Monday, 12 September 2016

Three Must See Places In The Cotswolds

Lower Slaughter, The Old Mill Museum, The Cotswolds

One of the prettiest parts of the country is The Cotswolds, a protected area of outstanding natural beauty in central England. The communities here are full of charm and character, featuring on chocolate boxes, calendars and even our passports. I recently visited three places all within minutes of each other - perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway.

STOW-ON-THE-WOLD
Lucy's Tearoom, Afternoon Tea in The Cotswolds

The small town of Stow-on-the-Wold sits near the top of The Cotswolds and is around 90 minutes by car from Cardiff and 2 hours from London by public transportation.
It's a haven of posh antique and crafts stores, art shops and tearooms, including Lucy's in the market square.

Cotswolds Cream Tea, Lucy's Tea Room, Stow-on-the-Wold

Popular on TripAdvisor, I made a beeline for this place on arrival for a toasted sandwich containing simple but locally sourced bread and fillings. A trip to The Cotswolds wouldn't be complete without an English cream tea or cake and their scones also hit the spot perfectly.

Lucy's Tea Room in Stow-on-the-Wold
Stow-on-the-Wold Market Square

Other highlights here include; The Stow Lodge Hotel with a beautiful summer garden and traditional Georgian interior and The Porch House which claims to be the oldest inn in England dating back to 947AD!

Further reading: A day trip to Broadway Tower, Burford and Chipping Campden 

The Stow Lodge Hotel Stow-on-the-Wold, Hotel in The Cotswolds
The Stow Lodge Hotel, Georgian Manor House, Cotswold Hotel

There is free parking in the town for two hours which gives you just enough time to get a feel for the place before moving on to the next location.

Stow-on-the-Wold street

THE SLAUGHTERS
The Old Mill Museum, Lower Slaughter Mill

Only 3 miles south is Lower and Upper Slaughter, a place that's even won an award for its beauty. The Old Mill in Lower Slaughter still turns today and visitors can explore the museum and gift shop.
There's an ice-cream parlour and riverside tea room inside, as well as a luxury Manor House and Country Inn nearby for a local brew.

Lower Slaughter Mill and Shop
Lower Slaughter, Prettiest villages in England

You don't really need long here, but it's so charming and quaint you'd be silly to drive by and miss the scenic stroll along the gentle river past the old yellow brick houses.

Further reading: A dreamy day trip to Cotswold Lavender Farm

Lower Slaughter, The Slaughters, The Cotswolds

BOURTON-ON-THE-WATER
Bourton-on-the-Water, The Venice of the Cotswolds, Bourton High Street

Known as 'the Venice of the Cotswolds', Bourton-on-the-Water was the final stop on my day trip and less than 2 miles from Lower Slaughter. It's easy to see why it's popular with tourists, the picture perfect high street is split by the shallow river Windrush with five arched bridges.

L'Anatra Italian Kitchen, Bourton-on-the-Water, Chocolate box village

There's a bigger variety of places to shop and eat in Bourton than the former two, such as a perfumery, retro sweet shop, chip shop and smart restaurant called 'L'Anatra' for Italian cuisine or coffee. 

L'Anatra Bourton-on-the-water, Cappuccino

Just off the High Street is The Model Village, a one-ninth scale replica of Bourton-on-the-Water constructed in the 1930s. Miniature roses and alpines ensure the landscape is as realistic as possible and they even use a small mower to maintain the lawn! I'm sure those travelling with children would love this attraction, as well as The Dragonfly Maze and Birdland Wildlife Park, home to over 500 birds. 

The Model Village Bourton-on-the-Water
The Little Nook, Green & Pleasant Tea Room, Bourton-on-the-Water shops

If you've not explored the Cotswolds before, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Slaughters and Bourton-on-the-Water make a fine introduction to the slow pace and beautiful buildings typical of this area.
It could also be a good stop off when exploring the historical Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare - click to view a blog of my day here.

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