Five experiences to complement luxury hotels in the Cotswolds
Fair enough, a stay at one of the luxury hotels in the Cotswolds is a little bit of an indulgence. And if you're pushing the boat out you may like to take it all to the next level in terms of luxury and VIP experiences. Possibly, you've already lined this up - spa breaks at luxury hotels in the Cotswolds are ever popular and justify the over-used word 'pampering'.
A hot air balloon ride is the classic luxury experience, offered by one or two companies locally. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times, when the air is a little stiller. Happy landings!
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, luxury hotels in the Cotswolds can generally arrange classic car hire for the day - or the weekend. You might achieve peak Britishness as you spin through country lanes in a Morgan or other sports car. It's a great feeling.
'Luxury' means different things to different people and for some, the chance to be a zoo keeper for a day is a great VIP experience - it's possible at the Cotswold Wildlife Park. OK a bit of mucking out is involved, but you also get to prepare the animals' lunch and do a spot of feeding, of everything from penguins to big cats to, er, bats.
Polo is the ultimate 'posh' sport (even if they will tell you how democratically open to all they are these days) and there are a couple of Polo grounds near Cirencester. It is surprisingly cheap and easy to get in and quite entertaining. You can spot a few royals or celebs sometimes, although last time we had to settle for the Coughing Major from 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire'. Ho hum.
Perhaps the most memorable Cotswolds experience is a helicopter tour, offered by companies such as Into the Blue. Happily luxury hotels in the Cotswolds often come equipped with a helicopter landing pad.
You can always keep you luxury in house by setting something a little special up at your choice of luxury hotels in the Cotswolds. Quite a few have quiet corners to up a private dining experience for you. There's even a Greek looking temple at Barnsley House, which is extremely popular for wedding proposals. Come to think of it, Barnsley even has its own cinema, complete with pink sofas and popcorn - a very smart way to get the VIP atmosphere going. You could try a one-to-one golf lesson at the Manor House hotel in Castle Combe. At Lords of the Manor you can wander down to the wine cellar (the oldest part of the house) for a look at the vintages.
Open air theatre is popular, despite Britain's reputation for changeable weather. In fact one of the most popular groups locally is called the 'Rain or Shine Shakespeare Company'. It's fun though, you take a picnic, a bottle of wine and a warm blanket to watch live outdoor theatre in a local historic garden. Afterwards head back to your hotel in the Cotswolds for a nightcap and the chance to talk it all through.
The Pudding Club at Three Ways House at Micketon is great fun and has a real sense of excess and indulgence about it. And Foxhill Manor is perhaps the greatest luxury of all, the opportunity to take over an entire property, chef and all for a really exciting and VIP break with friends. Two people can achieve the same thing with a stay at Apple Tree Cottage in the grounds of the Manor House Hotel. That way you can have all the advantages of a hotel on tap nearby and the VIP sensation of a front door key and your own hot tub.
The advice is always to speak to reservations when booking about what little extras the hotel has to offer - you might be surprised!