This is Part II of my two-part series on my road trip through the Cotswolds, a picturesque area in England. Make sure you read Part I first!
With the birds singing in the yard, we woke up to another beautiful day in the Cotswolds. British weather can be quite temperamental, especially during the transitions between seasons, so we were really quite lucky to get blue skies for most of our time spent in this gorgeous area. Day two consisted of more charming towns, a combination of both the smallest villages and then the largest hotspots. Stanton, Broadway, Chipping Campden… these are very common stops on a Cotswolds itinerary, but this is no reason to leave them out. They’re all worth a wander.
Stanton & Snowshill
After breakfast, we were back on the road, this time on our way to the village of Stanton. It’s another charming village, but lots of people find this village particularly endearing.
David Verey, an English philanthropist called it “architecturally, the most distinguished of the smaller villages in the North Cotswolds”. The Daily Telegraph described Stanton in 2017 as “arguably the most beautiful Cotswold village of them all”. Even the Huffington Post said that it’s “one of the prettiest and idyllic unspoilt villages of the Cotswolds”.
We parked next to the parish church and set out on our walk for the day. We did a shorter version of the “Stanton, Snowshill and the Edge” walk as we were a bit tired from the day before. We walked up a hill, in shaded woodland, until we reached the top where we were met with gorgeous views. We had spectacular weather with the sun shining, giving us clear views for miles and miles.
Back down in the village, we went to the Mount Inn for lunch. It’s a charming, local pub set high about the town (hence, the Mount) with a nice view.
Food-wise, I opted for fish and chips and Victor went for the gammon (in case you don’t know what that is, gammon is the hind leg of pork after it has been cured by dry-salting or brining) served with chips, a fried egg and peas. We couldn’t have asked for a better post-walk lunch!
We then wandered around the town to see all the beautiful homes, from honey-coloured brick ones to thatched straw ones… what a wonderful world.
We then left Stanton for Snowshill. With a population of only 164 people, Snowshill was the smallest village we explored during our road trip through the Cotswolds. However, its size does not detract from its enormous charm. The main part of the village essentially is made up of a church, a pub and a manor. The village is set, unsurprisingly, on a hill so we again had sweeping views of the countryside.
Our next stop was one of the larger villages in the Cotswolds, Broadway. It is affectionately known as the “Jewel of the Cotswolds”. The main street running through the village, the “Broad Way”, is lined with a mix of Tudor, Stuart and Georgian buildings. The street ends in the village green, surrounded by restaurants and cafes.
Around 4:00pm we stopped for afternoon tea at Tisanes Tea Rooms. The tea rooms occupy a 17th-century Cotswold stone building filled with that typical Cotswold charm. They are particularly famous for their scones and I can attest they are so delicious!
Our last big stop of the day was Chipping Campden. This village felt significantly different and I didn’t really know why until I learned of its history.
Chipping Campden was a wool trading centre in the Middle Ages, and so received the patronage of many (wealthy) wool merchants. The village’s history as a central marketplace meant that people travelled from all over the region to trade their goods but also use the services the village offered. Therefore, that difference I felt in the village was because there was quite a bit of wealth sitting behind the grand and terraced high street.
Our trip to the Cotswolds was actually centred on a very special event: Victor’s 30th birthday! The trip was the celebration overall, but to specifically celebrate I took him out to dinner at the Kingham Plough. The pub uses local, seasonal ingredients sourced from trusted suppliers. The food was lovely and wholesome, and best of all the staff was so wonderful about Victor’s birthday.
Lower & Upper Slaughter
And so, we were then already on day 3, our last day in the Cotswolds. We had to factor in driving back to London, but we made sure to have time to visit a few more crucial towns. We started with two linked villages: Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter. Slightly unusual names, I know, but “slaughter” comes from an Old English word for “muddy place”. The two villages are along the banks of the River Eye, also known as Slaughter Brook.
Lower Slaughter is a small village that hasn’t changed for more than a century, with no building work taking place at all since 1906. With the images of the cottages reflecting and the sun shining on the water, we couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic, picture-perfect morning.
10 minutes of walking along the river lead us to Upper Slaughter. Slightly less visited, the village has a main square and almshouses, now private cottages.
Stow-on-the-Wold & Bourton-on-the-Water
Onto our next step, we drove to the village of Stow-on-the-Wold. Stow-on-the-Wold translates from the Old English words to “holy place on the hill”. The village inspired an old nursery rhyme:
Where the wind blows cold.
Where horses young and old are sold,
Where farmers come to spend their gold.
Where men are fools and women are bold and many a wicked tale is told.
High on the freezing Cotswold.
We went for a traditional afternoon tea at Lucy’s Tearoom. Sandwiches, scones, cakes, the whole lot. It was a lovely experience.
Stow-on-the-Wold is also home to St Edward’s Church, featuring a tree-framed door that looks like something out of the Lord of the Rings.
And finally, our last stop was Bourton-on-the-Water, a bustling village along the River Windrush. Becuase of the aforementioned gorgeous weather, many people were out and about, hanging out by the river with picnics and dogs running about. It was the perfect end to our wonderful trip to the Cotswolds.
And with that, I was back in London in a flash. The Cotswolds felt like a dreamy world away from reality and I look forward to visiting the area again soon.