Just Back From… the Cotswolds was written in June 2013 after a lovely spring break to celebrate the OH’s birthday. Spring was a little late that year.
When you think of the Cotswolds it is the warm honey-coloured limestone and cute thatched cottages inviting romance and tranquillity that spring to mind and where market towns (formerly centres of the wool trade) have wide squares and streets and are the centres of activity. Brooks and rivers bridged by tiny stone arches meander through the hidden villages in the rolling hills and farmland where country pubs have flagstone floors, beamed ceilings and inglenook fireplaces with log fires.
You may also think about crowds of tourists and visitors up from London for the day, often on large touring coaches; ancient churches and manor houses; picture-book tea-rooms; expensive antique, retro and vintage shops. You’d be right about all of these things, but there is another side to the Cotswolds to be explored if you look.
The Cotswolds district is mainly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire with parts of Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Somerset at the edge. It is an area filled with hundreds of small towns and villages that don’t appear on the calendars and book covers or hog the limelight, but are equally attractive. Discover them by driving along the plethora of narrow, winding roads which often provide the most amazing views over the Wolds and the valleys. There are public footpaths, national trails and bridleways galore. Find yourself in a charming and unspoilt village away from the main tourist spots and walk around listening to the birdsong and admiring the chocolate box cottages and striking parish church. In the late spring sunshine, with so many shades of green it is impossible to count, you may stumble across a woodland carpeted with bluebells.
In the north of the region take a romantic circular drive from Moreton-in-Marsh to Stow-on-the-Wold stopping at Broadway Tower and Country Park for a picnic with a view, Broadway village with its wide main street, Snowshill Manor with its collection by the eccentric Charles Paget Wade, Snowshill Lavender farm in the summer, and Hailes Cistercian Abbey ruins, a most peaceful spot on the Cotswolds Way. Continue through Guiting Power with the ‘Hollow Bottom Inn’ and the picturesque Lower Slaughter with the tiny River Eye running through it.
There are dozens of lovely homes and gardens for you to visit, some owned by the National Trust, others in private ownership. Some are large estates such as Sezincote or Hidcote and attract the coach parties, others are smaller and often quieter. All are worth a visit.
The Cotswolds is a vast region and requires several days to explore it thoroughly. We only touched on a small part in four days; there is a lot more to discover.
This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.
23 thoughts on “Flashback Friday #24”
Somewhere I visited many times over the years. The last time was in 2009, when we rented a lovely Art Deco bungalow on the edge of Stow, and had a wonderful week touring around.
Best wishes, Pete. x
Yes, it is a lovely area. An Art Deco bungalow sounds wonderful.
It was a 1930s build, not white and Modernist, but it had a glass sunburst panel over the front door. Sadly, the interior was very ‘Early sixties’. 🙂
Oh, that’s a shame.
My first comment disappeared as some are wont to do with my new system, so if you find two please forgive me. It’s many years since I last visited the Cotswolds but I remember the peace and serenity of the place. We went there in March and avoided the crowds and the plus was we had great weather.
Ah, I did get the first comment but it was by ‘Someone’ so I wasn’t sure who! It is a lovely region especially the less visited parts like the northern edges.
A long time since I visited, but a lovely area that has become a tourist trap in parts
Yes, much of it attracts the day trippers / coach tours from London and they are best avoided.
We’re lucky that my son’s in-laws, with whom we get on really well, live near the Cotswolds. So they’ve helped us discover the more secret parts of this lovely, but sometimes over-visited region. A lovely post, with good memories for you too, I guess!
We had thought we’d get back to the area before we moved, but it didn’t happen. I wouldn’t hate another week or so around there.
Indeed not. One day, spontaneous breaks will happen again.
Wonderful photos, Jude, and so inviting. That last “home” is a bit larger than I’d like but I’d love to visit and explore all the gardens you mentioned. My parents bought an enormous photo of the Cotswolds at an art fair many years back and eventually it will be coming to me, leaving us a bit of the beauty to enjoy daily. Hopefully it won’t be coming any time soon, though. 🙂
That last home is pretty good inside too, great views from those windows.
So pretty. I’ve only visited the Cotswolds once but would love to go back. Well, I’d love to go anywhere really!
I think we are all suffering from being confined. I’m already thinking about where next.
It’s a lovely part of the world for a birthday treat. I like to pop in Burford Garden centre if we’re down there.
We loved this area when we visited two years ago. We stayed in Blockley, a less travelled little village which we much prefer to the more touristy towns. Thankfully we did not visit in high peak season, thus thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring the various beautiful villages. Wouldn’t hesitate to go back!
The smaller villages are nice, we stayed in one like that too, much quieter and still easy to visit the rest of the region. Some of my favourite gardens are here.
We’ve only been to the Cotswolds once and it was a fleeting visit with our daughters in 1999. We’ve often thought we’d like to stay in one of the quieter villages for a week or so and do some exploring. You’ve convinced me!
Gorgeous area if you can avoid the Londoners!
True! Though I suspect a lot of them live here now!
Ahh yes, spreading west the dastardly bunch!
Comments are closed.