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Friday, March 13, 2015

Costwolds Taster - A Day Trip to Cotswolds from London

While we usually plan our trips well in advance, there are times when things happen on the spur of the moment. Our 'Lunch in Cotswolds' trip was one such instance where we decided that we wanted to get away from the routine and booked ourselves on a day trip to Cotswolds with Premium Tours. The English countryside is the place to be in summer and what better place than Cotswolds, well known for its quintessentially English villages with beautiful thatched cottages, winding footpaths and marvellous rolling countryside.

We headed to London Victoria from where our tour was to depart for Cotswolds. After the check-in and meeting some fellow travellers we boarded the coach and left London at around 8:30am. In under 2 hours we were in the picturesque Cotswolds. Our first stop was Bibury. Bibury is a small charming town. William Morris(artist, writer and textile designer associated with the English Arts and Crafts Movement) is known to have described Bibury as "the most beautiful village in England". And having seen Bibury there is no surprise why he said so. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a small village and one of the main attractions is - Arlington Row - a row of weavers cottages built next to the River Coln. These lovely cottages were built in 1380 and converted into weavers' cottages sometime in the 17th century. The cloth produced here was then sent to the Arlington Mill which is nearby.

The Arlington Row features on many postcards and scenes relating to Cotswolds. It is no surprise because the row of houses with the River Coln in the front indeed makes a beautiful picture. Also within walking distance from the weavers' cottages is the Bibury Trout Farm which is a working farm where high quality Trout are bred and reared. We spent some time strolling around the village and taking pictures before heading to our next stop - Burford.









 
Burford is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty(AONB) and is often referred to as the  ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’. As we headed into this town our guide gave us some insight into the history associated with Burford. We visited the St John the Baptist Church. The church is known for many interesting facts. Henry VIII's barber-surgeon, Edmund Harman, is buried here and so is the well known Burford mason - Christopher Kempster who was employed by Christopher Wren during the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral in London. Also if we go back further in history, the mutineers in Lord Cromwell's army(they were called Leverllers) were captured and imprisoned in this very church. Some escaped, some were recaptured and executed in the church. Back to present and Burford is now a lovely little town with a main High Street with lots of lovely cottages, tea shops, galleries, hotels and shops. Our lunch was at the Cotswolds Arms - one of the most visited pubs in Burford. The pub has a stunning display of flowers in myriad colours and was such a welcoming sight after our walking tour. We enjoyed some delicious freshly prepared food served by some really friendly staff. After having spent a couple of hours in Burford we moved onto our next destination, Burton-on-the-Water.








Burford -St John the Baptist Church

Burford -The Cotswolds Arms

Burford -The Cotswolds Arms

Burford

Burton-on-the-Water was my favourite village in Cotswolds. It has a unique architectural style and the houses and cottages were beautiful with tall chimneys and beautiful windows. Many buildings are actually quite old, yet look lovely because they have been well maintained. The River Windrush flows through the village and as you might have guessed, that means innumerable photo opportunities. There are lots of footbridges and the village is easy to walk around. That is why Burton-on-the-Water is referred to as 'The Venice of the Cotswolds' :) No wonder it is popular not only with visitors from within the UK but also those from abroad. The village tends to be very busy in the Summer. I liked the beautifully clear and shallow (quite shallow in most places) river. There were lots of ducks in the river and lots of people on the lawns besides the river enjoying their picnic lunches. There are many attractions in Burton-on-the-Water like the Motor Museum, the Birdland, the Model Village and even a maze. We spent our time exploring the village and enjoying the architecture and the beautiful clear water in the river. My conclusion is that Burton-on-the-Water can be the ideal base to explore Cotswolds. It is definitely well worth a visit as it gives you an idea of what to expect from Cotswolds.

Burton-on-the-Water

Burton-on-the-Water






Burton-on-the-Water






Burton-on-the-Water

Our final stop was at Stow-on-the-Wold, yet another quintessential English village with stone houses and cottages, lots of shops, some hotels and of course the beautiful Cotswold's countryside. Though we did not spend much time here, we had enough time to wander around the town looking at the antique shops and art galleries. Stow-on-the-Wold is a shopping/trading hub and was well known for its annual fairs where sheep used to be traded. Our guide mentioned that more than 20,000 sheep would be sold at any one time. Nowadays instead of the sheep, you see tourists flocking into this lovely little Cotswold town.

Stow-on-the-Wold

Stow-on-the-Wold

Stow-on-the-Wold

Stow-on-the-Wold

Overall, it was a fun day trip. Though Cotswolds cannot be experienced and enjoyed to the fullest in a single day, a day trip like the one we went on gives you an idea of which place you would like to set up your base at for a full fledged visit to Cotswolds. After this trip we know that Burton-on-the-Water would be an excellent base for touring the Cotswolds. We now know what we would like to see in Cotswolds and where we could avoid the tourist crowds. If you are looking for a trip that gives you a taste of Cotswolds then a day trip from London is the best option.

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3 comments :

  1. Thanks! Lovely photos! We are visiting this June from the States, and might not have visited Burton on the Water if I hadn't stumbled upon your blog while searching out photos of the Condor Ferries Rapide.

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  2. Thanks Arnie. I am sure you will have a wonderful time in Cotswolds.

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