Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Cotswolds

I was desperate to get away for a while. I had a very specific holiday in mind. I wanted somewhere with no traffic, no noise and no stress. I wanted the middle of nowhere, I wanted green, and I wanted a hot tub!

We spent five days in the tiny village of Aston Somerville, a five minute drive from Broadway. We stayed in a Shepherd's hut on Manor Farm. It has two Shepherd's huts on site, as well as some gorgeous holiday cottages, and then options for both glamping and wild camping. 
Our little Shepherd's hut came with everything we needed. A pull down (and comfortable) double bed, a great kitchen with oven and hob, a shower ensuite, a tv and dvd player (for the rainy evenings), a BBQ and a hot tub. We got so much use out of the hot tub and the BBQ, even in the rain.

On our first night we ventured into Broadway for a drink or two, as the weather was good. We found a great fish and chip shop and decided to take food back to base. Fish and Chips and Champagne, the perfect combination!

Our days were spent discovering the local area and the surrounding countryside. We were enveloped by green rolling hills and farmland, which was perfect for exploring.

In our hut was a map of all the nearby footpaths, with warnings of what farm animals we may encounter along the way! The footpaths weren't exactly paths though, so we kind of guessed which way we should be going, stumbling upon the odd bridge or stile. 

I would be intrigued to see how high these crops get towards the end of the summer, before they are harvested. Well above my head I would imagine!

On this particular walk, we came across a herd of cattle. Literally a herd. There must have been about 20 of them.

It's funny how an animal that may seem quite harmless on it's own becomes extremely intimidating in a crowd! Especially when there are about 5 walking towards you.

I tried to look calm for this picture...

But I didn't stick around for very long!

The walks in the countryside were so, so peaceful. I forgot about everything, and felt so calm! We are so lucky in this country to have so much countryside around. How had I never been to this part of the country until now?! It's funny, we always focus on what part of the world we might visit next (quite rightly so!), but we rarely think about the parts of the country we live that we've not yet visited. I'd like to go to the Lake District next.

Broadway Tower is the second highest point in the whole of The Cotswolds.  The tower was built in 1798 and interestingly, in the late 1950s, the tower monitored nuclear fallout in England (there is also a nuclear bunker 50 yards from the tower).

The weather on this day was drizzly and grey, typical British springtime weather. Nevertheless, the views were spectacular, and I can imagine are stunning on a clear day.

We spent some time in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which didn't wow me. Possibly because of the weather, possibly because there we so many buildings and shops.

We did see where Shakespeare was born though!

The market town of Chipping Campden on the other hand, was beautiful. There is something about the Cotswold Stone used on every building that makes this place so charming. 

After many a BBQ and evening in throughout the week, we wanted to go out for a meal on our last evening in Broadway.

I wish I got more pictures of Broadway itself, as it really was lovely. Similar to Chipping Campden, the majority of the buildings were in Cotswold stone. There were many pubs, restaurants and tea rooms and quaint little shops. At one point there was even Morris Men dancing along to a fiddle and accordion! It did seem like a tourist hot spot, but not in a busy, overcrowded way. It was so typically British and I loved it!

We had our final meal at The Swan Pub (dinner menu here) which was tasty but not exceptional. There were a few very nice  looking but very expensive restaurants that I would have loved to have tried! Maybe next time.

I felt so refreshed after this little break, it was almost perfect. Perfection would have been beautiful sunshine the whole time, but we are in England.
I will certainly be visiting the Cotswolds again soon. Of what I saw it really is 'an area of outstanding natural beauty' and I would love to explore more of this vast part of England.

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