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Exploring the Cotswolds

September 22, 2020

To celebrate my 30th birthday, Ade and I booked a week away to explore the Cotswolds. I had always wanted to visit and I can’t believe it has taken me so long to make the trip as it’s only a couple of hours’ drive from London.

We were blessed with some unexpectedly warm September weather, perfect for rambling around villages, getting lost down country lanes and al fresco afternoon teas.

Our base was The New Inn in Coln St. Aldwyn’s, a trendy little pub with rooms in the back. When we arrived we had some incredible vegan mushroom burgers in the pub for dinner and chatted about our plans for the week over a glass of red wine.

The next day was my actual birthday, so Ade showered me with gifts in the morning after breakfast! We headed out to nearby Burford to explore and had our first proper taste of the beautiful Cotswolds architecture.

A quick outfit change to accommodate the insanely warm weather and then we headed on to our next destination. Afternoon tea is one of my favourite past times, so I knew that’s what I wanted to do on my birthday. We had read some great reviews for a place called the Swan Inn in Bibury, so off we went.

Sunshine, sandwiches and scones – I was one very happy birthday girl.

Stuffed with food, Ade and I decided to go on a drive to enjoy the golden hour sun. We stumbled across the gorgeous Upper Slaughter – a tiny village with picture-perfect cottages and a huge old mill.

The last few moments of sunlight were the best. The honey-coloured Cotswold stone houses were practically glowing as they soaked up the last light.

The following day we explored Bourton-on-the-Water and walked the loop up to Upper Slaughter, down through Lower Slaughter and back to Bourton. I loved this route so much – we went through fields, down country lanes and through the charming villages. Bakery-On-The-Water was the perfect little cafe to stop in for lunch, followed by cream tea in a nearby tea house.

We had a dinner reservation at The Ox Barn, the restaurant at Thyme, which is a stunning 150-acre farm with luxurious cottages and rooms you can stay in. The grounds are absolutely stunning and the interiors have a very rustic farmhouse feel, but still modern and sleek. We had cocktails and mushroom risotto – it was very expensive but for a 30th birthday getaway we decided to push the boat out!

The next day we started at Bibury, but that deserves a whole post to itself!

After a hearty breakfast we set off towards Broadway, another pretty town further north in the Cotswolds. We stopped off on the way for a walk at Snowshill, a National Trust property with beautiful grounds and orchards. The house itself was closed due to Covid, but it was the perfect time of year to be strolling through the apple trees, surrounded by rolling hills.

We wandered around the little shops on the high street and admired all the pretty buildings before – yep, you guessed it – another afternoon tea!

This one was less polished than the one we had at the Swan and had more of a rustic, home-made feel which I really loved. We each got to choose our favourite sandwich filling and a huge slab of cake from a selection of classics. The best bit? Our scones were so fresh from the oven they were still warm.

On our way back to base camp, we drove up and down country roads, chasing the best views for sunset. We found a charming village called Naunton at the bottom of a little valley, so we decided to try and get a better view from above. These sheep had the best seat in the house and didn’t seem to mind sharing with us.

The whole village was bathed in the last of the sun’s light, glowing against a backdrop of rolling green hills. We left the sheep to it and headed back home, full, tired and happy after another full day of exploring.

The Cotswolds definitely stole my heart and I’ve been non-stop searching on Rightmove for my dream future home in the countryside ever since!

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  1. […] spotted it the day before when we visited the nearby pub for afternoon tea, but as it was mid-afternoon there were a lot of people around and we felt that we didn’t […]

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