(Here’s Cotswolds Part 1 if you missed it.)
Probably the most idyllic villages in the entire world. That’s what the Cotswolds is all about, with the bonus of great pubs and lovely tea shops. I felt like I was in a Shakespeare play and was missing my sword and jodhpurs.
Cotswolds is a cluster of ancient towns, all full of picturesque stone cottages and gorgeous gardens. They are perfectly proportional for me as a tiny person. The towns are tiny as well. When driving through the smallest of them you shouldn’t blink or you might miss them.
Here is my entirely subjective list of the best five towns. Sure, we only visited nine towns altogether so it didn’t take much of an effort to drop four of them off the list. At first I though about picking only three but that would have been too difficult so five it is. Besides, it’s my list so I get to do it as I please. Since I couldn’t rank them, I decided to list them in an alphabetical order. Editors note: all the towns are beautiful. I just wanted to give you the cream on the cupcake. Which one do you like best?
Bibury is a hidden gem. It is tiny but has charisma. You shouldn’t go to Bibury looking for shops or restaurants. There is just one hotel, with one pub. So don’t necessarily plan to have your lunch in this town. The treat of the town is Arlington Row, built in 1380 as monastic wool store and converted into a row of cottages in the 17th century. And people still live in them. If you’ve seen Bridget Jones’s Diary you might recognise it.
Accommodation-wise Bourton-On-The-Water is an excellent choice. It is right in the heart of the Cotswolds and therefore close to everything. It is just the right size to offer enough dinner and b&b choices. The small river running through the town is crystal clear and invites you for a picnic.
Broadway is a showpiece village with tea shops and antique shops. It is a perfect town for breakfast or lunch after (or before) strolling up and down the main street. Take your time and enjoy the atmosphere.
Driving from London, Burford is a kind of a gateway to the Cotswolds. The town itself is as big as the main street but oh so pretty. Burford is generally acknowledged as one of the finest small towns in England. I only regret not trying the “world famous Cotswolds Arms”. If any of you have been there or are planning to visit, let me know how it was.
Winchcombe is one of the bigger towns in the area. And by bigger I mean there is a bakery, pharmacy, butchers and a delicatessen. When touring Winchcombe most people visit the Sudeley Castle, once home to Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, and more recently and almost as significantly, the location of Liz Hurley’s wedding in 2007. Thus the castle can get a separate post later. So watch this space.