Insider's Guide

Insider’s Guide with Alice B-B

20th June 2024

We are delighted to be joined by writer and creative consultant Alice B-B. Specialising in travel, interiors, lifestyle, and wellness; exploring land, air and sea, there is very little Alice hasn’t experienced in the name of her craft.

From her favourite place to escape in nature to her go-to nighttime escape, Alice shares her secret insider’s guide for her home turf.

How long you have visited and or lived in the Cotswolds?

We bought our first house together nearly 18 glorious years ago.  I told my boyfriend (Nick Love) that if we were to live part-time in the country I had to be near Daylesford!  He didn’t understand what I was talking about – so I took him to the farm shop – which was MUCH smaller.  It had only been open for two years.  But once he’d seen all the incredible organic produce and ingredients, scoffed a buttery croissant and frothy latte – he understood, and the deal was done!

My favourite spot is…

It’s actually on the M40!  There’s a moment when you slice through the Chilterns – speeding motorway through chalk escarpment – heading west towards the setting sun.  It’s like a portal into a world of romance.  And suddenly I feel I can breathe.  The city is behind me and I’m heading towards the greenest, most pleasant land.

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My favourite view of the Cotswolds is…

Driving up to any of my friends’ houses – excited for the lunch or dinner or walk or chat we’re about to have.

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My favourite place to escape in nature is…

The Wychwood Forest during the bluebell season in spring.  The intensity of the blue is astonishing. And if you’re quiet you can often see deer, hares and maybe a hedgehog.

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The best place to go early in the morning is…

My bed.  On a Saturday morning Mr Love brings me a delicious stove pot coffee and we talk about our dreams and ideas and plans while gazing at the sheep in the field or listen to the tiny wrens with the biggest voices (who apparently make their lady wives a choice of six nests to choose from and in winter huddle together to keep warm – sometimes in a gang of up to 60 wrens.  I love wrens.)

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Something only locals know is…

In the tiny hamlet of Shorthampton is All Saints – a small church with C12th frescoes and a view towards Chadlington.  If you visit – please stick some money in the kitty to help the hard-grafting team who look after this little gem.

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My cultural fix is…

Visiting The Royal Oak pub at Ramsden, where the pub walls serve as a gallery.  I always find a painting or piece of art to hanker after.

Discussing creativity with my artist/sculptor brother Henry Brudenell-Bruce, an example of his sculpture below.

And playing with clay in my ceramicist sister’s new Cotswold studio. She’s an inspiring and patient teacher! And will soon be offering pottery classes from her dreamy studio, Florence St George.

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My foodie go-to is…

Obviously Daylesford.  I’ve watched it grow from being visionary Carole Bamford’s way of feeding her family and friends – to making organic food available to the public.  It’s hard to believe but twenty years ago – choosing organic was often sniffed at.  But Carole stuck to her beliefs and it’s paid off. And she continues to be the chicest Pied Piper, flying the flag for sustainability, provenance and supporting British farmers.

My nighttime escape is…

Walking across the fields from our house to a local pub – either The Swan at Ascot-under-Wychwood or The Bull or The Bell in Charlbury.  After dinner we head home by the light of the moon; it’s so romantic and a great way to walk off supper.

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A misconception about the Cotswolds would be…

That winter in the countryside is all scones and cosy fires.  It’s also wet and dark and muddy and I have to slather myself in Gore Tex and force myself to get out amongst it.  Squelch squelch, wellies in the mud.

But when that glimmer of spring happens, that first hint of sun, when it’s just warm enough to have lunch outside – then all is magically forgiven.

Three words to describe the Cotswolds…

Bloody Lovely (in) Summer

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All imagery is kindly shared by Alice, you can follow her on Instagram here.

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