Hailes Abbey

The first Bank Holiday weekend of the year so I’ve taken the opportunity to choose a couple of places to go to this weekend. Today I went to Hailes Abbey near Winchcombe.

The great thing about English Heritage and National Trust membership, is that 4 or 5 visits of each in a year is enough to earn my money back. After that and the total cost of all the entry fees would come to more than my total membership fee – so a membership for £50/£60 a year is definitely worthwhile.

Hailes Abbey dates back to 1246 but like many monasteries, closed down during the reign of Henry VIII in the 1500s. I visited today with Mum and Corrie, after driving in to Cheltenham so Mum could pick her car up, having left it at work last night.

As we sat on a bench in the ruins of the old abbey, I wondered if there were any working monasteries still around in England today?

There are – but none are as prominent or as important as the many monasteries I visit when in Greece; Sites such as the monasteries of the Meteora and Mt. Olympus plus many smaller monasteries all over Greece are known to many yet Henry VIII’s impact – supressing the monasteries – means it is a life largely unknown in modern Britain – all these years on!

That said, a quick search on Google reveals that there are working monasteries which can be visited in England – So one weekend I may pay a visit to one.

Afterwards it was lunch time so we walked up to the nearby Hayles Fruit Farm where there is a Farm Shop and Tearoom. They also have a campsite there, so needless to say it was quite busy – this being the first long weekend and with good weather too! Their tearoom/restaurant offers a full menu; They were out of scones so we settled for paninis and a glass of their own apple juice.

On the way back we still wanted our scones so we stopped at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Cheltenham – We use their health club often as it has a swimming pool – better than the one in Cirencester – and also a very nice bar (Lilley Brook Bar & Lounge) where we had scones with cream and jam. Of course I had mine with jam first (the Cornish way) and a large spoonful of cream on top.

It was a great day and the weather was perfect too!


Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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