There is nothing I love more than being in a place I've never been, and I pretty much just want to go everywhere...
I can't get enough of travelling and sightseeing, so this blog is dedicated to the cool little places I would someday like to go.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Heart of England” : The Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Wold

The Cotswolds are a range of hills in southern England, known as an “area of outstanding natural beauty,” home to rolling farm fields and a number of small, charming villages.


 One of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds is the village of Stow-on-the-Wold, which sits at the top of a hill where several of the main Cotswold rural roads meet.
 

Stow-on-the-Wold has a long and interesting history. The first settlement here was an iron age fort, which grew over the centuries and became prosperous in the middle ages due to the wool trade in the Cotswolds. A 7 day market fair has been held in Stow-on-the-Wold since the 1300’s, and although it is much smaller now, this still continues today.  It is still very popular though, and the roads all around Stow are blocked for hours on the day of the fair. Stow-on-the-Wold was also a site for several skirmishes during the English Civil War.

 
What to do? There are a range of places to stay in Stow-on-the-Wold. There are hotels in beautiful restored manor houses and B&B’s, as well a hostel (also in a traditional townhouse building) and camping.
 
You can also rent a farmhouse for a reasonable price, like the Manor Farm, shown below.

 
Explore Stow-on-the-Wold and shop in the town. Charming shops sell clothing, jewellery, antiques and art, etc. The buildings are beautiful and old, made from traditional Cotswold limestone. There are museums and historical sights all around the town. You can also explore the nearby villages Moreton-in-Marsh and Bourton-on-the-Water (I love these names). There are miles of hiking trails throughout the Cotswolds, and many restored homes and beautiful gardens. The region is about 40 km across and 145 long, so pretty much everything is within a reach of a short drive if you are spending a couple days here.
 
 
In Stow-on-the-Wold a great place to visit is St. Edward’s Church, a church originally date to the 11th century. The church is built with a mixture of architectural styles due to renovations and changes over the years, making it unique and beautiful to look at.

 
Another good attraction is Broughton Castle, a romantic medieval manor house with beautiful walled gardens. You can tour the restored rooms, which have furniture from the period, and have a meal in the tea room.

 
What to eat? Stow-on-the-Wold has many tea rooms, cafes, restaurants and pubs, all serving delicious food in charming old buildings.
 

Huffkins is recommended – there are three Huffkins tea rooms throughout the Cotswolds, one of them being in Stow-on-the-Wold. Huffkins was voted “best afternoon tea in Britain” in 2008.  The family that owns Huffkins have been bakers since the 1800’s. They use locally sourced ingredients and are known for their specialty baked bread.
 

The Coach & Horses in Ganborough, only a couple miles away, is also recommended. The atmosphere is lovely – the restaurant is inside a restored old home and has open fires, cozy window seats, beamed ceilings and original stone floors, along with a large garden and patio area. The restaurant is run by a couple who serve “traditional English fare with a contemporary twist.” Like Huffkins, the ingredients are local, and the menu here actually changes seasonally and even daily, depending on what is available. They also serve ales that are brewed at the nearby Donnington Brewery.

 
The architecture and atmosphere of the Cotswolds are charming beyond belief, and I would love to experience England in this idyllic region. I think it would make a really relaxed, peaceful summer vacation and a great get away.
 

Official website with all kinds of info about the Cotswolds and Stow-on-the-Wold.
 

4 comments:

  1. It's like walking back in time. It looks like much hasn't changed since the 1800s. It's amazing if you think about it. Most of these businesses probably date so far back and yet they're still going on.

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  2. That church is one of the coolest buildings that has been shown on this blog yet, and that is saying something. Looks very much like a hobbit hole, in fact most of the buildings on this blog have a Lord of the Rings feel.

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  3. I loved the church. It looks so beautiful. It probably is the most memorable thing I have seen in the blog thus far. I don't know why exactly... it just has something so cool about it. Words cannot describe it.

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  4. Mitchell, I realized that when I looked back over them all, I love that kind of thing. And Autumn I agree!

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