As autumn and winter draws closer, I start thinking about cosy jumpers and winter walks and one place I would like to return to around the wintery seasons is the Cotswolds.
We visited the Cotswolds last year in May, planned by my other half as a lovely birthday surprise, and it’s definitely somewhere you can visit in the summer enjoying the countryside and gazing at the cottage adorned in wisteria, or in the colder months picking a cosy pub, winter walks and cups of tea in the cute little tea rooms dotted around chocolate box villages.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Coln Rogers which was just stunning. Tulips are one of my favourite flowers, and walking through the archway towards the cottage, I was welcomed by a whole garden of beautiful red and white tulips standing to attention. The cottage was so cute and was the perfect start to our countryside retreat.
After unpacking and settling into our home for the weekend, we jumped back into the car and headed to Bibury for some dinner, a charming nearby village which William Morris described as ‘the most beautiful village in England’ and I wouldn’t disagree. Stone houses covered in greenery along the banks of River Coln.
We picked The Swan brasserie for some food, a beautiful country hotel with cosy armchairs, a log fire and fabulous chandeliers and a delicious menu on offer, it settled us straight into Cotswolds life for the weekend!
We had a little look around Bibury afterwards, finding Arlington Row which is one of England’s most photographed sites and is now owned by the National Trust. Built in the 14th century as a wool store and then converted into Weavers’ cottages, they reminded me of something out of a fairy tale.
It was the perfect time to explore Bibury as it gets very busy in the daytime attracting lots of visitors.
After a good night’s sleep in our cosy abode, we headed out for a road trip around the Cotswolds, my aim to see as many wisteria adorned cottages and chocolate box villages as possible!
We headed to the village of Stow on the Wold for breakfast and before deciding on where to eat we had a little explore around the area. We stumbled upon St Edwards Church which had doorways that reminded me of Hobbiton and Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings!
We dipped in and out of the antique shops and came across a lovely bookshop on our travels. We then headed for a delicious breakfast in Huffkins and enjoyed my favourite avocado and poached egg on sourdough – yum!
We jumped back in the car and headed to Mill Dene Gardens, a quirky beautiful garden with lots of nooks and crannies to discover. It was a very heart-warming garden to explore and is one of my favourite memories of the Cotswolds.
Next, we headed to Lower Slaughter, which was so picturesque! We walked along the river and just gazed at the cute houses and collected garden ideas as we passed by. We also visited Upper Slaughter which is up the road, and a lot smaller and quieter but just as pretty as Lower Slaughter.
Next on our list was Burford, a historic market town with incredible medieval buildings with Tudor and Georgian frontages and is often referred to as the ‘gateway to the Cotswolds’. The town felt straight out of a Harry Potter film!
We popped in and out of various antique shops, picking up some vintage finds as we went.
Nearby was Burford Garden Centre which is where we grabbed some lunch and a coffee. A truly beautiful garden centre with an abundance of beautiful homewares, indoor plants and all of the wisteria!
Before heading back to our cottage, we nipped back to Bibury to visit the William Morris cafe, we admired the wallpaper and filled up on tea and cake!
Later that evening, we headed to Fossebridge Inn, a cosy country pub with absolutely gorgeous food. The staff members also very kindly sung Happy Birthday to me and brought me a complimentary brownie. We had a lovely evening and it was the perfect end to a wonderful day in the Cotswolds.
The next morning, we (sadly) checked out of our cottage and decided to have a little scenic detour on our way home through some smaller less known villages.
We passed through Windrush, a sleepy beautiful village, before heading to Little Barrington which had an actual Whomping Willow tree (Harry Potter references again!) and thatch cottages.
We stopped in the quaint Minster Lovell to visit the Minster Lovell Hall ruins which lie in a picturesque rural setting next to River Windrush. Built in the 1430s, it changed hands several times until the hall was abandoned and eventually demolished in the 18th century leaving extensive remains that still stand today. It is an eerily beautiful place to explore.
Our last stop before we headed back home was Winchcombe, a pretty town steeped in history. We headed to Winchcombe Church, which has some very amusing gargoyles embellishing the roofline of the exterior. There are 40 of the gargoyles in total, which look almost like caricatures and have funny expressions.
We walked through the village, and got some food from a bakery to have a picnic near the river before heading back to the car and going home.
I absolutely loved staying in the Cotswolds, and its somewhere I definitely want to visit in the winter and fill my weekend with cosy pubs and winter walks.