Friday, 23 December 2016

A Night in Towcester

Wednesday was my lovely Hubby's birthday and I surprised him with a day of treats and a night away. I had great fun planning it all and he had great fun on the day.

His first treat was breakfast at The Miller's Hotel near Sibson. We have been here for a meal a few times, it's an Old English Inn. Our breakfast was lovely, cooked to order which is always good. It's always good service there and our waitress was no exception, a great start to Hubby's day.

Our breakfast stop 
Our next visit was quite a few miles south on the A5 to a small village we both visited on school trips many many years ago, not the same schools or years though. On our recent journeys to London we have commented on the canal and mentioned we should visit Stoke Bruerne again ... so we did.

The village has a major transport route running right through the middle, not a motorway but the Grand Union Canal. Because the canal rises there is a set of 7 locks at Stoke Bruerne.  In the height of barges being used for transporting goods this canal was so busy the locks were doubled (two locks side by side so boats could be moved up and down with less delay). The double locks are still there but no longer contain water, just one lock at each level with 7 locks in total.

Stoke Bruerne Locks
Grand Union Canal
We were hoping to visit the Canal Museum but although stated open on Wednesdays in the winter on their website (and on the opening times posters at the museum) it was closed. We did however walk along the towpath to Blisworth Tunnel - one of the longest canal tunnels in the UK being 3076 yards and wide enough for two narrow boats to pass.

Hubby at Blisworth Tunnel
Travelling again, but by road we drove to Towcester and our overnight hotel. Another Old English Inn, the Saracen's Head, one of the oldest in the town having had Charles Dickins stay there. In his novel The Pickwick Papers in Chapter Fifty One Mr Pickwick and his friends arrive at the Saracen's Head Inn on a very wet day and Sam suggests stopping for the night

'There's beds here sir, good little dinner ... everything clean and comfortable. 
You'd better stop where you are sir, if I might recommend' 

I totally agree - the bed was comfy, the room clean and dinner was very very good, a nice steak with a good bottle of Malbec wine.

The Saracen's Head 
Modern reception in keeping with it's age

Our cosy room
Beautiful room laid for a Christmas Party
We had a stroll around Towcester before our dinner, and a visit to Towcester Museum. It was very interesting to find out about the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, the plague, a fire and the two World Wars. Such a lot for a small town, mainly due to it's location on one of the UK's ancient roads - the Watling Street.

I surprised my Hubby with an evening out, not a carol service although there was one being held in the church but a brewery tour at Towcester Mill Brewery. It was a great evening, the Tap Room at the brewery is a very popular place - we both had a half pint to start the evening off. I had a Christmas beer and Hubby had Mill Race (their signature beer). We have done many brewery tours before, this was a first to take your drink round with you, great idea.

Where it all starts
Ray - our great host

It won't work without it 
He's not tasting it - but gauge reading
'Which one do we take home?'
After the tour we returned to the Tap Room and had a tapas of beer - three glasses, a third of a pint each set in a wooden pallet - a great way to try the different beers - my favourite was Black Fire as I do like a dark beer.

Towcester Mill Brewery
Great beers
As I said I really enjoyed planning and booking Hubby's birthday - thank you to Old English Inns particularly The Miller's Hotel and Saracen's Head, Towcester Museum and especially Towcester Mill Brewery. Hubby and I really enjoyed our visit and will be back again.

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