The Cotswolds Guide Book


A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I decided to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and take a visit to the country. We were tired of the tubes, tired of the commute, and wanted a bit of greenery, and some time to unwind. Enter the Cotswolds. 
The Cotswolds is an area of the UK, which has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and it REALLY is. In fact, there is no better way to describe it. Rolling hills, sweeping fields, the prettiest little villages, and of course, the iconic limestone houses. I went years ago, as a little girl, and was itching to return as an adult! I've received a few emails asking me where I would recommend visiting, so I thought a little guide book would be the answer...

We stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb (whatever did we do without them eh?) in Bibury. It was positioned on a farm, with the most scenic, stunning views. It even had rosy flowers all round the door! There are numerous cottages and houses in the Cotswolds region available on Airbnb, and I highly recommend you inhabit one of them. They tend to be cheaper than hotels, and provide an authentic way to stay in the heart of your chosen destination, in a homely manner.

Bibury is very close to the first port of call, which is home to the hugely famous Arlington Rowe. 

This quaint little dwelling really reminds me of something from The Hobbit! Its basically a row of teeny cottages, which were first lived in, in the seventeenth century. 

The way they are positioned is beyond cosy, and has featured in many films, including Bridget Jones' Diary. I was spellbound by how picturesque it was. It does get incredibly busy however; in fact its probably one of the most popular scenes in The Costwolds, so I would advise you to get there quite early if you're hoping for an uninterrupted picture!

Another place you simply must stop by, is the well-loved village of Bourton-on-the-Water. The River Windrush flows through it, making it such a delightful scene; its just so quaint and idyllic! It houses a busy high street packed with kitsch little shops, cafes and attractions. I lost count at the number of bridges that frame the river- I can see why many refer to it as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'!

I squealed with delight when I stumbled across Garland's Little Sweet Shop. It really reminded me of Honeydukes Sweet Shop from Harry Potter. The intimate size, lined with old-school jars, brimming with chocolates, bon bons and sherbet lemons is most definitely worth a peep!

We wolfed down a cream tea (it would be rude not to-the scones here are LIFE)

 We then decided to take a peep at the model village. It costs £4.50 to enter, and makes you feel rather like the BFG due too its tiny proportions! Its a one-ninth scale exact replica of Bourton-on-the-water, and includes everything from the church to the riverbed. It's ingenious. It's actually a whopping eighty years old and has been visited by a whole host of famous faces, AND the late Queen Mother.

Close by is the very sleepy region of Lower Slaughter. The namesake sounds ridiculously severe, but this spot is the total opposite-so peaceful and visually beautiful. 

It is built on the banks of the River Eye, and right at the end of the village is a water mill, complete with waterwheel and chimney, which still works to this very day. So retro, and such a delight to see; especially as we live and exist with such high technological objects these days- its like something out of Victorian times and I was fascinated by it.

After an afternoon of exploring, we stumbled across the exceptionally grand Slaughters Manor House, which is a contemporary country house with the extremely luxurious furnishings and grounds. 

We had a cup of tea in the drawing room whilst the rain came down. It really is the most relaxed feeling, watching the world go by, in the heart of the country. I felt totally at ease with life and seriously considered retiring at that very moment...

Around 40 mins away, is the charming area of Kingham, home to the world famous Daylesford Farm Shop. Trust me, this isn't your regular, side-of-the-road shack. This place means business.

 First off, its HUGE.Secondly, its completely organic, and is brimming with natural resourcefulness. A MUST for foodies everywhere. Its probably the most famous farm shop in Britain, and its so easy to see why. Not only is there every type of fruit and veg variation you can possibly think of (colour coded to perfection) there is also a walk-in cheese room, wet fish counter, and about 50 different types of honey, all produced on the farm, which is adjacent to the store. They also sell incredible blooms, homeware and even yoga mats! Liz Hurley and Kate Moss are big fans, so you may even spot a celeb or two alongside the grub.

If you get a little peckish whilst on your mammoth food shop, there's also a cafe just off the food court, which serves the most sumptuous of all mocktails I think I've ever tried. Overpriced? Yes of course. Worth it for the gram? Yes Ma'am.

Lastly, if you are looking for a bit of a blow out meal, with breathtaking views, you HAVE to visit The Painswick. This exclusive, hillside hotel, has just about the most jaw-dropping backdrop I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing.

The rooftop view behind us stretches far and wide, and you can see the lush greenery and valleys for miles. Its almost like a postcard and is beautifully silent. Working in London, I totally appreciate this setting and its a must for any country lover. The dinner menu, although not extensive, is full of typically British, comfort food cooked to a high standard, with great cocktails and impressive wine list. The establishment is fairly new (re-opened under new management in May 2015) and a bit of a hidden gem. I would love to return and actually stay in one of the much coveted rooms in the future.

There is no better location for a dreamy staycation than the Cotswolds. It has everything- character, handsome villages, great food, pubs, untouched natural beauty, history, architecture, and of course, the best cream teas of all time. What are you waiting for?

You Might Also Like