Category Archives: cosy

Autumn in Shropshire

We’ve been enjoying  a lovely autumn in Shropshire. I’ve been taking the opportunity to take lots of lovely dog walks in the woods.

Purslow Woods, which you can walk to from Hopton House, but I tend to cheat and drive the 2 minutes up there, is looking magnificent. It’s full of sessile oak which has the most amazing coloured leaves right now. A lot of them have fallen, but in a few weeks time, when all the leaves have fallen, there’s a thick carpet of them to kick through.

We have  lots of availability for the rest of the autumn. The autumn duvets are on the beds and each room has completely controllable heating, so you won’t go cold. Book now for a late autumn break!

Here are some of my favourite autumn photos

a collage of autumn photos including apple pancakes, chickens, a butterfly and lot s of leaves - bed and breakfast shropshire

 

9 Things to do in Shropshire this autumn

9 Things to do in Shropshire this autumn

Shropshire is an undiscovered county sitting on the edge of the West Midlands between Birmingham and Wales. Here at Hopton House we’re just 6 miles from the Welsh Border and only 1/2 mile from Herefordshire.

It’s not on the main UK tourist trail but one thing is certain; when travellers accidentally come across Shropshire, normally driving through it to get somewhere else or visiting a food festival, they invariably fall in love and return many times.

I love Shropshire for its wonderful countryside; dramatic hills, valleys and woodlands but it’s more than just countryside. There are a few things about Shropshire you might find quite surprising and  many things to do and places to visit. Here are a few of my favourites.

1. Home to the first successful food festival in the UK

Ludlow, in the South of the county and 20 minutes from us, has become well known in recent years for its food festival. It’s held every year in the 2nd weekend of September and was the first successful food festival in the UK. It’s held in the grounds of Ludlow Castle and in the surrounding town. If you want to avoid the crowds, go first thing on a Friday.

7 things to do in Shropshire this autumn - visit the Ludlow Food Festival

2. Home to royals

Long before Ludlow became known for food, it was the administrative capital of Wales. Arthur, Prince of Wales, and probably better known as older brother to Henry VIII, was living at Ludlow Castle with his wife, Katharine of Aragon, when he died in 1502.  His heart is buried in St Laurence Church. The castle is home to the annual Medieval Craft Fair during the last weekend in November.

3. The Oldest Brewery in the UK

If you like your beer then Shropshire is the place to visit. It is awash with breweries and Bishops Castle is the home to the Three Tuns brewery, the oldest licensed brewery in the UK. There are several beer festivals held through the year, The Clun Valley beer festival is held in October.

4. The world’s industrial revolution started here

Given  how rural it is, it may come as a bit of a surprise that  Ironbridge in Shropshire was home to the industrial revolution in the 18th century. Today there are many museums for you to explore Shropshire’s industrial past. Blist’s Hill is an open air recreated Victorian Town.

5. Amazing geology

The Long Mynd is well known for being one the most beautiful areas in the UK, but it also has some of the most fascinating geology. The most famous Silurian site in the world is Wenlock Edge. A 400 million year old coral reef is now exposed and lots of fossils have been found here.

9 things to do in Shropshire this Autumn - visit and walk on the beautiful Long Mynd

6. Walk in the steps of Keira Knightley

If history, food and geology aren’t your thing and you’re more of a film buff, then Stokesay Court was the country house used in the film, Atonement. It’s open for guided tours once a month.  A special thank you to Tim King for letting me use his photo of Stokesay Court.

7 unusual things to do in Shropshire this Autumn - visit Stokesay Court, where Atonement was filmed

7. Visit the place where the modern Olympic Games all start

If you watched the Olympic Games in London in 2012, you may have wondered why one of the mascots was called Wenlock.  Much Wenlock in Shropshire is home to the Wenlock Olympian Games., which were started by Dr. William Penny Brookes. These games are thought to have inspired the modern Olympic Games that began in 1896.

Much Wenlock is a lovely town to visit and you can follow the Olympic Games Trail.

8. Enjoy amazing autumn colours

Whilst New England in America is renowned for its autumn colours, we also have some amazing displays here in Shropshire on a smaller scale. Last year the colours lasted well into November, which is when I took this picture. The hills turns purple with heather – visit the Stiperstones or the Long Mynd to get the best displays.

9 things to do in Shropshire this autumn - enjoy beautiful autumn colours

9. Visit Stokesay Castle

Just 6 miles from Hopton House, visit  the finest and best-preserved fortified medieval manor house in England. Stokesay Castle was built in the 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, who at the time was one of the richest men in England.

9 Things to do in Shropshire - visit Stokesay Castle the finest fortified manor house in England

Discover Shropshire for yourself. Hopton House is perfectly located to visit all of these places. Check availability and book online today!

9 things to do in Shropshire this autumn | visit English Castles | enjoy amazing scenery and autumn colours | visit the home of the modern Olympic Games and the industrial revolution

 

 

Free Knitting Patterns

I’ve become a bit addicted to knitting over the last 2 years since I taught myself to knit again. A lot of my original creations are still around but I’m pleased to say I am very gradually getting better.

 

Knitting is brilliant for so many reasons and becoming increasingly trendy.

Knitting does have its dark side of course. I’ve become a yarn addict and most of my spare cash now goes in secretive yarn purchases. Mr B&B’s heart sinks when I spot a new yarn shop when we’re out and resigns himself to spending an hour in a local café whilst I indulge. I have even started planning excursions when we’re on holiday around new and exciting yarn emporiums.

The other downside is that I have stopped racking up so many steps on my Fitbit. I have solved this by perfecting my walk’n’knit technique.

Knitting also has lots of surprising health benefits, some of which are described here in the New York Times

If you’re new to knitting or want to improve your skills, the internet is full of great knitting resources. I taught myself from videos on YouTube. There are lots out there but I recommend Very Pink Knits

If you want to buy yarn then check out your local yarn shops ( LYS ) but you can also buy some fantastic wool online ( sorry non UK people this is a bit UK centric ).

My very favourite is Loop in London – I paid an in person visit there a few weeks ago – oh my.

Otherwise I like Love Knitting.

Here are some free knitting patterns to inspire you!

1. It’s not too late to knit yourself some Christmas decorations.

2. If you’re fasting and still want some gingerbread then knit yourself some – guaranteed calorie free!

3. The shops are full of big chunky scarves these days but so easy to knit

4. Is your Kindle feeling the cold? Then knit it a jumper

5. Or a jumper for your favourite 4 legged friend

6.  Welly toppers are a super quick knit and great stocking fillers

7. Is the family expecting a new arrival this year?

8. Want to keep chickens but don’t have the space – knit yourself some

9. Feeling adventurous? chunky jumpers for the whole family

10. Treat yourself to a pretty lace shawl

11. There are lots of things you can knit for charity too

12. I just love this little Miffy rabbit

13. Reading 50 shades of grey on the train – then this knitted book cover may come in useful

14. Some little heart coasters ready for Valentines Day

15. Wash and dish cloths are a popular starter project.

16. I needed an easy knit for a trip abroad that involved lots for planes, trains and automobiles. This cowl was very quick and very effective in a beautiful hand painted variegated yarn

Free one skein cowl knitting pattern

 

Enjoy your knitting and don’t forget you can learn to knit or improve your skills here at Hopton House with WildThornKnitting.

 

Shropshire Bed and Breakfast – October

Shropshire Bed and Breakfast - October Availability

After a very busy summer and September we’re now into October. We’ve been enjoying some glorious weather, with beautiful morning mists and golden sunsets,  and are loving seeing the colours gradually changing in the garden.

We were fairly full for October at the B&B but we’ve had a few last minute cancellations so we now have good availability, including our dog friendly downstairs Barn Room which is normally fairly well booked out throughout. Click on the Book Now! button for more details.

Remember if you’d rather not go out in the evening we can leave a platter in your room; choose from cheese, ploughmans or smoked salmon. This for just £25 for 2 people.

We hope to see you soon!

Karen

Shropshire Bed and Breakfast – October

 

Cosy Winter Retreat – 4 Reasons Why I Love Winter

I’ve been a bit quiet online recently.  Mr B&B brought back a rather nasty cold virus from one of his trips down to the South East and it’s taken me 2 weeks to recover. Luckily the B&B has been quite quiet so I’ve been able to rest once the breakfasts have been served and the rooms tidied.

I’m actually very good at and enjoy  taking things easy.  Unlike Mr B&B who can’t sit down for 5 minutes. Even when he’s watching a rugby match, he’ll pause it and pop outside for 30 minutes to cut up some logs or scythe a bit of the meadow. I think I was probably a dormouse in a former life.

4 Things I Love About Winter

1. Snuggling Down on the Sofa

A walk up the lane towards Hopton Titterhill in Shropshire on a winter's day

I do like it, when the weather turns wet and windy and when all my chores are done, when I can just settle down on the sofa snuggled up in a throw, preferably accompanied by a dog or 2. Either just watching the weather or indulging in…..

2. Reading a Good Book

My favourite authors all seem to publish their latest books at this time of year. I’ve just finished reading Philippa Gregory’s book on Katherine Parr ( the 3rd book on Katherine Parr I’ve read this year ), I’m currently reading Bernard Cornwell’s latest and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Phil Rickman’s next Merrily novel.

Phil Rickman is a local author who has written a whole series of books about an exorcist vicar based in Herefordshire. You may have seen it televised as Midwinter of the Spirit on ITV recently.

I love Mr Rickman’s books and have read them all 3 times now. Despite the rather bizarre sounding subject matter, I do find them to be my favourite winter comfort read.

They’re also mostly based in Herefordshire and Wales and sometimes Shropshire. Mr B&B and I have done several tours of places he’s mentioned.

We’ve got a big library of books for guests to borrow.

3. A Long Cold Walk

A walk round Ludlow castle in Shropshire in Winter

 

I think autumn and winter are my favourite time for walking. I love the colours we have here in Autumn, but I also love Winter when the trees have lost their leaves. There are those amazing cold frosty days with clear blue skies. Just don a scarf,, hat coat and gloves and  you’re ready to go. But I also love to walk when it’s dark and misty and drizzly ( odd I know ). Ludlow is an amazing place to walk on a dark mizzly day. Walking by the river and round the castle is so atmospheric and is perfect topped up with the most amazing carrot cake and hot chocolate at the Green Café.

Hot Chocolate and carrot Cake at the the green cafe in Ludlow

 

 

4. Taking a Long Hot Bath

bath1

If you’ve stayed at Hopton House, you’ve probably worked out I love my baths. All our rooms have big double ended baths and bubble bath.

I do love to sink into a bath on a cold wet day, especially after that cold wet dog walk,  for a couple of hours with one of my books.

Hopton House, for your cosy winter retreat