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Butterflies and Bugs in Stratford-upon-Avon

We just had the most amazing time at the Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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We just had the most amazing time at the Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon. We didn’t know quite what to expect, other than butterflies, of course, because it had been quite a few years since we visited last and we knew that a lot of work had been done on the farm since then. And it really had….

The main attraction at The Butterfly Farm is, of course, still the beautiful butterflies. The huge flight area is warm created to liken the exotic rain-forest in temperature as well as in habitat, and home to more than 1500 butterflies. It is the largest of it’s kind in the UK and it is magnificent!

You can spend hours in the flight area, walk around and explore, take a seat and wait for the pretty butterflies to get up close and personal with you, they will land on you and stay a while if you sit quietly, there really is no better place to study and explore the lives of these beautiful creatures.

 

 

The butterflies in the flight area have some non-butterfly friends too, in two awesome iguanas, Stumpy and Princess. The two are green iguanas from South America, both donated to the Butterfly Farm several years ago and now living the high life in the trees in the flight area alongside quite a few seed- and fruit eating birds (the insect-eating kind wouldn’t work so well for the butterflies)

There are quite a few birds in the flight area also, all of them chosen for being the kind of bird who like to eat seeds and fruit rather than insects and butterflies… obviously. They are budgerigars, parakeets, mousebirds and Chinese painted quail, among others.

 

The Mini-Beast Metropolis

The Butterfly Farm is home to some magnificent creepy crawlies as well. We entered The Mini-Beast Metropolis and were simply bowled over with what met us in there: A Leafcutter Ant Colony that goes from a huge Queen’s ‘nest’ at one end of the room to the food area in the other, with a ‘pit-stop’ over an aquarium. All areas are connected by 15 meters of rope where the worker ants walk with pieces of leaves. It is incredible! You are able to get so close without disturbing nature, you can see the thousands and thousands of ants working their way from one end of the room to the other, I never thought I’d be able to see that, but there it is, right in front of you, close enough to touch (not that you would, of course, they are creepy crawlies after all.

 

The Creepy Crawlies

All around the walls in the room where ants travel above your head, is aquariums and terrariums with pretty fish, not so pretty bugs and insects and the biggest spiders I have EVER seen! While I loved the fact that the ants are walking right above your head, I loved even more that the rest of the mini-beasts did not, but behind glass they are interesting to study – they were not just an opening act or a bi-attraction to the butterflies, they were worth going for in their own right.

The Discovery Zone

The third section of the farm is the Discovery Zone – now, if we thought we’d been ‘up close and personal’ with the butterflies and ants before, we were wrong. In the Discovery Zone it was about to get a lot more personal! In here we were accompanied by a couple of escapees from the flight zone, in the form of two of the unbelievably beautiful Blue Morpho butterflies. They didn’t sit still with their wings open close enough or for long enough for us to take a good picture, so this image is courtesy of The Butterfly Farm, but it’s just too pretty not to share.

The real up close experience was not with the blue beauties, however, it was with a MAHOOSIVE millipede that the kids were brave enough to handle (me, not so much!) and a giant prickly stick insect (yes, that really is it’s name!). And I may not have been up for a cuddle with the two crawlies, but it was so interesting to see them so close and to hear about them.

 

 

At the end of our experience at The Butterfly Farm, we’re let loose in the gift shop, a super shop with all things butterflies, bugs and creepy crawlies – we loved that too!

For a super experience for any age, we simply cannot recommend The Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon enough – we all loved it and left having learnt so much about so many insects, reptiles and butterflies.

Mette / A Taste of Warwickshire x

Culinary Experiences

Bonds Lifestyle: Shop, Cafe and Antiques Emporium

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“On our way to Stratford-upon-Avon a few years back, we drove past a sign to a shop and cafe we had not visited before, one of these places where you’ve seen the sign a couple of times and decided to definitely pop in sometime.. and today was that time.

Well, to say we didn’t know what to expect and that we were completely bowled would be the understatement of the century. Because Bonds Lifestyle is…. ‘Amazing’, ‘Fantastic’ and ‘An incredible shopping experience’? Yes, it’s all of those things, but they don’t actually quite describe Bonds Lifestyle well enough.

We just have to show you… click the video above and when you’ve watched it, if you think you’ve seen what it’s all about, you’d be closer but you still wouldn’t have seen even a fraction of the utter fabulousness that is Bonds Lifestyle”.

Mette ♡

Bonds Lifestyle are all over social media – follow them here: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

 

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Culinary Experiences

The Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon

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“Yesterway we visited The Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time. I had heard lots about The Farm, had seen pictures and pretty good idea of what to expect… or so I thought. The Farm more than lived up to my great expectations of a wholesome food destination set in beautiful surroundings and offering ethical and sustainable culinary produce and products. The Farm is an absolutely wonderful place for shopping, eating and getting together… we all loved it, you will too”. 

Mette ♡

An experience for everyone

Set close to the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside, the aim of The Farm was to create a memorable place that can be experienced by everyone. A unique destination that promotes wholesome, ethical and sustainable food prepared by Artisan producers from the local area, Great Britain and the world.

 

Food and Wellbeing Destination

The Farm is a family run business that offers a unique food and wellbeing destination that showcases local Artisan produce and promotes ethical, wholesome and sustainable food. The Farm was once a fruit farm, home to hundreds of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees, which produced for the likes of Waitrose and Mr Kipling. The Farm was popular with South Warwickshire residence for it’s ‘pick your own’ fruit and strawberries. In recent years The Farm struggled to survive and became derelict. the current owners took on the re-development in 2017, and with a shared vision and a lot of hard work, they created a truly stunning environment for all to enjoy.

Head to The Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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Culinary Experiences

A Happy Stay at The Howard Arms

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“On this cold and wet Sunday in January I came home from our stay at The Howard Arms in Ilmington. It was just before midday and I had no other plans than sitting down by my computer to write this very feature on our wonderful experience. But then life happened… the kids needed the mum-taxi, the house looked like it had been robbed (which, thankfully, it hadn’t), the washing needed doing and the fridge was empty so shopping needed to be done… but it was okay, I was in a great mood and I could do anything!

Then the dog was having it no longer, he wanted to go out, so off we went for a long walk. It was really cold, I wrapped up warm, put some music in the headphones and off we went. As I was walking around this enormous field, Lady Gaga and I were singing our hearts out (“You look at me and, Babe, I wanna catch on fire”, my favourite song these days: ‘Remember Us This Way’ from the ‘A Star is Born’ soundtrack) and I was thankful there was nobody around to hear me but the dog (and he’s nearly deaf so he doesn’t mind), I realised I was still in a great mood, I could still do anything… in fact, I hadn’t stopped smiling all day and no amount of shopping, taxi’ing, washing, cleaning, dog-walking and tidying was going to change that”.

Mette ♡

The Howard Arms works wonders

It turns out a wonderfully relaxing time with your loved one in a beautiful and cosy country pub like The Howard Arms does wonders for your wellbeing… not that we were overly stressed to begin with, but life is busy and without even realising it, a nice afternoon walk in the Warwickshire countryside, a delicious meal by a country pub fire, a lovely room with a super-comfy bed and a hearty breakfast in the morning was just the thing to get us to wind way down and find ourselves again at the end of a busy week… Ahhhh!

BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE HOWARD ARMS HERE.

 

 

A cosy and luxurious Bed & Breakfast

The Howard Arms in Ilmington is a luxury Bed & Breakfast, an incredibly popular country dining pub and quite the destination for people from near and far in the UK and beyond. Located right in the centre of a quiet Cotswold village, it overlooks a stunning old chestnut tree on the green and is mere moments from several great walking paths. An idyllic setting indeed.

When we arrived, we decided to explore some of the beautiful scenery surrounding the pub, so we wrapped up warm, put our walking boots on, found the nearest public footpath and off we went on the most wonderful walk across some beautiful fields. It was only when it became a little darker that we decided to turn back, but we could have walked on and on.

 

The pre-dinner snooze

When we returned, it was time for the pre-dinner snooze (yes, it’s a thing, you should try it, it’s fabulous!) in the comfortable and super-soft bed in the beautiful room and before we knew it, it was 7 o’clock and time for dinner. In the cosy restaurant the fire crackled, the bar was buzzing and the restaurant was filling up nicely. It was a very busy Saturday night but from the standard of the service, it could have been a slow Monday at lunchtime, because they did not skip a beat and our every need was met with a smile from start to finish.

BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE HOWARD ARMS HERE.

 

Wonderful Food

The award-winning Head Chef at The Howard Arms has created a menu of top-quality pub favourites alongside imaginative starters, mains and irresistible puddings and we had the most wonderful dinner experience on this Saturday night. The food was amazing, the atmosphere fantastic and we so enjoyed our nearly 3 hours at what must be the best table in the house, close enough to the fire to feel a comfortable heat, surrounded by happy fellow diners but tugged away in the window seat creating a nice, private space for two.

 

A hearty breakfast to finish

The next morning we came back down for breakfast to see the very same restaurant transformed into a calm morning scene with a lovely Continental breakfast buffet and a mouth-watering menu of cooked breakfast dishes. We went for a traditional English breakfast and salmon on toast, both utterly delicious.

BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE HOWARD ARMS HERE.

 

And so was the conclusion of our wonderful, relaxing stay at The Howard Arms in Ilmington. We absolutely will be back again… anything that can set your mood on a positive path and keep a smile on your face for days, is worth revisiting for sure.

Mette ♡

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