The Cotswolds. It’s been quite a while since my trip to the heart of England, as I’ve mentioned before, absolutely stole my heart. Seeing the photographs on the Internet is one thing, but going through something in real life is incomparable. As beautiful as they can be, photos can never bring to the viewer the true emotions, beauty and experience behind the camera.
I have developed a very deep love for the old English countryside, surrounded by beautiful landscapes, with gorgeous roses embracing the old Tudor buildings, and I am more than excited to share that passion with you, my lovely readers.
1. Make a list of towns you want to visit; know exactly where you are going.
I had the false impression that the Cotswolds is a relatively small area, and everyone must just be going to the same nice places in a town or two. However, when I started reading about it and informing myself before the trip, I realised that it’s way more complicated than I had imagined. The Cotswolds is an area in South Central England of 25 miles (40 km) across and 90 miles (145 km) long (thanks Google!). So as you might understand, it’s physically impossible to see all of it in one or two days, especially considering the narrow roads that slowly grow into a one car road, where in case someone is coming towards you, either you or the other driver, have to reverse until there is a wider space where both cars fit. (but worry not, since we’re talking about England, usually both drivers will reverse, according to the English principles of manners).
So the towns I would recommend visiting are:
– Chipping Campden (personal favourite)
– Burton-on-the-Water (second favourite)
– Lower Slaughter (super cute and unbelievably small)
– Upper Slaughter (also super cute and no tourists)
– Stow-on-the-Wold (worth going even just for the St. Edward’s Church. you might remember it by this magical door)
2. Eat as much as you can! As a serious “gourmand”, the final verdict regarding the quality of the trip is always influenced by my food experience. So I’m happy to share with you some of the nicest places I found to eat in Cotswolds:
– The Nag’s Head on the Thames. The Bridge, Abingdon, OX14 3HX (this is not really Cotswolds, it’s Oxfordshire, but it’s on your way there from London, so make sure you stop for lunch or dinner, it’s one of the most charming places I have ever been to!)
– Old Manse Hotel. Victoria St., Bourton-on-the-Water GL54 2BX, England
– Huxley’s. High Street, Chipping Campden, GL55 6AL 9 (for a tasty Latte and some sweet treats for yourself)
– Willow’s Restaurant. Island House, Chipping Campden, GL55 6AL
– Old Stocks Hotel. The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1AF
– The Slaughters Country Inn Pub and Restaurant. Lower Slaughter, GL54 2HS
3. Stay at a 16th-17th century hotel. I stayed at a lovely small hotel in Chipping Campden, called Noel Arms. Everything starting from the proper English breakfast, to the creepy sounds at night that felt like ghosts, was exactly as I wanted. The squeaky floor, short ceilings, wooden bed, every detail in the hotel made me feel like I time travelled to the Tudor period.
4. The Cotswolds have a lot of local shops, make sure you go in and buy something. From Lemon Curd and regional cheese, to inspiring antique furniture and handmade pieces. The area is full of interesting things you can get for yourself and for your beloved ones waiting for you at home. Also the fudge. Ah the fudge…
5. Run on a field. Yes, I actually mean it. The Cotswolds is all coloured in saturated greens and yellows, with beautiful nature. Make sure you take at least half an hour to spend outside the towns, just walking, running, jumping on the beautiful never-ending fields.
6. Have a night walk in Chipping Campden. The last but not even close to being the least, walking through the night streets of this town was a magical experience. I can only recall such silent moments from my great grandmother’s village. Would love to bring the first night spent on a non-touristic beach during my last trip to Thailand, but the planes were annoyingly loud…. So yes, if you go to Chipping, make sure you stay one night there and walk around, when everyone is asleep (about 11pm.), half the lights are turned off, and all you can hear are your own thoughts. It honestly feels like you are in a different dimension…
I had a lot of trouble planning my trip to the Cotswolds, because as much as there is touristic information, there is not much personality to that. So I truly hope if any of you ever decides to go on a trip to the Old England, this will be useful!