No food- related post today! I do hope you will enjoy it none the less…
Because food is not the only interest in my life, and I have recently been encouraged by some of you lovely folks out there, I wanted to share a different post with you today.
And I think that every now and then, I will be posting some snaps and snippets of my life here, because at the end of the day, this is my blog, and I’ve got every right to do so. I feel like I’m evolving in a way (without sounding like an arse), and I do not want this space to be purely food- related. But don’t be alarmed, there will still be plenty of recipes and food pics coming your way!
As we are heading on a road trip to France later this week, I thought this post will be a good ‘intro’ to some of the other, future posts about our little travelling adventures…
Ready? Here we go…
Earlier this month, we have decided to make the most of our free time, and went for a road trip. As members of the National Trust, we are quiet spoiled for choice of the places to visit in our area (we live on the boarder of two shires – Surrey and Hampshire). But this time, we have decided to go slightly further, and head towards the county of Buckinghamshire. Our eyes were set on Waddesdon village, and it’s famous manor.
As we have approached our destination, and parked the car, we were told that the shuttle bus will take us to the manor itself, indicating that we are talking about rather large chunk of land it’s been built on. And we were not wrong. The house itself is huge, with over 60 different rooms, but there are also wine cellars, stables, gardens and aviary. So you will definitely not be bored while there…
The design and architecture of the manor are not very British- like, and that’s because they are not. It was built in the style of the French chateau, and quite often was referred to as the English version of Versailles. Waddesdon Manor was built for Baron Ferdinand de Rotschild as… wait for it… ‘the weekend residence‘. So for someone who grew up thinking that grandma’s allotment was a ‘weekend residence’, I must say that I was impressed.
As we got inside of the house, the outside started to being drenched in the torrential rain. Because it was so dark and moody outside, we felt so snugged and cozy as we strolled from one room to another. The dimmed lights of the table lamps and crystal chandeliers added even more ambiance to the whole thing. We were surrounded by squeaky floors, hidden doors, and haunted corridors.
And to tell you a secret (not so much of the secret for those of you who know me), I absolutely loved it. I can’t even describe how much I like to stroll around the old houses, where history is staring you in the eye, and you are surrounded by all the memorabilia and vintage interiors. Ideally, I would love to move in to one of those, and host a lush parties every weekend 😉
As we’ve finished our tour inside of the house (which took us good 3 hours, but that could be because of my picture taking obsession), the glorious sun came out, and the scenery changed so much. From this dark and moody castle, it transformed into something more of the fairy tale or Disney movie. Colourful gardens and alleys are full of perfectly trimmed flowers and hedges, as well as giant statues and sculptures, some of which are actually made of plants and hedges. In the nice weather, the gardens here are a perfect spot for a picnic with friends or family.
Because we didn’t have a picnic with us, and all this walking made us really hungry, the priorities shifted from capturing a perfect moment, to finding a pub or restaurant that will feed us. As you drive out of the estate, there is a great and extremely picturesque eating spot at Five Arrows Hotel. Situated in the old Victorian building, with that authentic English style, it’s so worth popping over, even if it’s just to have a look. As we got there quiet late, their kitchen was unfortunately closed, but friendly staff pointed us in the direction of another, nearby place The Akeman Inn.
And it was a great spot, with fantastic food and their rather spectacular open kitchen with wood burning oven. I’ve opted in for wild mushrooms gnocchi, while Jon had one of their traditional burgers, and we both left absolutely nothing on our plates. After strolling in their garden for a little while, we’ve decided it’s time to head back.
But rather than heading straight back home, we took a less traveled route, through the Buckinghamshire country side, with few occasional stops, because the views are simply too flippin beautiful to not stop and look at them (and take trillions of photos). And the village of Hambleden is just one of these stops. I could not believe my eyes when we got out of the car… I felt like stepping into a movie set!
This village have been voted as one of the most picturesque and beautiful villages in the UK on the multiple occasions, and for a good reason. It’s like the time has stopped here. There is only one local shop, located in the centre of the village, as well as one local pub, a butcher and a bakery. Brick and flint cottages with their dormer windows topped with red tiles are probably the essence of this village.
It’s 14th century church and the tower with 8 bells are just simply stunning, and my guess is that it’s probably one of the most photographed spots in the country. So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Hambleden has been used as a location for many, many, many movie sets and TV series. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sleepy Hollow, 101 Dalmatians or some of the Agatha Christie’s books adaptations are just few to name. If you are ever in this area and have an opportunity to visit this cute as a button village, you just simply must. Just beware of the super narrow countryside roads here, which I found super fun to drive on (as long as I’m not a driver)…
If you want to experience the essence of the English countryside and taste some of the village life, Buckinghamshire, with its surrounding areas, is definitely the place to be! We can’t wait to be back there soon, and hopefully next time, we will stay for at least few days (the pubs in that part of the country are definitely too inviting!). Because one day is for sure not enough to see all that beauty…
So there you have it, my first, truly non- food related blog post, which I’m hoping at least some of you will find interesting. I would love to know what are your thoughts on it, plus let me know if you ever been to any of these places!
Until next time! x