The Cotswolds

During my family’s week long visit from New York and Tokyo, we decided to take advantage of the amazing weather we’d been having to fit in a two-day, one-night trip to the Cotswolds.

Bourton on the water

I’d really been looking forward to this break, and spent hours upon hours on TripAdvisor trying to pick out exactly where to stay, and what sights to see. Within the short amount of time we were able to pack in quite a bit! Last Monday, I herded the family out and into the rental car for 5.30am to beat the rush hour traffic. After a two hour drive (most of it spent placating the passengers and driver with cups of coffee) we arrived at our first destination of Bourton on the Water. This village has perhaps the most picturesque high street I have ever seen, parallel to the River Windrush.

bourton on the water bourton on the water bourton on the water

Due to my incessant nagging expert planning we managed to arrive at our first destination far earlier than any of the establishments were due to be open for breakfast. We poked around the village, and watched the day unfold before us until it turned 8.30, when we invaded the Bakery on the Water.

Bourton on the water Bourton on the water Bakery on the waterBakery on the Water

We tucked into some incredible coffees and one of the best sausage rolls I’ve ever had.

Duck, Bourton on the water(A friendly local.)

Bourton on the water

There were several attractions in Bourton on the Water we were keen to see – the Cotswold Motoring Museum, for one, and the model village. Unfortunately neither of them opened until half ten, and we were too impatient to wait, so we set off for our next stop: Stow on the Wold.

Stow on the wold

Stow on the Wold was a market town, and has an incredibly charming town centre.

Stow on the wold

While we were there we also took the opportunity to have a peek inside St. Edward’s Church, which had some exquisite stained glass within.

Stow on the wold

We spent a few hours wandering around Stow on the Wold before our stomachs began to rumble, and our well stocked picnic basket started calling to us. We’d originally planned on picnicking in the Batsford Arboretum, as was recommended multiple times, only to discover that this was in fact prohibited! So be warned. We were advised instead to drive down to Hailes Abbey, an English heritage site in Gloucestershire. At the site stands the ruins of the Cistercian abbey, which was built in 1246. It was a perfect day for a picnic, and we had ours in the shade, in the part of the abbey that was once the kitchen. (It seemed appropriate).

Hailes abbey Hailes abbey

Eager to get the most out of our afternoon prior to check-in, we jumped back in the car and drove down to the Slaughters. The twin villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter are idyllic and charming, perhaps due to the fact that no building work has taken place there since 1906. We were unable to see much of Upper Slaughter as there was nowhere to park (our party included an old Japanese lady reluctant to take long walks) but we managed to park at the Lower Slaughter Manor, where we stopped for tea.

Lower slaughter manor Lower Slaughter

The name ‘Slaughter’ comes from an old English word, and means ‘muddy place’ – I was rather disappointed, as I was hoping this beautiful and idyllic place and some sort of gruesome past, but unfortunately not.

Lower Slaughter

After our tea, and a short walk down to the old mill we set off towards Chipping Campden, where we would settle down for the evening!

Lower SlaughterLower slaughter