The attraction of visiting quaint English, country villages with names like Stow-in-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Upper and Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water, draws visitors by the droves in summer.
Our one day journey took us through many of the above mentioned villages. We made stops in Bourton-on-the-Water for tea and scones served with delicious clotted cream and raspberry jam. We walked through the village which calls itself the Venice of England. I am not so sure about that but it is quaint and cute. Lots of upscale shops without any of the big name stores you often find in resorty types of places. Still I had the feeling that this village was a bit of a victim of its own success with too many touristy shops and it was obvious that most shops catered to the tourist trade.
We drove through many other villages without stopping. We made our final stop in Stow-in-the-Wold, which is an absolutely stunning village with enough of a local population to need the specialized butcher shops, chocolatiers and bakeries that dotted the main street. Stow is also home to the Royalist Hotel, the oldest inn in all of England, going back to 947 AD. Also worth a stop for a pub lunch are The Queen's Head or The White Stag. We lunched at The Queen's Head. I had locally famous spotted sausages with mash and carrots and brussel's sprouts all covered in a rich gravy and accompanied with a locally made pint of cider. Surrounded by locals enjoying a pint and arguing over the news of the day, the Queen's Head was a warm and colorful stop on our journey.
The Royalist Hotel
Driving through the Cotswalds is an adventure in itself and not for the timid. Driving down narrow lanes lined with hedgerows and on the opposite side of the road than we Americans are used to takes a lot of concentration and can be a bit nerve-racking at times. But the craziness of attempting it is rewarded by a lovely drive through rolling hills criss-crossed by hedge rows dividing the land and ever present emerald green grass dotted with roving sheep. And, of course, the occasional village right out of a storybook.
We drove through the countryside back to Bristol and stopped to do a little shopping before heading home. Picked up a few things we wanted to take home as gifts--cheeses, sauces, cider, jams, etc.
Tomorrow we leave early for our 4 day trip to Barcelona, Spain. I won't be blogging while there but I will be sure to blog about my first ever experience in Spain as soon as I get back. Stay tuned.