Cotswolds Days 1 to 3

I recently visited the Cotswolds region with my parents. The Cotswolds is an area in the west-central part of England noted for it’s natural beauty.

We stayed in Chipping Campden for the first two nights. Chipping Campden is a small town of just over 2000 people and is approximately 2 hours drive north west from London. The town was formerly a market town; the term “Chipping” originated from Old English and means “market”.

Chipping Campden High Street and Market Hall

The picture shows the main street through the town. The market hall, where merchants once sold cheese, butter and poultry, is the building with the two arched entries. The streets were quiet, reflecting the time of year that we visited. However the town is popular with tourists and I can imagine is being fairly busy during peak times. Another indication of this is the relatively high number of restaurants, bars and tea houses for a small town. We had an excellent dinner at the Red Lion Inn which is an understandably popular establishment for dining.

Chipping Campden was an excellent base for the first few days of our holiday. Just wandering the town itself was enjoyable and there are a number of historic sites that you can visit. There are also many and varied attractions within a short drive of the town including walks, gardens, palaces etc. It is a popular location with walkers as there are numerous trails nearby. The town is at the trailhead of the Cotswolds Way – a 102 mile National Trail running through the Cotswolds from Chipping Campden to Bath.

The town is overlooked by Dovers Hill. We drove to the top however the hill is within walking distance from the town. The photo taken from Dovers Hill shows Chipping Campden in the background.

Me on Dovers Hill overlooking Chipping Campden

The hill had panoramic views and it is possible to see the foothills of the Welsh Mountains.

Dovers Hill

On the second day we visited Hidcote Manor Gardens in the morning. The gardens were created circa 1910-1920 by an American-born horticulturalist.

Hidcote Manor Gardens

I personally didn’t find it that spectacular; well not when compared to somewhere like Kew Gardens which features beautiful old trees. Perhaps my expectations were too high as this place is described as one of England’s greatest gardens.

We then proceeded to visit a small town called Bourton-on-the-Water. The river Windrush winds through the town and there are a number of footbridges crossing the river. For this reason the town is sometimes referred to as “the Venice of the Cotswolds”.

River Windrush in Bourton-on-the-Water

After lunch we drove a short distance to the tiny village of Lower Slaughters. It is a beautiful little village and worthwhile visiting.

The old water mill at Lower Slaugters

For the next few hours we followed a small section of a driving route known as the Romantic Road route. After passing through some more countryside and small town, we ended the afternoon at Broadway Tower – one of the highest points in the Cotswolds.

On the third day we visited the village of Broadway. The wide main street has many little shops, tea rooms, pubs and so forth. We really enjoyed our time at Broadway.

Shop in Broadway

Main street in Broadway

After Broadway we visited Snowshill Manor. A person called Charles Wade lived in a small cottage next to the manor whilst filling the manor with an eclectic collection of objects. I found the small cottage in which he lived interesting; it was small, dark, and musty but from the small windows overlooked some beautiful countryside. As for the items in the manor itself, I found the collection of penny farthings of most interest. We soon departed on our way to Cheltenham, stopping to see the village of Bibury and the Chedworth Roman Villa (the ancient remains of a Roman Villa).

We spent the next two nights in Cheltenham celebrating my mum’s birthday on the first night.

I’ll post the final two days of the trip on a later date.


  1. Saana said,

    May 7, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

    Lovely, just lovely!!!

  2. Alison Lacken said,

    May 25, 2008 @ 7:01 am

    Hi Matthew,
    I really enjoyed the description of the Cotswold trip. You have a real talent for writing and you take great pictures and get to the heart of the matter without too much wordage. Not like me.
    The gardens are a bit hard to figure out because some of them do not seem to live up to their description, but it is to do with the range and rarity of the plants which are grown there as some of them are exotic and hard to grow in Englands’ climate. Also the way they have been laid out sometimes by famous artists and landscape artists adds to their appeal. It is a very relaxing thing to read about gardens and the way they came about.
    Did you ever see the programmes on tele a few years back about the great gardens and houses of Europe and later the world? That showed that many of the gardens fell into disrepair during or after the two wars and many of them had to be planted and started again from scratch almost, and they are still getting back to their former glory.

  3. Matt said,

    May 25, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

    Thanks Alison. Yes I agree with you about the gardens. I think the more you know about plants the more you you can appreciate the gardens.

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