For me, one of the biggest challenges of freelance life is taking time off. When you work for yourself, there’s no one to pick up the slack while you’re away and there’s certainly no holiday pay. However, I’m determined not to get sucked into a lifestyle where running my own business means never taking a break. Working flat-out until retirement simply doesn’t appeal.
While lengthy trips are definitely out of the question right now, we’re learning to make the most of mini-breaks. It’s amazing how restorative one night away can be, especially if you factor in the odd indulgence.
Last week, we ended the half term holiday on a high by accepting an invitation to stay at The Goodwood Hotel near Chichester. Set in the heart of the Goodwood Estate on the glorious Sussex Downs, this privately owned hotel won us over with its luxurious feel and family friendly atmosphere.
Arriving in Chichester by train, we took a short taxi ride to the hotel before checking in a little after 2pm. Service at the hotel was impeccable from the moment we arrived. Throughout our entire stay the staff succeeded in making us feel as if nothing was too much trouble.
It’s the first time we’ve had the pleasure of interconnecting rooms at a hotel, a feature that’s definitely the holy grail of family holidays as far as I’m concerned. Anyone who’s spent the evening hiding in an en suite bathroom, waiting for their children to drift off so they can creep back to their own bed, probably to watch TV with the volume so low it’s barely audible, will know where I’m coming from.
Tucking the children in at the end of the night and retreating to our own space next door was heavenly, especially as the rooms were so beautifully presented. Think elegant, dark wood furniture set against a soothing Farrow & Ball colour scheme. The soft, sumptuous beds were topped with cosy, textured throws while an eclectic array of books called out to be read from a nearby window sill. Wrapped up in a hotel bathrobe, I felt cocooned, content and incredibly relaxed.
This well-earned rest came at the end of a busy afternoon with a packed itinerary.
After learning the basics, tweaking their technique and hitting a few balls about the place, they were also given the opportunity to try football golf. They had masses of fun.
The whole thing was an amazing experience for them both and something I’m pretty sure they’ll remember forever. They returned with rosy cheeks and enormous smiles.
Not being particularly sporty myself, I decided to leave the others to it on the golf course and head to the hotel’s Health Club for a pedicure at The Waterbeach. My treatment was perfect and I immediately wished I’d had the foresight to book in for a massage too.
Once the kids had enjoyed a quick dip in the hotel pool, we all headed back to the room to relax a little before dinner. Still damp from the shower, the children wrapped themselves up in their enormous bathrobes and watched TV in bed while we opened a bottle of wine next door.
I only have good things to say about the food we sampled that night. From the bread and olives we shared at the start to the sticky toffee pudding that completed our meal, everything at The Goodwood Bar and Grill exceeded our expectations.
The children’s menu was equally impressive with a variety of different elements that they could pick and choose to create their perfect dish. The atmosphere in the restaurant was wonderful too. While it was laid back enough for us to feel comfortable eating with the kids, the elegance of the food and overall attention to detail made our visit feel like a special occasion in its own right.
Dinner was delicious, but the meal the children were most excited about was breakfast the following morning. It didn’t disappoint.
While I filled up on Eggs Benedict and multiple cups of tea, Jesse tucked into a bowl of cereal followed by egg and soldiers. Izzy demolished a vegetarian cooked breakfast before heading back to the buffet for a croissant or two. I swear my children have hollow legs.
With a few hours to kill before our train home, we spent the rest of the day outdoors taking a tour of nearby Home Farm and enjoying the beautiful scenery while we still could.
I found learning about the farm quite fascinating and the kids loved exploring the surrounding woodlands. Seeing brand new baby lambs was also a delight. I’m just glad I remembered to pack my wellys. A farmyard is no place for high heels.
As you can imagine, we were all reluctant to leave when the time came. Maybe one night away isn’t quite enough after all!
During the Easter holidays, the hotel is offering three nights for the price of two on selected dates, plus children under 6 can eat for free in The Goodwood Bar and Grill. They’ll also be hosting a packed programme of family activities, including Mini Cooper driving sessions, a junior golf academy, farm tours, lamb feeding and Easter craft activities. There are a number of woodland adventures to look forward to, such as a Gruffalo hunt, Harry Potter wizard school, a teddy bear’s picnic and Minecraft den building.
The offer is available from 28 March to 30 April, excluding the Easter weekend (3-6 April). Golf tuition starts at £20 for a half-day session including all equipment and the other activities may also incur a small fee. You can find more information about Easter Escapes at The Goodwood Hotel here.
Goodwood was certainly good for my soul. I’d love to go back another time and stay a little longer. Where would you recommend for our next mini-break?
Love Audrey xxx
We were guests of The Goodwood Hotel, but all opinions are my own.