Tag Archives: the cotswolds

2 Days in the Cotswolds, UK – Part II

Our second night in the Cotswolds we spent in Bourton-on-the-Water and we stayed at The Garden Room at Strathspey. We loved our stay here – the family who lets out this room was very friendly! It was one of our favorite accommodations of our trip.

Bourton-on-the-Water is a beautiful town! It has a beautiful High Street (actually, all the towns have a “High Street” – that’s where the main village center is) with the River Windrush runs through the center of town.

The river, and the many sloping bridges are why this town is often called the “Venice of the Cotswolds”. (While I’ve never been to Venice, I’m sure this is an exaggeration. Bourton-on-the-Water is incredibly beautiful in it’s own way.)

We enjoyed a lovely meal of Fish and Chips at the Old Manse Hotel – this was also the best deal we found on food, and you know we love a good deal!

I’m still not sure why they insist on pureeing their peas though.

Fortunately we were able to explore Bourton-on-the-Water a little bit on Friday night, because on Saturday morning it was definitely buzzing with tourists. We did spend some time in town, but ended up moving on more quickly than anticipated due to all the people that arrived as the morning went on.

The next town on our list was Bibury – hailed the “most picturesque place in the Cotswolds”. Bibury is super tiny (it is basically a trout farm and an inn – at least as far as we could see) but is famous for the Arlington Row.

The Arlington Row was built in 1380 as a wool store. Now they are cottages. And I’d LOVE to live in one… if loads of tourists wouldn’t be outside my window everyday at least.

(Isn’t it funny how my pictures look like no one is around when it’s just really skillfully timed shots? Does that ruin the mystique for you?)

Our last Cotswolds stop was in Burford – about 30 minutes from Oxford.

We had a “proper tea” at the Burford House Hotel. That was fun! I read a glossy (magazine) on Kate Middleton (we were there for Will & Kate’s one year anniversary so she was covered on every magazine that trip).

There was a big group of people getting ready for a wedding while we were at the Burford House Hotel and they were all inside with their big hats and fancy outfits on!
(And of course we looked really super good-looking in our 10-day-old jeans and fleece jackets and puffy rain-hair…not!!)

We also visited the Burford Bazaar – it was a kind of a rip-off! You have to pay to go inside and it wasn’t even that great. What WAS great was Mrs. Bumbles of Burford – clotted cream fudge – yum! chocolate covered orange peel – yum!

Okay, in the UK they do this weird thing called pollarding trees, as displayed on the main street in Burford:

Naturally, we are weirdos and had to find out why they did this. Apparently it started as a need for firewood (since you can lop off branches without killing the tree) but now they just kind of like the way it looks and it keeps the trees at a certain height. We thought it was the strangest thing we saw over there. But supposedly it’s very common in Europe and other urban areas. Who knew?

After Burford we headed towards Oxford to return our rental car. And that was the end of our 2 days in the Cotswolds – it was beautiful, and certainly too short!

All of the towns in the Cotswolds that we decided to stop at were about 10-30 minutes from each other. And there are plenty more we had to pass by! The drives themselves were a pleasure – everything in the Cotswolds is gorgeous!

We wouldn’t have been able to see everything that we did without a car and we both agreed that the initial stress of driving was totally worth it.

Although, I’m not sure a month in the Cotswolds would be enough!

Our next (and final) stop: Oxford!

2 Days in the Cotswolds, UK – Part I

In Europe the best wool is English and in England the best wool is Cotswold
– 12th century saying

We returned from our vacation over a month ago, but I can’t leave out a post about the Cotswolds! I last left off with our tales of 2 rainy days in the Lakes District.

I actually started writing this post and it was so long and there were so many photos I wanted to share, I thought I’d split it up into two posts.

We had a foggy and rainy drive from Ambleside (in the Lakes District) to Chipping Campden – for the record it took us four hours. (Mapquest says three hours and online forums I read said it would take as long as six hours.) It’s funny how different people are with driving over there – no one we asked could tell us how long it would take to get to the Cotswolds from the Lake district and they looked at us like we were mad for taking such a long journey for so short a time. (My husband commutes half that time every single day!)

Our Cotswold itinerary was quite relaxed compared to the rest of our trip – drink tea, walk the unbeaten path, see loads of sheep and pop into shops to escape the rain.

Our 2 day Cotswolds itinerary was as follows:

Day 1: Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Slaughters
Day 2: Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, Burford

Our first night we stayed in Chipping Campden at The Volunteer Inn. Chipping Campden is a small market town full of buildings made from honey-yellow limestone (also known as Cotswold stone).¬† The “wool market hall” can still be found in the middle of town (full of baskets for sale).

We walked past the Alms House and the church of St. James (and the creepy cemetery). The entire town is very picturesque (we even saw a few straw rooftops!).

From what I read, I was worried Chipping Campden would be crawling with tourists – but since we were there on a rainy Friday, it was very quiet and relaxing!

We went on a long walk around the town and went sheep-siting. Baby lambs are so cute!

Our next stop was Moreton-in-Marsh. Moreton-in-Marsh is full of lovely shops (and rude people trying to steal your parking spaces!) We didn’t stay here long because it really started to pour!

We pressed on through the rain to Stow-on-the-Wold. We stopped in Huffkins Tea Room until the rain stopped – and devoured some delicious treats!

We spent the next several hours window shopping, and I don’t think we even got to see all of the town! This was the largest (and hilliest) Cotswolds town we visited.

The Upper and Lower Slaughters is where we spent most of our afternoon – while I’m not sure we ever really “found” the town of Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter was beautiful! We saw the Water Mill and toured around the creeks.

In fact, I found my dream home in Lower Slaughter:

If I lived in this house I’d take up watercoloring and eat clotted cream and scones every day!

The sun decided to come out (hoorah!) so we hiked for a while along a path you can take all through the Cotswolds. We made some more animal friends and wondered why life preservers were attached to trees along this tiny creek.

Then we drove along the “Romantic Road” for a ways. The Romantic Road in the Slaughters (aka Copse Hill Road) was very pretty, and narrow.

Very, vary narrow. And curvy. With blind turns. (Did I mention we were driving on the opposite side of the road with the clutch on the opposite from usual side?) Nevertheless, the views were breathtaking and I enjoyed it (then again, I wasn’t driving!).

Stay tuned for part II of the Cotswolds…