run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Monday 5 July 2021

A family-friendly week in Shropshire cottage Drover's Rest

Back in the old, pre-Covid days, I was a devoted hotel lover. I had a mental league table of the best-ever hotel breakfast buffets. I loved the social factor of meeting others and chatting about the best things to do, and the kids making friends. Someone else tidied the room..

I know lots of people with kids find self-catering easier, and it definitely can be more affordable, but a week doing the same cooking, eating the same Weetabix breakfasts, tidying up all the time and doing so without the home comforts that made it easier didn't hold the same appeal.

But Covid shook everything up and we haven't yet felt comfortable enough to go back to a hotel. We wanted to explore a part of England we hadn't been to as a family and started cottage-hunting. We found Drover's Rest, a newly-built farmhouse-style property (all wood, glass and stunning views across the Long Mynd and Shropshire Hills. 

It was fantastic. I'm a City girl, London born-and-bred, but even I started day-dreaming about moving to the countryside as our kids ran freely in the beautiful fields on our doorstep. Our baby started saying 'baa' every time she saw one of the many, many newborn lambs just a few steps from the cottage, and the water and air tasted and smelt so pure and fresh!

The cottage was impressive: two very comfortable bedrooms with expansive views, bifolding doors from the lounge to a painting-like landscape; a small garden with barbecue leading through to fields full of sheep, and wild horses (we saw hours-old foals). The cottage had a lovely selection of new novels and children's books plus local interest reads; there were lots of baby items available (stair gate, for the terrifying wooden stairs!, high chair, cot, etc), a bath so big that the toddler started swimming in it, and everything was such a high quality and pristine (Joseph Joseph kitchenware, Egyptian cotton towels, The Wool Room duvets) that it felt like we were the first people there. 

The area has so many adventures for families: older ones than ours would enjoy biking the hills, we walked as much as our toddler would let us, and all three loved paddling in the streams around Carding Mill Valley and Gogbatch. We went to Ironbridge and the brilliant Victorian village there, Blists Hill; we ate at the delicious CSons in Ludlow and explored Shrewsbury too.

The owner of Drover's End, Simon, lives next door and swiftly became our kids' best friend as they whizzed around in a tractor lawnmower, planted pea plants and participated in a two-minute raid on a strawberry plant-packed greenhouse (how many strawbs can a four year old eat in a minute? You'd be surprised!)

I don't think we'll ever permanently leave the bustle of London behind - but another trip to Shropshire, and Drover's End particularly, definitely appeals to us all.


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