Postcards from the Cotswolds

Last July we had a lovely week in the Cotswolds with Emma and Alessio. We were based in Gloucester for most of the time and managed to fit in day trips to Bath – see here, and Oxford. But the real highlight for me was driving around the countryside and visiting some of the beautiful towns and villages. Picture postcard stuff in many ways, but none the less interesting for that. There was so much to see in just one week that we only managed to stop off in four of the towns and just two villages.  Here are some of the highlights. As you will see, we had gloriously hot and sunny weather, so the views should help banish some of the winter gloom.

The first three photos are from Winchcombe, an old market town in the north of the Cotswolds. It is close by Sudeley castle, which is the reason we had headed up there. We parked in the town before walking to the castle and then wandered briefly around after a delicious lunch.

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Next up is Chipping Cambden, one of the more famous of the Cotswold towns. And very delightful it is too.  The third photo is a glimpse of what is now a working craft centre with cafe. It is about all that remains of the once famous Cotswold Arts and Craft Movement from the early 20th century..P1070665

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Onwards to another of the busy and famous Cotswold towns – Stow on the Wold. The photos from here show the lovely stone that was used to built many of the houses and other buildings. The place looks empty, but I was just lucky to get uninterrupted views. As with most of the places we visited, Stow was very busy.

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The final town that we visited was Northleach and this had a very distinctive look and feel to it. Just as beautiful as the other towns, but Northleach is a bit more off the tourist routes and seemed a more relaxed and gentle place. It also reminded us of a small French town, which all added to its attractiveness.

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Lower Slaughter was one of the two villages we managed to visit. We stopped there for lunch and had time to wander around. The village is a real gem and very popular as it boasts two restaurants. A lovely little river meanders through the village. There was once a mill by the village and the remains of the waterwheel which powered the mill is still a feature of the place. As you would expect in a rural area, there were plenty of people out horse riding and Lower Slaughter seems to be on a popular route.

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The other village we visited could not have been more different. Stanton is very much off the beaten track and was a very quiet, almost deserted spot when we were wandering around. It is equally delightful though and boasts the usual Cotswold gems – fine stone buildings, often with beautifully carved doors, and lots and lots of lovely flowers – hollyhocks seem to be a Cotswold speciality.

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I have just discovered, by chance today, that there is a series of crime mysteries set in the Cotswolds, written by a Rebecca Tope. I came across one in our local library and could not resist, especially as this one is set in the village of Stanton. Perhaps the Cotswolds is not such a peaceful haven after all! Still it was a glorious summer – let’s hope that this one is just as good

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