For Hubby's birthday present I bought a Buyagift voucher for two nights hotel break with breakfast for two. His birthday is in February so I was thinking lovely spring walks. However, life gets busy and we booked somewhere just before the voucher expired, so November and cold wet weather meant long walks but Christmas shopping instead.
Looking through the list of hotels available to us we reduced the choice down to no more than two hours drive away, daft going too far when we are only away three days. Then of the ones left it was what's near to good shopping places, tricky for us as we both hate shopping. Then of the ones left it was who had a vacancy.
(Sorry for this) We found a room at the inn!
Whipper-In, Oakham, Rutland. A really old coaching inn, 1700s I think. The hotel was a bit shabby in places and very creaky everywhere but full of character and the staff were all really helpful and friendly.
Driving in horrid weather does have some great skies.
Monday's journey up there was paused at the Queensgate shopping mall in Peterborough. Had to be indoors as the rain was heavy. We also had dinner in our hotel to save us going out again, and it was really nice. Some people were eating in the bar but we asked to sit in the dining room (couldn't resist the crisp white table linen). We were the only ones in there and the waiter immediately put some music on the speakers for us.
Tuesday we stayed local wandering in and out of all the little shops in Oakham. As with most town centres there were loads of pubs, cafes and restaurants and plenty of charity shops too, but we couldn't help notice the huge amount of hair dressers and barbers! The pretty town centre of Oakham was right on our doorstep and so were the church and private school which has been there since 1518.
An empty shop being refurbished had this little Chinese character in the window waving to passers by, made me smile.
In the afternoon we drove about 10 mins up the road to Gates Garden Centre which had been excitedly and enthusiastically recommended by at least four people. Maybe we were getting shopping weary but it wasn't as good as some we have near home. We also swung into a factory outlet shop having a closing down sale that we spotted.
Only got stopped at the level crossing once, but it was for ages!
Wednesday's shopping started with a wander round the market right outside our hotel (very small so didn't take long) then onto the huge retail outlet centre in Spaldington which had this attractive water feature.
Got home just before 5pm as we were both out again for the evening.
I would like to report that we have completed our Christmas shopping.....would like to but I can't, we barely got anything ticked off the list! Was a lovely interlude together though.