Lock down Mother’s Day
It’s countdown to Mother’s Day on Sunday 11 March and that means, quick, there’s still time to organise something worth getting out of bed for (however tempting staying in bed sounds, but, alas, this is a family day). Here are a few ideas to ponder for you and your family, you and your mum, even you and your mother-in-law (yeah, you can polish that halo).
Sunday lunch down the pub
This is always a great option, Mother’s Day or not, but particularly on the big day when you can sit in the company of your angelic offspring, glory in what a great brood you’re bringing up (OK, wake up now), and enjoy a roast with all the trimmings, relaxed in the knowledge that you don’t have to clear up afterwards. Here are but a few of our fave venues: The Woolpack in Slad, Salisbury’s the Old Ale and Coffee House, the Horse and Groom near Moreton-in-the-Marsh, The Riverbarn in southern Wiltshire (in the estate where they filmed Chocolat!), Malmesbury’s The Vine Tree and The Bell at Sapperton. The Royal Oak, Swallowcliffe and The Wheatsheaf in Chilton Foliat have got some pretty cosy spaces for lunch, too.
A family walk (that’s not the school run)
If the suggestion of a walk is met with as much moaning as it is at my house, just tell them it’s your day, so you get to call the shots. If you’re feeling energetic, Daisy Bank on Leckhampton Hill will get the blood pumping, as will the wood walk in Eastcombe that takes in Toadsmoor Lake (look out for otters!). Cleeve Hill also has myriad rambling opportunities and, of course, the Forest of Dean is made for intrepid ramblers, and there are bike trails if the offspring really hate walking. In Wiltshire, Barbury Castle and the Ridgeway are guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs and offer a pretty spectacular view, especially on a clear day, explore the abbey and winding streets of Lacock in the 4km circular walk, or take in the Kennet and Avon canal at Bishops Cannings. We also love the 9km stroll (!) along the canal that goes past Wilton Windmill and the world’s oldest working beam engine at Crofton Pumping Station.
A stroll round a garden
While the Beast from the East may have put paid to some spring bulbs, a stroll round some gardens is always a good outing. Picturesque Batsford Arboretum is free to mums on Mother’s Day and has a children’s trail to keep the mudlets entertained, Painswick’s 18th-century Rococo Gardens has a maze to lose the kids in, Hidcote’s famous Arts and Crafts garden is knockout, while Westbury Court Garden is one of the only surviving 17th-century Dutch water gardens in the country. Stourhead House and Gardens are stunning to walk in at this time of year, with Larmer Tree Gardens pretty impressive too and Iford Manor, sitting idyllically by the Frome river in a steep-sided valley will wow Mum.
Let them eat cake (and scones, finger sandwiches, etc)
I wish I knew how our foremothers managed to eat afternoon tea without becoming huuuge because it’s such an exquisitely feminine repast, which makes it a shoo-in for a Mothering Sunday celebration, which is why we’ve dedicated a whole feature to it! Click here for inspiration.
Mother and daughter pampering (adults only)
There are sooo many great spas in Wilts and Glos! We especially love Whatley Manor, Cowley Manor, Calcot Manor (anywhere with a manor in its name really!), as well as Barnsley House, Greenway Hotel and Spa, Lucknam Park, Bowood House and Cotswold House Hotel & Spa. Daylesford also has a rather swish spa (surprise, surprise) – Bamford Haybarn Spa.