Browsing Tag:


Orchard Escapes | Mini Break in Bath

Posted in Explore by

This year for Rich’s Birthday we headed down the M4 for a couple of days in Bath. Calum had been previously but this was Rich’s first visit.  It is safe to say we loved the city, and seeing as it is only a couple of hours away I am sure we will be heading back soon. There is lots to do in the city, here are some of our highlights:

Things to do

Audio Walking Tour

Bath|Pulteney Bridge

The City of bath is a UNESCO world Heritage site. To get a sense of the city we downloaded the free audio guide and went on a walk around the sites. We really recommend this, it very interesting and helped us understand more about the history of what we were looking at. The tour takes about an hour, and you can stop off at many of the sites on the way round, or use it as a tool to get a sense of the city and then head back to your favourites later.  They also have a Jane Austin themed audio guide if that is your thing? Download here.

Roman Baths

Bath | Roman Baths

A trip to Bath wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the baths! We headed here later in the day, after the crowds have dispersed, and it was very enjoyable.  The main attraction is the great baths in the centre of the complex but the accompanying museum and audio guide really help you get a sense of the place Find out more.

Bath Abbey

Bath | Bath Abbey

Built as an abbey church rather than a cathedral, but no less impressive. Most of what you see was constructed in the 16th Century in the perpendicular style, making it one of the last flourishes of the medieval gothic style.  The Abbey bridges the gap between the Roman and the Georgian history of the city. Find out more.

The Circus & The Royal Crescent

Bath | Royal Crescent

The jewels in the crown of the Georgian city, and for good reason!  These two complexes were built for wealthy visitors to the city that came to take the waters at the baths. Well worth wandering up to. For a peek inside go to No1 Royal Crescent where they have decorated in a style from the late 18th century. Find out more.

Prior Park

Bath | Prior Park

A short walk to the south of the City is Prior Park Landscape Gardens. You may wish to take the bus out there as it is uphill and there is no parking at the site.  The gardens were developed for wealthy local businessman Ralph Allen in the 18th Century in the fashionable landscape style of the time.  The gardens are situated in a sweeping valley, with views of the city beyond. One of the highlights is the Palladian Bridge, which is one of only four remaining in the world. Find out more.

Food & Drink…

As we just had a couple of days in Bath we didn’t really get to explore as much of the bars and restaurants as we would have wanted.  There is a huge range to choose from, here are our thoughts.

Burger & Barrels

A short walk from the centre, over the river is Burger & Barrels. A tiny place that serves the best burgers in the city (officially they won the Bath Food Award!) and has a good range of beers. Suited us down to the ground!

Boston Tea Party

So it turns out that the Boston Tea Party is an independent chain of cafes originally from Bristol and now with branches all over the west country.  We went to their newly refurbished Alfred Street location for breakfast. Good atmosphere, good food, good start to the day!

The Griffin Inn

A small pub on Monmouth Street, The Griffin Inn has an excellent selection of craft beers, and very enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. Well worth stopping off for a pint.

Bath Brew House

A large craft beer pub with an excellent selection of beer including some they brew themselves. The Bath Brew House also has a brewery tour if that takes your fancy. It also has a large garden if the weather is nice.

Pierre Bistro

Another chain that I had never heard of before (mainly because they don’t have any locations in the South East),  Pierre Bistro is a light and airy French style bistro on George Street. Open from Breakfast to dinner, we headed here for lunch.  The food was fantastic, as was the service; it was very good value for what you get!


Bath | Shopping

We didn’t really have enough time for shopping, but on wandering around the city it is clear that Bath has lots to offer.  The High Street chains are clustered around Southgate, there are a good selection of high end interior shops on Milsom Street, and dozens of independent shops scattered around the place catering for every taste.  Might have to head back here for our Christmas shopping!

Have you been to Bath? What were your thoughts, do you have any tips? We’d love to hear them.

Bath | The Circus Bath | Roman Baths Orchard Escapes | Bath

Orchard Blog | Bath Minibreak
17th May 2016

Top Five | Birthday Week

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

It’s was Richard’s Birthday this week, any excuse for a some celebrations is good with us!  Let’s see what this week’s top five includes:


Top Five 16051

On Tuesday it was Richard’s 34th Birthday. Where does the time go to? To celebrate we went out for a meal at The Sun Inn, Chobham with Richard’s folks.  An excellent meal and really good value!


Top Five 16052

Carrying on the celebration on Wednesday we both took the day off work and headed to Bristol Zoo. For the passed three years we have gone to a zoo as a birthday day out for Richard, so this year we carried on the tradition. It is a lovely little zoo, and well worth a visit if you are in the area.


Top Five 16055

It was also our good friend Lauren’s Birthday last week so on Saturday we had Lauren, Ben and our Godson Dexter round for a drinks and nibbles in the sunshine.  All very civilised!


Top Five 16054

Looking for something to do on Sunday we decided to head to Winchester, it is not far from us but we had never visited so we thought it would be good to explore. It is a gorgeous, historic city with plenty of attractions and shopping to keep us entertained.  We also headed to Molly’s Den, a vintage and antiques warehouse on the edge of the city, just our sort of place!


Top Five 16053

Whilst we’re staying at Richard’s folks we get the pleasure of living with Hettie, their one-eyed rescue dog. She is the most gentle and charming dog we’ve ever met. When Richard works from home she keeps him company!

16th May 2016

Days Out | Petworth House

Posted in Explore by

The weather was so lovely on Sunday we decided to head out for the day.  Making the most of our National Trust membership we fired up their rather useful app and started browsing where to go.  We settled on Petworth House, it had been on out ‘to visit’ list and was only about 45 minutes away. So off we set!

Petworth House is a rather grand seventeenth century mansion set in the beautiful South Downs. The house was built in 1688 by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset. It contains some amazing works of art, including works by JMW Turner who was a frequent visitor to the house. There are many highlights to a tour around the house, but our favourites were The Marble Hall, The North Gallery and The Chapel, which is a remnant of the previous house on the site.

The parkland was created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in his typical English Landscape style. As it is the 300th anniversary of Brown’s birth Petworth has a series of events and exhibitions to celebrate. There are mapped walks around the park, and plenty of picturesque places to stop and have a picnic. We did just that, sat in the Pleasure Gardens near the Doric Temple, amongst a carpet of bluebells.

After the house and gardens we had a look around the servants quarters, housed in a separate block. It is fascinating to see the scale of the ‘downstairs’ that was required to keep a house such as Petworth functioning. In the servants quarters is the ‘back door’ of the house into Petworth Town. Well worth a little wander around.  There are plenty of cafes and antiques shops to keep us happy!

Find out more on the National Trust website

Day out | Petworth HouseDay out | Petworth House Day out | Petworth House Day out | Petworth House Day out | Petworth House Day out | Petworth House

Day out | Petworth House
10th May 2016

Top Five | Summer’s on its way!

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

Summer has come early this week, so time to enjoy the weather. This is our Top Five things over the last week:


Top Five | BBQ

BBQing! When the sun shines we do what every self respecting British person does and we fire up the BBQ! Calum is the chef in our household, and he is getting quite the expert on the old BBQ. Although don’t get him started on Gas vs Charcoal!


Top Five | White Hart, Chobham

Richard along with his folks went the The White Hart, Chobham. Richard’s folks used to live over the road from this pub, and were great friends with the Landlords. That was about 25 years ago now, and the pub has been through various changes since. Most recently the pub has had a lovely refurbishment, and makes a great village pub!


Top Five | Picnic Spot

Besides BBQing, the other great British summer tradition is a Picnic.  Whilst we were out and about on Sunday we found a lovely spot for a picnic lunch. Hopefully the 1st of many this summer!


Top Five | Banana

Whilst we are busy  sorting out our veg patch there have been lots of trips to the garden centre for supplies. Lurking in the clearance section Richard found a ornamental banana plant that was just asking to be taken home an looked after. For a couple of quid it seemed like a wise investment!


Top Five | Annie Cat

In our temporary abode we are sharing with a couple of pets. This is Annie, a characterful cat that is adding a little joy into our lives.  She also likes boxes.

9th May 2016

Orchard Escapes | Weekend in Stockholm

Posted in Explore by

In 2015 for Richard’s Birthday we headed to Stockholm for a long weekend. We are both massive Nordiphiles and this trip just cemented our love for the north. Stockholm manages to be charming and historic, but also exceptionally cool and fashionable. A winning combination that makes it a perfect destination to spend a long weekend.

We stayed in the Östermalm district, close to some of the most upmarket shops and restaurants and only a short walk from Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and Djurgården. We had an amazing time, here are some of our highlights.

Things to do…


Stockholm | Skansen

Probably one of our Highlights or the trip! Situated on Djurgården, Skansen is part zoo, part outdoor museum. It has about 150 preserved houses and building moved from all over Sweden, many of the museum staff are in period attire and help give a great insight of how Swedes used to live. It is huge and you could easily spend all day here. We learnt about Swedish wildlife, folk traditions and sampled local food. Find out more.


Stockholm | Vassmuseet

On Djurgården is a museum dedicated to a massive fail! The Vassmuseet is the home of the 17th century warship the Vasa. The Vasa was the flagship of the Swedish navy, but within minutes of setting off on its maiden voyage in 1682 the top heavy ship sank. Preseverd by the cold Baltic waters the ship was salvaged in the 1950s and moved to the custom designed Vassmuseet in the 1980s and is brilliantly exhibited. Well worth a visit. Find out more.

Nordiska Museet

Stockholm | Nordiska Museet

Also on Djurgården, not far from the Vassmuseet, is the Nordiska Museet a large cultural history museum.  It is housed in an impressive building, a pastiche of a Scandinavian castle, and has huge collection of things Swedish.  We love a museum anyway, but this really helps you understand the country’s culture.  We loved finding out all about Swedish traditions, and the exhibition about Sami life in Sweden.  Find out more.

Royal Palace

Stockholm |Royal Palace

You’d be hard pressed to miss the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) on Gamla Stan, it is one of the largest royal palaces in world. Although it is no longer the King’s actual residence it is still the official home of the Swedish monarchy, and hosts most of the official functions and court department. A wander around is very interesting. Also make sure you check out the royal regalia in The Treasury and Armoury.  Find out more.

Drottningholm Palace

Stockholm | Drottningholm Palace

We loved Drottningholm! This is 17th Centaury palace on the outskirts of Stockholm is the royal family’s residence. It is UNESCO protected and well worth the boat trip out to have a look around. The boat takes about an hour and leaves from near the City hall. It is a gorgeous trip in itself but when the palace comes into view it is something else.  As well as looking around the beautiful rooms in the palace we has a tour around the Court Theatre, built in 1766 it has remained almost untouched since 1792, making it the Oldest theatre in the world still in its original state.  The palace grounds are particularly lovely to walk around, and the Chinese Pavilion, an 18th Century ‘summer palace’ in the ground is gorgeous highlight with its rococo interiors with chinoiserie. Find out more.

Boat Trips

Stockholm is built on 14 island, so water is everywhere! This makes a boat trip one of the best ways to see the city.  There are plenty of tours to choose from, we did the Royal Canal tour.  Find out more. 

Food & Drink…

It is clear that the Swedes love their food, and there is a brilliant selection of places to choose from. Here is a few of the places we discovered:

Meatballs for the People

When in Sweden eh? Situated on the southern island of Södermalm (cool area, worth a visit) Meatballs for the People was a great find! A casual place for meatballs and a beer, we were very happy travellers!


A large bar on a terrace overlooking Gamla Stan and Djurgården. Mossebacke is a bit run down, but the views more than make up it! Head here for a beer at sunset.

Taverna Brillo

Near out hotel we found Taverna Brillo, it bills itself as ‘an Italian brasserie in a Swedish form’. In Östermalm there are lots of lovely restaurants to choose from, but we chose here as it was the Dining Room right combination of formal and casual for Richard’s Birthday meal. It also has a food market and a separate bar.

Flippin’ Burgers

Burgers are probably the hipster’s food of choice, so in a city as cool as Stockholm it seemed a good idea to join the locals and head to a burger joint. Flippin’ Burgers has some of the best in the city, and it is well worth the queue to get in.

There were lots of other cool things about Stockholm. The fashionable shops, the great food, the cafes, the Princess Cake (delicious!), the cool locals – this list could go on and on. We loved our 4 days in Stockholm and will definitely be heading back!

Have you been to Stockholm, what were your highlights we’d love to know?

Stockholm | Gamla Stan Stockholm | Gamla Stan

Orchard Blog | Stockholm Weekend
4th May 2016

Days Out | Ightham Mote

Posted in Explore by

Last October we signed up the The National Trust; Perhaps a sign of our impending middle age, but more likely dues to our love of old houses and the countryside. Since we signed up we have been exploring a raft of properties, we are going to share some out our photos and thoughts here.

Day out - Ightham Mote

On Sunday 1st May we made the most of the Sunny weather and headed to Ightham Mote (pronounced Item Moat) in Kent.  The House is a fourteenth century moated manor house, and eludes all the period charm you would expect of a 700 year old house.   The historian David Starkey describes the house as ‘one of the most beautiful and interesting of English country houses’ and who are we to disagree?

The House is sounded by a moat consists of about 70 rooms around a very beautiful central courtyard. Highlights include the great hall, the old and new chapels, a tudor painted ceiling and the only listed dog house in the country. There are introductory talks to help you get a sense of the place, and you can do a tour of the tower to learn even more.

The gardens are very pleasant to walk around, and there are 3 guided walks around the estate. As it is bluebell time of year we opted for the Scathes Wood route.  This being a National Trust property there is a lovely little shop and a cafe for lunch or tea.

Find out more at the National Trust website
Day out - Ightham MoteDay out - Ightham MoteDay out - Ightham MoteDay out - Ightham Mote

A great day out at a 14th Century Manor House./div>


3rd May 2016

Top Five | Bank Holiday Weekend

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

May Day Bank Holiday weekend, as sure sign that spring is in full swing and time some new adventures. This is our top five for the Bank Holiday weekend.


Top Five | Gardening

One of the joys of gardening is taking time to admire your handiwork. We have been going great guns on our veg patch, so it was lovely to enjoy a beer and take stock. Plenty more to do, but we’re feeling confident!


Top Five | Columbia Road

On Sunday morning we got up early and headed into town to go to the Columbia Road Flower Market. We bought a few plants and some flowers for the cottage. Columbia Road flower market is one of the delights of London on a Sunday, and if you of be sure to stop by Cafe Columbia for a bagel and a coffee – a pretty simple place but it is one of our favourites!


Top Five| Quebec House

We are currently making the most of our National Trust membership, we headed to Quebec House in Westerham, Kent.  This eighteenth century house was the childhood home of General James Wolfe.  It is a charming smaller property, very interesting to look around.


Top Five | Pancakes

As is tradition in our house we always have pancakes on Bank Holidays. Neither of us are quite sure why or when we started this tradition, but we carry on regardless!


Top Five | Chobham Carnival

Richard grew up in Chobham, Surrey.  Every May Day bank holiday the village turns out for it’s annual carnival. As a child Richard took part in the carnival; it is great to go back, see old friends and enjoy the fact that in the 2o years since not much has changed!

2nd May 2016

Top Five | This Week’s Adventures

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

Every week we are going to share five things we have been up to, things we’ve discovered or things that have made us smile. so without further ado let’s get on with this weeks top five!


We went to the Village of Bibury in the Cotswolds. it was a glorious day and was wonderful to walk around their picturesque village; the highlight being the seventeenth-century weavers’ cottages and water meadow.


It is Bluebell season!  Bluebells are undoubtably one of the most iconic of british wild flowers, is there anything better than a walk in a bluebell wood?


Whilst we are living with Richard’s Mum & Dad we will be looking after their veg patch, and creating a cutting garden. One of the first things we planted in the cutting garden are some sweetpeas, we’re looking forward to their gorgeous scent later in there summer.


After much discussion back and forth we have decided to head for a week in the Loire Valley. We have been before, but it is so lovely and really not that far away or expensive. Very much looking forward to lots of wine, food, exploring chateaux and relaxation!


Top Five | Desk

Now we have temporarily moved into Richard’s Mum & Dad’s cottage, Richard needed to set up a place for him to work as a freelance graphic designer. He has created a cosy nook, with plenty of natural light and surrounded but some of his favourite things.

25th April 2016