Forget snow-white steeds tossing their manes and knights in chain mail, baring swords. All the modern princess of today needs is a train ticket, a great friend with exquisite taste in music and a glass of bubbly in the sunshine. Disclaimer: we were guests of Hever Castle.
Leaving London quickly behind (it’s only a 40-minute train ride, the perfect day trip from London Bridge Station.)
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the London skyline. It’s been a dozen years already, and my heart still thumps every time I get to admire the beautiful views of London town – even more when it’s accompanied by champagne and afternoon tea at the Shangri-La London. Disclaimer: We were guests of Shangri-La London, but all flute tinkling, fork twirling and London skyline admiration is pure, unadulterated me.
Celebrating motherhood and the eagerly anticipated birth of the baby (little Archie!) of His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, this Royal High Tea takes inspiration from people closest to the chef’s hearts – their mothers.
The beautiful Vintry and Mercer hotel has a beautiful sense of place that is obvious from the moment you step over the threshold. With foundations laid on (the fantastically named) Garlick Hill, this newly opened Small Luxury Hotel is full of moments where the local London history permeates. Disclaimer: We were guests of Vintry and Mercer, but all wistful story scraps, allusions to local history and words are very much mine and mine alone.
Located in the historic Vintry Ward, the hotel is inspired by the rich cultural influences of the historic area – where the Vintry Guild traded wines and the Mercer Guild traded in fine fabrics. I adored the references scattered through the hotel to these historic trades, from an evolving menu of wines to bespoke fabrics and old trading maps throughout the 92 individually decorated rooms, hallways and dining spaces. Often hotels struggle with the dance between being a beige box that you sleep in and tourist overload, but here it’s perfectly balanced.
The honey-stone walls of Oxford city centre conjure all kinds of wishes and whimsy – and each time that I’ve stayed overnight in Oxford, it’s like slipping into an architectural Narnia. Disclaimer: On this visit I was an invited guest of Mercure Hotels and Experience Oxfordshire, but all thoughts and laboured literary metaphors are very much my own.
Oxford is one of those cities that seems unaffected by the passing of time.
I have a confession to make. I have a full blown cat addiction, and, I’m not even sorry. Those soft little ears, twitching tails and indifferent faces cast a spell that have us dashing around the globe and visiting enough cat cafes to have a shortlist of 10 of the best cat cafes in the world. All the while a sleepy little tabby cat snoozes at home in London…
Once we’ve booked flights and perused hotels, Google searching for a cat cafe is one of the first things I do – and I’ve been accused of carrying out those 3 tasks in a slightly different order. It’s something I can neither confirm nor deny, but we do have a rather high hit rate of booking accommodation close to cat cafes. I’ll just leave that there, shall I?