home to Yorkshire and remember how much I love escaping the big city life. London is so great but you really do get caught up in the bubble of working life. This weekend I could breathe in the fresh air and unwind by doing nothing at all. Sometimes you need to force yourself to get away in order for your mind to disconnect from the day to day worries that fill your free time, from putting the washing on, remembering to pop to the shops or even trying to organise the logistics of how you’ll get to work. It is these silly things that contribute to the hassle of every day and that can sometimes become too much.
The Forest of Dean was truly magical and is an incredibly beautiful part of the world. It felt like a real retreat and I have come back to real life feeling refreshed, calm and my batteries recharged! If you want to know anything more about our trip, send me a message or leave a comment below!