Destinations | Perfect Weekend

Carole Bamford’s Cotswolds

The founder of Daylesford Organic and Bamford luxury womenswear and spa range opened her Oxfordshire pub The Wild Rabbit in September 2013

January 20 2014
Beatrice Aidin

I get up at around 5.30am on Saturday and walk my two Labradors, Cassi and Olive, and my shih-tzu, Bellini, which I do twice a day. Back at the house, I spend half an hour with Vettri, a Pranayama yoga specialist. We do salutations, a mantra and meditation. The calmness sets me up for the weekend.

After breakfast at home with my husband, I go to the local farmer’s market in Stroud. It’s an excellent place to source food; one time I found someone who makes very good pies and we now sell them at our farm shop. I also visit Polly Lyster, who hand-dyes antique fabrics that she sources from around the world. I love the feel of the materials, the depth of colours and the history, and use them as table linen at home. I don’t mind one bit if they are patched or mended – it’s part of the look, plus they are so soft. I also have some of her clothes.

I’ll meet my husband and any family that are around for lunch at The Chequers in Churchill; it has proper country fare. Back at home I love watching the racing on television for a couple of hours. I breed thoroughbreds and I’m very lucky to have won the Oaks and the Irish Oaks. Often I will go and see my horses, too. I don’t ride any more but I used to be keen.

Later on Saturday afternoon I usually meet up with some or all of my four grandchildren, aged between two and five, and we’ll go to the Cotswold Sweet Company in Stow-on-the-Wold. I buy them the old sweets that you can rarely find, such as floral gums. Grandmothers are allowed to spoil.

If the children are not with me I might go antiquing in Tetbury. Lorford’s Antiques stocks lovely pieces from the 18th to the 20th century and there is always such variety. As a contrast, I’ll also pop into Sharland & Lewis to browse its wonderful modern homeware, and I love Twig, a florist-cum-art gallery; it’s always inspirational.

We do a variety of things on Saturday evening. The Theatre is a very good independent arts centre in Chipping Norton that shows exhibitions and films, too. I took my grandchildren to a panto there, Jack and the Giant, just before Christmas.

Often we have friends over for dinner or go to their houses, but since I opened the pub last year in our local village, we now meet there a lot instead. I like telling my husband that he is now married to a barmaid – although I don’t actually pull pints.

On Sundays I wake early again. I love the mornings, the stillness; it’s when I can think clearly. We go to the Holy Trinity church in Chipping Norton, which is just a local church but the priest happens to be a bishop. Lunch is a delicious roast and Bloody Marys with the family at The Kings Head Inn in Bledington.

One of my passions is collecting first-edition cookery books by Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson, so after lunch I’ll go to Evergreen Livres bookshop in Stow-on-the-Wold. If it’s a nice day, I’ll go to Kiftsgate Court Gardens near Chipping Campden. I love the Kiftsgate rose; it must be the largest rose I’ve ever seen.

Around 6pm, one of the Bamford spa masseuses will come over and give me a massage. It’s a real treat. After that, we have something very simple such as an omelette and a tomato salad, and we’ll watch Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife, sometimes in our pyjamas. How boring is that? But my family all work hard – after all, I married a workaholic – so it’s important to relax and prepare for the week ahead.