A Cotswold Taster
Who can resist the charms of the Cotswolds? With its gentle rolling hills, mellow stone walls and buildings, thatched cottages and grazing sheep, it’s no wonder the Cotswolds are so popular with visitors. Unfortunately its popularity does mean the hot-spots get crowded in peak season, but I’ve tried to include a mixture of lesser-known places with the ‘must-sees’, and trying to incorporate small country roads where possible which the big coaches can’t travel along (for that, read ‘narrow’ and ‘windy’). So this tour can vary, according to season and weather conditions.
We shall leave Windsor at 09.40hrs. The Cotswolds are, by British terms at least, a bit of a distance from Windsor, so sit back and relax in the comfort of my car as we travel the motorways and main roads for 90 minutes until we reach the edge of the Cotswolds. Now the real tour can begin as we venture off the main route in search of some Cotswold treasures.
Minster Lovell is just a little village, but is really quite charming with thatched cottages, a 600 year old pub just yards away from the clear waters of the River Windrush. Further up the country lane, we will take time out to visit the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall, which has, as all good ruins should, a mystery to tell…
Which road shall we take next? The Cotswolds invites people just to explore, but whichever road we take, we shall end up at Burford, an historic wool town, and considered to be ‘The Gateway to the Cotswolds’. Time to take a stroll with me as you discover the sad fate of the Levellers imprisoned in the 15th century church during the Civil War, or you may wander around the town on your own. There is time for an early lunch, and being a bustling market town, there are plenty of choices.
Bibury is famous for Arlington Row – a row of 16th century weavers’ cottages which must constitute one of the most-recognised images of the Cotswolds. This does get very busy, but we’ll make time to stop for photos at least. Alternatively, we may visit some stunning hamlets instead, which because of their location don’t attract the coach parties, such as Snowshill (where during the summer months we could visit the beautiful lavender fields) or Stanton.
Another of the most-visited places in the Cotswolds has to be Bourton-on-the-Water, and I did wonder whether to include this on the itinerary, purely because of how commercial it can be… but if that’s where you would like to see, that is where we shall go! And it’s not that popular without good cause!
There are so many towns to choose from, and we will certainly be travelling through more; the above is just a sample, but also represents a fairly typical itinerary that can be achieved in one day.
I should imagine that after this busy day you will be ready for a cup of tea or coffee, and I have found a choice of delightful country hotels to stop at and have a welcome cream tea in beautiful surroundings. This is included in the tour price. After this, it will be time to relax, and maybe have a snooze? as we drive 90 minutes or so back to Windsor, arriving back between 7pm - 7.30pm.
What extra costs should you factor in?
- Lunch prices vary but as a guide:
- Shop sandwiches & drink = about £3
- Pub sandwiches / lite bite = about £6
- 2 course restaurant meals = about £10 - £15
- Bourton-on-the-water has a number of little attractions, which there may or may not be time to visit, but click here to view what there is.