A very gentle walk on the wild side

Rowshonara

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There was a time when my idea of a wild weekend would have been very different.

But these days I’m more interested in the birds in the sky than the ones around the Guildhall bars.

So while the Cotswolds might not be considered the party centre of the UK, or even Wiltshire for that matter, it’s a great place to go for a weekend outdoors.

And I can’t imagine anywhere better to stay to make the most of the area than Calcot Manor near Tetbury.

As we got closer to this former English farmhouse, which was built in the 14th century, my trusty sat nav sent us towards two derelict looking barns.

Sitting in a 220-acre estate the four-star Calcot Manor might be rural but it’s not ramshackle and thankfully my Garman was just being a bit over eager.

As you pull on to the hotel’s gravel drive you’re surrounded by beautiful gardens leading up to the Cotswold stone buildings.

Once inside there’s nothing stuffy or over-bearing about the place.

The staff are friendly and attentive and our room was a mix of antiques and contemporary pieces of furniture.

The four poster bed was an added touch of luxury, as was the huge bath and plasma screen TV.

The 35-bedroom hotel also goes to great lengths to cater for families, with 12 family rooms away from the main house, a playzone building and even a baby-sitting service.

Nearby there’s no end of picturesque villages, invigorating walks, and dramatic stately homes to check out.

Tetbury itself is a haven for antique lovers but for my money the nearby Slimbridge Wetland Centre and Westonbirt Aboretum are both well worth a visit.

Slimbridge is home to the world’s largest collection of swans, ducks, flamingos and geese and many of the species you’ll see are rare or endangered.

Westonbirt, with one of the most spectacular tree collections in the world, is a great place for a relaxing walk.

If you’re feeling a bit more active then there is the Cotswold Water Park, where they offer a range of watersports.

For lunch nearby there’s also the excellent Potting Shed at Crudwell. This place was awarded the National Dining Pub of the Year 2011 by The Good Pub Guide and it’s easy to see why.

It offers locally sourced British pub food, with a good range of ales and if that’s not enough I’ve been told Jodie Kidd makes the occasional appearance.

After a day out exploring, the hotel’s spa – complete with indoor pool, an outdoor hot tub and seven treatment rooms – is a welcome retreat.

Of the 50 treatments on offer my partner went for the Aromatherapy Associates Rose Indulgence Facial (£60) while I had a deep tissue massage (£65).

There’s even a choice when it comes to where to eat.

We opted for the hotel’s Conservatory restaurant over their more relaxed Gumstool Inn which offers gastro-pub food.

My girlfriend had a starter of buffalo mozzarella wrapped in parma ham, with a main of mixed shellfish and a chocolate mousse dessert.

While I had a starter of scallops, followed by lamb and a great selection of cheeses to finish.

The food was fantastic and the service was excellent.

In the morning, the view over rolling green hills was enough to inspire us for one more walk before we headed home with that warm glow that comes from being well and truly spoilt.