The Cotswolds. A beautiful part of the world to explore in all seasons but there’s something very magical about visiting in the golden season of fall.

My love affair with the Cotswolds began with a visit to Westonbirt Arboretum to see the changing of the leaves & as for Cirencester, it’s charm & beauty, has you under it’s spell in minutes.

I’m Heidi Herkes. A lifestyle influencer & personal stylist with a disability. I’m a great believer that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger & humour is my go to! 

I have a keen interest in fashion, style & all things travel. I’m also mostly seen, living my best life, accompanied by my rather scruffy but oh so fun-loving Doodle, Hadley. 


Heidi Herkes at Westonbirt Arboretum

One of the most magnificent tree garden displays of autumn colour. 

This is by far one of my favourite things to do at this time of year with dog & Co & a great excuse to leave the big smoke! 

Wrap up warm, grab yourself a hot drink at the retro camper van cafe on arrival & lose yourself in falling, fiery red & orange leaves for an afternoon. From Japanese maples to gigantic cedar trees, competition on who is the prettiest is fierce! 

After you’ve finished playing around in the leaves, given up on finding your dog's lost ball, its time for a bite to eat! 

From wood-fired pizzas offered at the smokehouse to seasonal dishes served at the Kitchen, there is so much deliciousness to warm & satisfy your well earnt appetite. 

No trip would be the same without having a mooch around the beautiful giftware shop. An absolute must if you like local crafts, homeware & of course glittery velvet toadstools! It’s also a great place to stock up on unusual Christmas cards, children’s toys and books.

Leaving Westonbirt, you can’t help feeling a warm glow, as if you’ve done something good for the soul. 

A memorable place, that you’ll just want to keep revisiting year after year.


Heidi Herkes in Cirencester

Has you bursting at the seams on arrival with the lure of it’s seductive window displays, beautiful market square & historical buildings. 

Blue badge on the dashboard. 

I'm going, going, gone. 

Jungle boutique 

Heidi Herkes at Jungle Boutique in Cirencester

Well, hello there! 

An intimate, sophisticated, women’s designer boutique that has you weak at the knees for their clothing & accessories. 

Stocking labels like Mama B, Masai & oversized, sculptural necklaces, it’s very hard not to get carried away. I want them all!!

A pair of beaituful Mama B wrist warmers & snood, somehow shimmied themselves upon me, to which I must admit, completley transformed my outfit. 

I also couldn’t help but notice the wonderful scent that filled the air. The answer- Geranium & Mandarin essential oils. 

Pure. Bliss. 

All in all a wonderful, sensory shopping experience with 5 bright stars from me !!

Jack’s Tearoom & Kitchen 

Heidi Herkes at Jack's Tearoom and Kitchen

After any retail workout, its always good to refuel & what better place to do that than at Jacks, just a few doors down from Jungle boutique. 

An attractive facade, nestled on the corner of one of the oldest, bustling, bujois streets of Cirencester, Black Jack Street. 

A popular spot, with dogs welcome, it’s the perfect place to unwind & flirt with the cake stands, before you’ve even looked at the menu. 

And a menu indeed!  With so much to choose from, I decided to opt for the Arnold Bennet. A glorious soufflé-style omelette, with a tasty piece of haddock tucked underneath. 

Verdict. A dream come true! 

The Corinium Museum

Heidi Herkes at the Corinium Museum

After rolling out of Jacks, it was time to scratch my itch of Cirencester’s history. 

With its smooth, uber accessible floors & wide, access ramp, I felt like I was on ice. Quickly relinquishing my desire for madly spinning around in my wheelchair, I took great interest in the incredible mosaic tiling that mounts the walls of the grand entrance. 

Did you know that in Roman times, wealth lay in the quality & number of mosaic tiles in the house? 

Exploring the development of prehistoric Cotswolds to present day was such a fun thing to do. You can easily spend a good 1/2 a day here, soaking up it’s past but I’ll leave the history lesson to you!!

Cirencester park

Heidi Herkes at Cirencester Park

AKA A doggo’s heaven!

Just a stone's throw away from the town, lies this dreamy park that belongs to the Bathurst Estate. One of the country’s oldest and most beautiful rural estates, set in the heart of the Cotswolds. 

Bathurst Estate is home to polo, horse riding, festivals & more. One particular date to keep in mind for any dog & dog lover is DogFest! Happening in 2022, with the new opening of the extensive visitors' carpark, it will be pawsome!

The most accessible entrance to the park is at Cecily Hill. Grand, wrought iron gates open up into a breathtaking, tree-lined avenue, that goes on as far as the eye can see. Ball & ball thrower at the ready. It’s time for waggy tail play. 

After a good few hours of exploring this magnificent parkland but struggling to feel my fingers or my face because of the cold, I was relieved to warm myself up with a Beano cappuccino. A very trendy, kiosk cafe ( former horse trailer) perfectly positioned at Cecily Hill entrance. 

All in all, Bathhurst Estate is great way to spend the day. Winter, spring, summer or fall. 

The Kings Head Hotel 

The Kings Head Cirencester

Positioned right in the heart of Cirencester, this smart boutique hotel epitomises luxury, pared-down with a healthy dose of old-fashioned charm. 

With its tastefully decorated, deep, comfy sofas, cosy little reading nooks & dimly lit, extensive bar on the ground floor, you can’t help but feel a warm, welcoming glow. 

Key at the ready it’s time to check in! 

With the help of the lift, I’m on the first floor!

A beautifully made, designer-style bed with a handwritten note & cookies awaits in my lamp lit room. With a state of the art,brightly lit, accessible en-suite bathroom, I’m instantly inclined to get ready for dinner!

Dogs not forgotten. There is even a plush little doggy bed & ‘pawpcorn’ for Hadley. All perfect prep for a mutt's midnight feast! 

Glad rags on! 

MBB Brasserie

Heidi Herkes at MBB Brasserie

Part of the hotel, you don’t have to go far to indulge in its surroundings. 

A tastefully designed, sophisticated restaurant/open style kitchen, offering delectable delights, which made for choosing, somewhat impossible. Nothing a bit of champagne couldn’t help with however! So after a few chin chins, decisions were made!

Looking round the table of beautifully presented food, my seafood platter appeared to be the envy of many. A concoction of lobster, crab, king prawns & a salty, side portion of fries. Verdict. Delicious. 

Loosening the belt, it was eventually time to call an end to our wonderful evening & retire to our rooms. After a big cup of cocoa & compulsory cuddles with my adorable Doodle, it didn’t take long until we both fell into a blissful, dreamy night's slumber.

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Heidi Herkes feeding a giraffe at Cotswolds Wildlife Park

If you fancy taking a walk on the wild side, then this is the place for you!

Set in acres of  parkland, the grounds open up onto a beautiful country manor, surrounded by all sorts of exotic animal enclosures. Offering a wide range of amazing animal experiences, it was time to interact with it’s residents. 

A date with the giraffes!

After a thorough briefing about their diet & habitat, things were about to get wild! 

An impressive walkway, extending right into the enclosure, allowed me to come face-to-face with one of these incredible animals. Branches at the ready. Lunchtime!

Holding on for dear life, Gerald the giraffe & his very long tongue, left me leafless in seconds. Thankfully the keeper, who had of course been running the show, kept plying me with more!

To come so close & be so intimate with this beautiful creature was a humbling experience & something that I will always remember. 

Morning workout complete, it was time for lunch. The Cafe is situated at the rear of the Manor, serving up some of the tastiest hot dishes, sandwiches & cakes! 

Filling our boots it was time for more wild encounters! 

From wolves to rhinos to lions to monkeys & more! Cotswold Wildlife Park is a wonderful & enriching distraction from the everyday & a place I can’t recommend enough. 

Until the next time….




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