This year, Steven and I decided not to spend too much on each other for Christmas, and instead booked a little weekend away for the three of us. Surprisingly, since Sophia has been born we haven’t been on holiday just the three of us – it’s always been with friends or family. So we were looking forward to a break together, away from day-to-day life, a chance to reconnect and Jay Farm (via Airbnb) was the perfect place – on the Shropshire/Herefordshire border.
Here’s an insight into our weekend on the farm…
You turn off the A49, passing quaint villages and hamlets on your way, and finally turn into a very narrow and steep road. As you follow Jay Lane, you get slightly nervous that a car will come the other way as the lane will only just fit your car. You go over a small bridge, over the racing River Clun and finally come to a set of buildings that is Jay Farm. You are met by the lovely Richard and Becky (after a quick view of the ducks), who then show you around their charming two bedroom holiday cottage…
The cottage is attached to their farmhouse, separated by a large ‘boot room’, and even though it was attached, the hosts were far away enough for privacy but also close enough if you needed anything. Simple, traditional cottage decor ran throughout, huge windows looking out to the Herefordshire countryside, a big wood burner standing tall in the living area and a private courtyard out the back with close views of the chickens, sheep, horses and goats.
Sophia settled in straight away, and loved practicing on her scooter around the courtyard and looking at the animals while we unpacked. We then put our wellies on (it was a very muddy weekend) and decided to go for a little walk – it was feeding time for the animals so that was nice to watch. Due to it being late in the day, we decided to hop in the car and explore more of the local villages. We popped into a pub ‘The Lion’ for a quick drink – very quaint and quite busy with the locals. As the sun set, we headed back to cosy up by the fire for the night (Steven found it an exciting challenge to get the fire roaring), eat some pizza and drink some wine, and when Sophia was in bed we hopped into the hot tub and sauna – it was so quiet and dark, if it wasn’t such a cloudy day we would’ve seen all the stars you can imagine. We managed to put the baby monitor on nearby, so that was peace of mind for us while we relaxed there.
We were woken up by the sun starting to peep through the curtains and by Sophia shouting ‘mummy, daddy’ on the baby monitor. We picked her up and brought her into our room and opened the curtains slightly to watch the sunrise together. Steven then set off to make breakfast for us all – full english of course (holiday treat), including eggs from the farm.
Today, we were heading to Ludlow. It’s a historic market town, with its castle proudly looking over. We found parking on one of the outskirt roads, and walked in, wandering and admiring the country shops, old buildings, cute cafes and tea rooms and of course, the famous Ludlow Market which had some amazing things on offer – I spotted a few decor items. We then approached Ludlow Castle – as history geeks, it was an amazing site and it was a safe place for Sophia to get out of her pram and roam around the grounds. The only thing was – it was extremely muddy, our shoes and the pram wheels were covered in mud – we should have been better prepared here.
Once we had cleaned up a bit, we headed to The Charlton Arms – a lovely pub with amazing views of the River Teme. We sat, watching over the river, eating our large fish-finger sandwiches at quick speed – it was Sophia’s nap time and everyone knew about it (ha)!
Once back to the car Sophia fell quickly asleep, we picked up a coffee to go and headed to Craven Arms to visit the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre. This place was great for kids, there was a museum (although Sophia was scared of the mammoth replica in there), there were activities for her to do, a shop, a cafe, a play area and walking/biking trails out the back heading into the Shropshire Hills. If we were to go back, we would hope for better weather and to bring the bikes here.
After all that fun, it was time to head back to the cottage. I had popped a Chilli Con Carne in the slow cooker so that would be ready for us all when we got back. We played some games with Sophia after tea, got the fire roaring again and snuggled down with a glass of red. Again, when Sophia was in bed, we hopped into the hot tub for one last dip before we packed our stuff up for departure in the morning.
It was Steven’s birthday today, so we celebrated in the morning with presents and a nice breakfast. Sophia was so excited but was also sad to say goodbye to our holiday cottage at 10am. We said a grateful farewell to Richard and Becky and headed off. Knowing we had to tire Sophia out before the journey home, we headed to Mickey Millers Family PlayBarn at Craven Arms. It was quite expensive compared to play centres near us but I guess it was the only one for miles and there was a lot on offer. Sophia had a great time playing before we headed back to continue Steven’s celebrations at home…
Looking back, we had such lovely family time over the weekend. It’s not often you can step back from day to day life, get back to basics and enjoy each other’s company even for just a couple of days. At first, I was a bit concerned we would be bored as there wasn’t a great deal to do compared to what we’re used to. But then I embraced it, I loved being in the country, I was able to switch off and spend some good quality time with Steven and Sophia. There was limited signal in the area and the wifi wasn’t what we were used to, so it was nice to have some time away from our screens (even though there was a TV at the cottage), but we were honestly happy playing board games and talking – I know crazy right!
I hope to go back again, in the spring or summer perhaps to enjoy the farm a bit more, and I would like to say a big thank you to Richard and Becky for making us feel so welcome. I recommend greatly to couples and to families of three or four for a staycation to ‘get away from it all’…
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