Where: Cotswolds, UK
When: October 2017
Hotel: Court House Manor
Why The Cotswolds: Read the recap on why we picked The Cotswolds and part 1 of the trip here.
The Trip: Day two was going to be another big day of exploring the towns of the Cotswolds, going in the opposite direction of day one.
Our first stop of the day was Broadway, which is known as the “Jewel of The Cotswolds.” It is one of the most popular and most visited villages in the area, and is exactly as charming as described. The village has cute, golden-colored buildings with lots of fun stores to explore. We were there early in the day, so while it is popular, there weren’t a ton of people crowding the wide Main Street and sidewalks. It is one of the busier towns we were planning to visit for the day, and definitely, as we found out, one of the best for shopping!
We were supposed to stop at Moreton-on-Marsh next, but we decided to continue on to Stow-on-the-Wold next. (Honestly, how cute are all of these names??) Stow-on-the-Wold has an adorable main square, lots of yummy places to eat and is home to the Porch House, which claims to be the oldest pub in the UK. We decided to stop for lunch at a cute pub called The King’s Arms, and as it was Sunday, we were able to have a Sunday Roast! It’s a traditional British meal eaten on Sundays (hence the name), and consists of roasted meat, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and various veggies. It was so much food, and so good! We thankfully ate first before walking around the town, because it opened up some room in our bellies to enjoy a treat from Huffkins, a delicious bakery dating back to the 1800s.
We made our way to the Slaughters – Upper and Lower…two towns that were exceptionally quiet on a Sunday afternoon. Upper Slaughter was definitely less touristy than Lower Slaughter, which is exceptionally charming with the town built along the River Eye. The homes line the river and there is a nice walk along it, perfect for exploring the town. Upper Slaughter was nice – but I preferred Lower Slaughter with its fairy-tale bridges and walking paths.
Our next stop was going to be Burton-on-the-Water, but as we drove into town it was so, so crowded and we were having such a nice relaxing day that we decided to try a different, unplanned town – and a quick internet search showed Gloucester was on the way back to the hotel, and had a gorgeous cathedral worth a visit. It was definitely not the typical Cotwolds villages we had explored all day, and it was a bigger town than expected, but the bonus was that it was late on Sunday afternoon and we had the place to ourselves.
The Cathedral was absolutely stunning and nothing like the small ones we had seen all day in the neighboring towns. It was built in the 11th Century, and has been used in several films (including Harry Potter, which was another reason we were drawn to the town). It’s tucked off the main pedestrian area, down cute little passageways.
We had dinner that night back in Painswick, at the Painswick Hotel and Restaurant. This was so much fun – we had to make a reservation, and while we waited we tried some very typical English drinks made for us by a bartender from Portugal. It was interesting to learn how so many Europeans went to different countries to learn about and work in the service industry before returning back to their home country.
The next day, our flight didn’t leave until the early evening, so we had time to make one more stop before heading to the airport. We spent a little more time walking around the Painswick village (and found a home with a “Barbers” sign out front, which I took as a sign we needed to buy a house in The Cotswolds). After that, we set out back toward Birmingham with one more stop on the agenda: Stratford-Upon-Avon, which is the birthplace and burial site of William Shakespeare. The main pedestrian area has great shops, and we had time to pop into a little restaurant for an afternoon cream tea.
Final Impressions: I’ve had so much fun reliving this trip during the two posts. We had such a good time. It was a busy, but not exhausting itinerary – not to mention the towns are so quaint and unhurried, that it is impossible to be stressed out while walking around them. The towns are as cute as described and lived up to all of my expectations. I would go back and visit all of them all over again.