I am an avid reader and I can't tell you how many books I have read that have been set in the English countryside. I have easily imagined the quaint, idyllic towns and the wandering paths, but I have longed to make my own visit and see it for myself. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to London with my husband on business and I didn't waste any time making plans to spend three days in the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds are northwest of London and cover six counties. It's landscape is rolling hills and grasslands dotted with sheep and cows. The buildings are all made with the distinctive local yellow limestone to the point where many villages begin to look alike. But I never tired of it's beauty!
Our first stop was Buford. The town is a two hour drive from London and had a lovely downtown filled with shops and cafes. It was the perfect stop to stretch our legs.
Only a short distance from Buford was the town of Bibury. There is no "downtown" here only one hotel and a fish hatchery but the landscape is worth the stop. We spent an hour just wandering the streets and taking it all in.
It was getting late so we decided to head to our hotel in Painswick. Here I entered my dream world! Ha! The Painswick Hotel is amazing! In fact, we decided to not drive out into the countryside the following day just so we could enjoy the splendor of our hotel.
Look at that view!
Comfy sitting area in our room to curl up with a book
And the tub needs no words!
We did venture into Painswick to stroll the tiny, winding, hilly streets. It's easy to get disoriented!
After a day of rest, we got back in the car and drove an hour to Chipping Campden. You don't mind the drive because it gives you a chance to take in the countryside landscape. Chipping Campden was the favorite of the towns we visited and I wish we would have just spent the day idling around. It is rich in history and was one of the most important market towns ('chipping") for wool famous throughout England. The town has preserved its ancient buildings and thatched roofs. The main street in town is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants.
We stopped at the Badger's Hall Tea Room for tea and scones. I have a weakness for pottery and just loved their tea cups.
From there it's a thirty minute drive to the towns of Bourton-on-the-Water and Upper and Lower Slaughter. I'm not a big shopper and enjoy spending my time "off the beaten path". How can you not love the name!? but Bourton-on-the-Water was not for me. It's very touristy, filled with chintzy souvenir shops. We did visit the Cotswold Motoring Museum which had a very impressive vintage car collection.
We returned to the hotel to warm up with wine by the fire and just like that, our English countryside adventure was over. We got up early the next morning to drive to Bristol so we could fly to Dublin for my husband's next business appointment. Despite the rain and dreary days, it was a lovely trip. I was currently reading Agatha Chrisitie's Murder at the Vicarage and I was able to place myself right into St. Mary Mead. Goal Accomplished!