This weeks escapades saw me in Chester. A friend had booked a weekend retreat at Rookery Hall (Handpicked Hotels) and asked if I would like to join her, I’m not sure why she thought I may be interested in a trip away?!
My first issue was what to pack, I knew we were going to a nice hotel, and as a firm un-believer in the weather forecast (they are always wrong) I made my own prediction that the weather would probably be pants. It is summer in England after all. I packed some jeans, a skirt, my pajamas and a couple of thin jumpers and set off on our 4 hour journey up north.
Once we had checked in to our wonderful suite, and finished jumping around the room with the excitement of our freebies (chocolates, wine, fruit), we went for a late night dip in the spa pool, shrivelled up in the steam room, and headed back to our room for some further relaxation and a film about suicide. OK that sounds quite morbid but it was the only thing on TV and it was actually a funny adaptation of a story by Nick Hornby.
The next morning we were woken with breakfast in bed, and being someone who doesn’t normally eat breakfast, I decided to be sensible and order a little bit of everything on the breakfast menu. After all, I needed to take advantage of the fact breakfast was included in the stay.
We didn’t realise how close we were to the Peak District, so we took an hours drive to a popular walking spot and headed off with our map-less written directions. This is when I should have planned my outfit better. It happened to be a mini heatwave. I definitely didn’t need my jumper, and I was glad that I had kept my pajama vest top on because we actually ended up on a full blown hike. I soon found out that a little denim popper skirt wasn’t the most convenient choice of clothing, which popped undone every time I climbed over a fence or a style. My choice of footwear could have been better too, but if it’s one thing I have learnt is that Birkenstocks are incredibly durable.
I’m not sure whether it was worth ‘mountain’ status, but one of the hills was pretty much vertical and meant that we had to make rather large zig zags down its descent to cross a fresh water stream at the bottom. It was probably quite a sight, me trying to navigate my way off the embankment and through the stream, whilst clutching on to my handbag and trying to keep my camera from slipping off my neck, before literally clambering up a vertical ‘hill’ (I would prefer to call it a mountain) in my sandals and a skirt that kept coming off.
We ended up being very sweaty, and very lost, but it was fabulous to be on a proper adventure in the English countryside. I was more than happy wading through the hip length grass and squelching my way through the questionably smelly bogs en route to find our car. I was excited at the idea of taking Molly for ‘adventure’ trips, we could camp in the Lake District, or hike in Wales. But at 3, she may be a little bit too young. As I was climbing the never ending road with a vertical summit, just the idea of hearing the words “mummy, can you carry me?” made me want to pass out (even more).
Once showered and dressed back at our hotel, we headed to the restaurant to enjoy our three course meal which was somewhat exceptional. We were given complimentary glasses of champagne, a very tasty pre-starter dish, and I was absolutely over the moon to enjoy a peppermint sorbet for desert AND discover the most amazing gin I have ever tasted.
A very enjoyable stay, with the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. The staff at Rookery Hall were all lovely, the service was brilliant, and it was all very.. wonderful.
I would definitely recommend a trip to Rookery Hall, and I shall definitely be returning to The Peak District with Molly.
Thank you Hand Picked Hotels, I shall pack better next time.