Mother’s Day in Warwickshire – sorted!
Treating your mum? Hope to be treated yourself? (some chance). Either way we have ideas aplenty to spoil the most important lady in your life.
Everywhere gets so darn booked up for Mothering Sunday – as you’ll know, if you’ve ever spent the week before desperately trying to nab a restaurant reservation only to find it’s Burger King or bust. So, in the interests of being super-organized, we’ve decided to get in there early this year with our guide to what to do with your mother – or your children – on Sunday March 11 (I can think of a few suggestions that aren’t quite in keeping with the spirit of the day, but let’s leave that there). Here are Muddy’s mega Mothering Sunday picks…
Family Sunday lunch (or brekkie) – don’t worry, you don’t have to cook it
I’m trying to work my way around our county’s many, excellent local pubs (*hic*). Some Muddy favourites for a family lunch include The Royal Oak, Whatcote refurbished by Solanche and Richard Craven, who previously owned The Chef’s Dozen in Chipping Campden, and The Kitchen, Farnborough, a Grade II listed rural inn with a Savoy and Dorchester trained owner/chef, where a seasonal menu sourced from their very own Kitchen Garden includes such tempting delights as Coconut & Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Rhubarb & Ginger Crumble. Yum. Over at the stylish George Townhouse in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire’s Pub of the Year 2017 and Church Townhouse, Stratford mums will be treated to a complimentary Xeco Ginger cocktail when dining from the set Mother’s Day menu. The Cross in Kenilworth, Warwickshire’s only Michelin starred restaurant in Warwickshire, will be serving lunch from £30 for 2-courses. Pumpkin Pie and Brown bread ice cream sandwich with blueberries and sorrel are on the imaginative Mother’s Day menu at Paul Foster’s Crowd-funded Salt, next door to another of Stratford’s fine food restaurants, No 9 Church Street.
For one day only, the Michelin starred Peel’s Restaurant at Hampton Manor, a foodie’s country retreat, will be opening on Sun March 11 for a bespoke four-course tasting menu and re-locating to the Courtyard. It starts at 12 noon with frizzante and canapés. (Tel 01675 446 080 to book). A complimentary glass of bubbly comes with Mother’s Day Lunch at Muddy Award-winning restaurant Cafe Vin Cinq opposite Rugby School. Hill Top Farm’s Mother’s Day Menu includes a Sunday roast with beef and lamb from the farm. If you’re a family of earlybirds you may feel inclined to avoid the mad rush and go for a celebratory brekkie/brunch. One of my faves is Coffee Architects in Leamingon – although The Star & Garter‘s new breakfast menu includes a special Pink Grapefruit Breakfast G&T. Tempting! And finally in, the week leading up to Mothering Sunday, Leamington’s Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay is offering a free Strawberry Bellini to all mums while dining from Sun March 4. You’re welcome – you deserve it!
A family walk (that’s not the school run)
If the weather is looking good (we can but hope), tell your kids to cane the moaning about their legs being tired and head off for a nice family stroll. We’re spoilt for choice for scenic surroundings in our region but your starter for ten includes the stonking grounds of Charlecote landscaped Deer Park; Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park with its Capability Brown landscaped gardens is offering free entry to the grounds for mums and grandma’s. Other stately homes include Ragley Hall and gardens in Alcester, nearby Tudor House Coughton Court. For those fancying a heritage walk explore the grounds of Warwick Castle or Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardens or Warwickshire’s miniature Stonehenge – the ancient Rollright Stones near Shipston-on-Stour. Then there’s nature reserves like Coombe Abbey Country Park outside Coventry or one of Warwickshire’s country parks and woodlands (Ryton Pools, Burton Dassett Hills, Ufton Fields Nature Reserve or Stratford Greenway).
Slightly further afield is Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire with its 2000 acres of Capability Brown landscaped gardens; Stowe gardens near Buckingham (because why stop at one Capability Brown success story?) or Chastleton House (the house itself is newly reopened too).
I, for one, will never turn down the opportunity to scoff a scone and I’m guessing that you’re partial to an afternoon tea too. Allow me to suggest the ritzy Ettington Park Hotel for afternoon tea while listening to a violinist play, with a gift for every mum. Sweet treats include Raspberry and Coconut Squares, Passionfruit Jaffa Cakes, Caramel Profiteroles, Caramelised Pineapple Upside-down Cakes and Egg Custard Tarts. Children can also enjoy a special afternoon tea with an activity pack. Tea is served in the Oak Room, the historic Library or the elegant South Room, 1pm – 4pm.
At elegant Grade II Listed Whittles at Binswood Hall, Leamington Spa, munch on cakes bearing women’s names on March 10 & 11 and in town itself is lovely, quirky Vinteas, with its extensive loose tea menu. Award-winning 1930s/40s style Ivy’s Vintage Tea Room in Lutterworth on the Warks/Leics border is a blogger’s dream with vintage china where staff dress up in landgirl bandanas – and brucey bonus they’re offering mum’s a complimentary glass of Prosecco on March 11. Waiting staff also dress up 1940’s style at The Fourteas Tea Room in Sheep Street, Stratford. You can listen to the likes of Vera Lynn and Glen Miller while sampling their Ivor Novello Afternoon tea. Sadly, sold out on March 11 Hampton Manor has an afternoon tea fit for a foodie beginning with a chef demonstration and welcome drink in the pastel-clad Parlour if you’re prepared to book an alternative date!
Mother/ adult daughter jaunts (no kids allowed)
Over in Birmingham? Looking for something grown-up and child-free to do with your mum? You can always book a Mother’s Day Sunday lunch – which includes a glass of Mumm Rose Champagne – or a cocktail afternoon tea at boutique hotel Malmaison in The Mailbox. Head over to Harvey Nichols restaurant and bar or Fumo Selfridges, on the 4th floor after a spot of shopping. On Sat March 10 celebrities and beauty industry insiders will be giving quick-fix tricks and tips at a Beauty Breakfast and Pamper Afternoon in Selfridges including The Guardian’s Sali Hughes and TV presenter Miquitia Oliver with her mum Andi Oliver (TV chef). Tickets £50 which include a £25 gift card to spend on the day. Or how about Brindley Place after checking out the latest exhibitions at the Ikon Gallery. One of my favourite places to eat is Bodega, a South American inspired neighbourhood cantina, in Bennetts Hill – for something more relaxed and great cocktails. Over at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge afternoon tea is served on vintage crockery in decadent 1920s surroundings and you have three cocktail lounges to choose from. Indulge yourselves with a beauty, spa treatment and if you fancy a game of golf, 20 minutes away at four-star luxury hotel The Belfry. Or you could always catch Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated mum-and-daughter coming-of-age film, Lady Bird at one of three indie cinemas, Mockingbird, Everyman Cinema or The Electric.
We love the new Barbara Hepworth exhibit at the River & Rowing Museum (and it will only take you half an hour to look around, leaving more time for lunch). Or take her for a jaunt around Oxford – up the top of the Sheldonian Theatre for the best views in Oxford, a dip into Magdalen or Christchurch College for an ooh-ahhh on the most beautiful uni colleges, a dip into the little known (and stunning) Christchurch Picture Gallery to see drawings by old masters before heading down to Christchurch Meadow for a meander to the river.
Or how about a London shopping trip avec mama? Central London is so much calmer and more pleasant on a Sunday than a Saturday. Jump on the train to Marylebone or Paddington (don’t forget shops close at 4pm on Sundays so start earlyish), and have a wander down the villagey boutiquey Marylebone High Street, before heading to Selfridges to flex your credit card. The iconic department store’s Mothering Sunday activities are still tba but they usually involve Prosecco and pampering (yes please). After all that exhausting shopping – what troopers! – you’ll definitely need a cocktail-based refreshments before heading back to the station. Try the super-cool new 31 Below, café by day and basement bar by night.