Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


January 28, 2014

Heythorp Park, Oxfordshire, England

Winston Churchill once said “I’m easily satisfied with the very best” and as far as quotes go this is probably one of my favourites.

After a slightly dismal week, I needed a good old fashioned weekend break, as you do! I was thinking about Paris but then couldn’t face all the bother of dealing with airports so my next option was something close to home which had a pool and a big slice of cake located nearby (Don’t judge me – I will travel for cake!).

As it was Thursday by the time I had made the decision to flag the whole Paris idea and have a mini staycation, I knew I didn’t have a great amount of time to trawl through websites finding something suitable and that’s where the trusty IHG brand came in handy with the Crowne Plaza Heythorp Park, located very close to Woodstock in the Oxfordshire countryside.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park crowne plaza lobby

I booked us into a King Bed Executive Room which was lovely although a bit basic when it came to the in room amenities however I did enjoy the fresh light colour of the room as I normally find the Crowne Plaza brand to be very dark and gloomy.

80 pairs of shoes crowne plaza heythorp park oxfordshire

After spending almost two nights a week staying in the Crowne Plaza Leeds hotel for 6 months many years ago, the Oxfordshire property is definitely a breathe of fresh air.

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Due to the inclement English weather and not wishing to freeze to death in Oxfordshire or get soaked through to the skin due to the pelting rain and hail, we decided to take a snoop around the other hotel.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel entrance

Just to confuse matters, there are two hotel properties at Heythorp Park – the Crowne Plaza is the very modern section of the property while the De Vere Venues Heythorp Park Hotel is the very traditional English Country Estate.  Both properties are linked through a series of passages and you can charge bills to your room between the two properties.

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Little did we know that on our snoop around that we would find out that Afternoon Tea could be served in the Wedgwood Room or in the bar area at De Vere Venues Park Hotel; with it pouring with rain outside we decided that this meant it was cake time.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel wedgwood

The kitchen managed to rustle me up part of a gluten free Afternoon Tea however I didn’t get any cakes or pastries but still got charged full price. (I won’t moan too much as we didn’t give them any pre-warning).

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park afternoon tea gluten free oxfordshire

G on the other hand got stuffed with sandwiches, scones and cakes – so much so he was struggling and then fell into a cake coma i.e. he fell asleep on the comfy sofa – he will deny this charge and also that he was snoring however both are fact!

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park afternoon tea oxfordshire

Needing to walk off that cake we continued our snoop session around the De Vere Hotel; it was like walking around a beautiful National Trust property.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel bars and lounge area

We booked in for a late night dinner at the Brassy restaurant which is in the Crowne Plaza section of the hotel and had an enjoyable albeit slightly confusing dinner when certain items from the menu weren’t included on the dinner plate (my mushrooms) or were included on the plate – case in point, G had two helpings of potatoes after getting told his meal came with no potatoes so he ordered a side only for his plate to arrive with potatoes! Oh so confusing and poor G almost turned into a spud.

I will say the restaurant staff were fantastic in providing me with gluten free options from the menu, so a big thank you!

The next morning we had breakfast back in the Brassy Restaurant; if you are staying I suggest you prebook breakfast the day before as you get 25% off the price. I was quickly provided with toasted gluten free bread without any fuss which was super as I’m a monster when I don’t get my food.

Okay this doesn’t really have anything to do with the hotel but more with me; I don’t like scrambled eggs – I tried them again at breakfast and I still don’t like them. After a few mouthfuls I gave up and G asked if we could have boiled eggs which the staff were more than happy to provide (thank you!). I should probably point out that I’m not a fan of omelettes either; I’m a googly boiled egg with soldiers kind of girl or poached. (My egg rant is now over!).

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park crowne plaza boiled eggs

After packing up we decided to have a dip in the pool and just relax for a few hours before heading back. Unfortunately both the sauna and the steam room where out of order on Sunday, grr!  But alas it had stopped raining and we had a little walk around the estate.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel grounds

The hotels are surrounded by a lovely golf course if you are that way inclined; I’m more inclined to hunt out a piece of cake then to follow a little white ball around.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel golf course

After leaving Heythorp Park we stopped off in Woodstock, it’s just one of those gorgeous honeycomb villages in Oxfordshire which makes you want to pack up all your belongings and move there.

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The shopping is pretty amazing with cute antique shops which resemble museums, craft shops, cake shops, along with a large abundance of pubs…

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park woodstock oxfordshire signs

…great door knockers

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park woodstock oxfordshire knockers

…and don’t forgot the gorgeous church

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park woodstock oxfordshire church

Close to Woodstock is Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill; the Palace isn’t open until mid February however you can still visit the grounds. I have still yet to visit inside the Palace so as they say – third time lucky!

What’s your favourite part of Oxfordshire? Can you recommend a truly fabulous property in the Cotswolds to stay in?


P.S. Rebecca, Emma and I are having a travel link up on the 1st of February; if you are keen to get involved please email me and I will send you the details.

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