Every now and again I like to write about something different – beautiful places which inspire me. This year, my husband and I decided to take my mother on a holiday in the Cotswolds with us, a place we hadn’t yet discovered.
Having arrived in Bretforton, we were touched by the charm of this village which unfolded like a scene from a Jilly Cooper book; a row of thatched cottages snuggling together on the approach – a backdrop of houses in Cotswold Stone, smothered in a cape of Virginia creeper – and behind the wooden gates, our holiday home awaited us.
The owners could not have done more to make us feel welcome and what a nice touch to leave us a welcome hamper that included a bottle of chilled white wine along with homemade marmalade and lemon drizzle cake. After sinking into the luxurious chairs in a lovely light conservatory, we decided to take the dog for a walk through the village only to discover yet more treasures; a community shop, a manor house and church and best of all, a very olde worlde pub where we enjoyed dinner on our first night.
Holidays don’t get much better; and how lucky we were to be blessed with such glorious weather. With the autumn trees just turning, there was something almost dream-like about the luminous golden sunshine – the way it lit up the leaves, not to mention all those honey-coloured houses the Cotswolds villages are renowned for. We explored plenty of those; Broadway, Moreton-on-the-Marsh (which has a great market), Stow on the Wold, Chipping Camden (my favourite) and Chipping Norton.
Other days out included Hidcote Gardens (my mother is a talented gardener), Batsworth Arboretum (a treat for our dog), Bourton on the Water (regrettably, a bit touristy) and Lower Slaughter which was stunning. Further afield we stumbled across Jepson Gardens in Leamington Spa to catch up with an old friend and enjoyed a lovely day – and finally we ventured to Oxford where the architecture left me breathless.
I would recommend the Cotswolds for anyone who loves things which are quintessentially English with the touch of a bygone era; it is a place filled with beauty from the avenues of rolling countryside to its blissfully quiet villages and embraces everything I adore in England (with plenty of teashops to enjoy a cream tea, many of which are dog friendly.)