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

Image: Matt Munro

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.


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