Life • March 2, 2016

A Trip to Somerset- The Moonraker and The White Hart Hotel.

I love nothing more than getting away for a few days with my little family. Just forgetting about the stresses of work, or housework, or just general day to day life. When we are at home we have our own little structures and routines that mean the days pass quickly, especially now Mads is at school and we don’t get to see her as much. We all miss her. So we were craving the recent half term and the chance to spend some quality time together.

Somerset was our area of choice to have that special time. Having explored Somerset a fair bit in my previous job in the travel industry, where I would have to go down there once a month, I was looking forward to showing my family even a small part of this beautiful county. We actually didn’t end up doing much, mainly due to all needing a slower pace of life and also bad weather on one of our days, but we had a relaxing break away and the main thing was that we spent lots of time together.

The first stop on our whistle stop tour to Somerset was Bradford on Avon, more specifically the Moonraker Hotel, a beautiful country manor set in glorious countryside. The hotel is owned by Tudor and Lucy Hopkins, who have spent a lot of time and love tastefully refurbishing it and their other property The White Hart. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was late afternoon, but we took no time at all in settling in and going outside to explore the grounds in the gorgeous afternoon sunshine.

moonrakerhotel_32The hotel from the back- I stupidly managed to lose a memory card that had my photo of it from the front- not clever at all, it’s one of those things where I will find it in months time. moonrakerhotel_28 Our room at the Moonraker was a fantastic interconnecting family room, numbers 3 and 4 to be precise. The decor was homely and shabby chic, with it genuinely feeling a little bit like a tastefully decorated private home. moonrakerhotel_29 There are 21 varying room types in the hotel. Our girls loved having a room to themselves which literally was connected to ours by a tiny hallway, meaning we felt safe and secure.

moonrakerhotel_11We set off to explore the grounds in the beautiful golden afternoon sunshine. The Moonraker caters for weddings and I can see why- it is just stunning. The girls had so much fun running around and exploring.

moonrakerhotel_2I love this photo of me and my girls.

moonrakerhotel_1Look at the light in this one- there is just something about being right in the middle of the countryside that just makes me feel calm and at ease. moonrakerhotel_31The Moonraker takes great pride in the fact that their garden is a kitchen garden and they use a lot of the things grown there in their food.moonrakerhotel_8The girls loved exploring the grounds, there is nothing better than some afternoon sunshine and the fact they can run about without restrictions. moonrakerhotel_30  Head chef Matthew created us a mouthwatering three course meal later that evening, we were really impressed that they have their own on site smokery for meat. moonrakerhotel_3 I absolutely love this photo of my littlest girl, her eyes are so sparkly. moonrakerhotel_7  And my big girl too, it was so amazing to be able to spend quality time with her, we miss her while she is at school. moonrakerhotel_9   Exploring.

moonrakerhotel_33Watching the sun set from our room- how beautiful is that view?

That evening we were treated to a delicious three course meal in the hotel restaurant and were really surprised being that it was a Monday that the restaurant was almost full. We had warm crusty bread to begin with, with a homemade Marmite butter which was just delicious, I then had a ham and pea soup which was incredibly flavoursome, followed by the slow cooked belly pork with mash and baby carrots. Mr E had hay smoked salmon with a herb cream cheese and homemade bagel, followed by the goats cheese risotto which I tried- it was so tasty. We then shared a huge slab of baked cheesecake for dessert, before literally having to roll ourselves back to the room.

We were incredibly impressed with the restaurant at the Moonraker, the staff were friendly and efficient, without being too in your face and they really did everything to make sure that our girls were happy. We currently are on a strict beige pasta diet with our two and they cooked them some pasta specially which we thought was a fantastic touch. The atmosphere in the restaurant suited everyone- there were business types, romantic couples and then a couple of families too.

The next morning we woke up, checked out and said our goodbyes and headed into the beautiful city of Bath, which is only about 8 miles away. We hadn’t really got any plans on the agenda, other than to wander round this gorgeous place- so that’s exactly what we did.

moonrakerhotel_16Posing in the hotel grounds before we checked out- pair of crazy little people!moonrakerhotel_12 I love this photo of them together. Sometimes I think the best plan for having a mini break away is to actually not make any plans at all. We live busy lives and while a trip to the zoo, or a day out to a farm is always nice, sometimes it’s nicer just to go with the flow and not do anything much at all. moonrakerhotel_13 Bath is an incredibly beautiful place, with fantastic shopping and we loved meandering down the cobbled streets and window shopping. moonrakerhotel_24My smiley big girl and her bump. She is going to make the best big sister to our little boy, as she already is with her little sister. moonrakerhotel_17We headed to beautiful Victoria Park to burn off some energy, it is just a short walk from the city and I can imagine it would be a perfect place for a picnic in the summer months. There is an amazing kids playground there too. I love this photo of them jumping, their latest thing is to see who can jump the highest!moonrakerhotel_18Still practicing!moonrakerhotel_19We love exploring new cities as a family but it can get a little restrictive for children constantly having to hold your hand or be kept in a buggy if you use one. We love the fact that going to a park firstly gives us a little bit of an insight into what living in the city would be like and also it gives them a chance to burn off some energy.moonrakerhotel_20Poor Mr E gets a constant workout as they love to be thrown in the air and spun round constantly. It was such a lovely day in Bath the day we went but also bitterly cold. moonrakerhotel_14  After a good hour or so at the park we headed back into the city centre where we went to look at the Royal Crescent.      moonrakerhotel_22The Royal Crescent is quite the landmark in Bath- a sweeping row of 30 terraced houses. Designed by architect John Wood, it is apparently one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the United Kingdom. moonrakerhotel_21  We took in all the sights along with other tourists.moonrakerhotel_23  Mads and LL were particularly fascinated by a man stood painting a picture of the Royal Crescent which was unbelievable. moonrakerhotel_26  After a bit more wandering around, our legs were tired and our tummies were rumbling so we headed to Revolution Bath to share a couple of pizzas. I have mentioned Revolution a few times on my blog now, my husband used to work for them years ago and although they are traditionally a bar, we always find them really child friendly too- plus the food is great for a quick snack or a burger.

After a late lunch two girls and their Mummy as well were rather tired so we hopped back in the car to head to our next hotel- the White Hart in Wells. The girls told me they weren’t going to sleep but all three of us had a little snooze during the 40 minute car journey.

The White Hart in Wells is Tudor and Lucy Hopkins newest addition and one they are currently refurbishing. Set right in the heart of England’s Smallest City, it is literally ten steps from the famous cathedral. It is very different to the Moonraker in that it is more of a city property, but both of them were lovely in their different ways.

We snuggled in our room, Number fourteen, which was a room big enough to have the four of us, with the girls sleeping on a sofa bed together. The room was similar in style to the Moonraker, shabby chic, with the same gorgeous green subway tiles in the bathroom. Then it was time to go down for dinner.

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Sadlers Brasserie is the restaurant at the White Hart- a relaxed, informal restaurant with really cool tables made from old pallets. We were treated to an incredible tasting menu, again from head chef Matthew Briddon, who is the youngest chef ever to be awarded a Michelin star.

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We had a five course tasting menu, the Amuse Bouche starter was Jacket Potato Soup with Caramelised red onion. It was probably the most delicious soup I have ever eaten- it was literally outstanding and I wish I could have had some more of it! It was then on to the first course of cheddar gorge beignets with a tomato and chilli house chutney, which again was so tasty. The second course was Squid with fig perils and Asian dressing, which I have to admit I wasn’t keen on at all- this was nothing to do with the dish but more the fact that I really am fussy when it comes to seafood.

The third course was crispy French trimmed lamb chops with polenta and sweet and sour beets- lamb in my opinion can be quite fatty but this was cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth. Finally we finished off (sharing again as we couldn’t manage a whole one each!) with a treacle tart, which was sweet and gloriously soft. After yet another absolutely delicious meal we headed straight back to our room and all fell asleep pretty early.

The next morning we awoke to the most awful weather, gloomy, grey and chucking it down with rain- so much so that we didn’t really feel like exploring too much. But we couldn’t leave Wells without checking out the famous cathedral- literally a stones throw from the hotel.

We had a quick look around, took a few photos in the rain (you can even see the raindrops in the photos!) before starting back on our long 3 hour journey back home.

thewhiteheartwells_1 I love this photo of them and the love etched on both their faces. thewhiteheartwells_2 thewhiteheartwells_3 LL was not happy about the rain! thewhiteheartwells_4 thewhiteheartwells_5

We had such a lovely short break together, literally the perfect amount of time for a half term break as it meant that when we got home we still had a few days to chill out in our PJ’s. It felt really good to have no particular plans, other than just enjoy each others company, eat some delicious food and explore a little bit of these gorgeous Somerset cities.

Here is a little video of our trip-


 

NB: Thanks to the Moonraker and The White Hart for hosting myself and my family on this trip. All words and opinions are our own. 

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