When I was twelve, one of my friends from middle school sent me a postcard from the Cotswolds, England while on a family holiday. I still have it, in my postcard collection tin box; the image of golden stone cottages and the flowery country paths sticking with me over the years. When my mother and sister decided to come visit me in London over the Easter holiday, we knew we had to leave the bustle of the city and explore the small golden towns of Gloucestershire.
What I originally had thought were just a few towns scattered close to one another, were actually a large number of small to mid-sized towns spread throughout Gloucestershire and the Cirencester area. It isn’t an easy area to reach by public transportation, actually downright impossible for a short time span, so I followed internet traveler’s advice and decided to rent a car. I was nervous beginning my backwards driving adventure in the middle of Central London, but it was a surprisingly easy drive which involved staying put on one large motorway for most of the hour and a half journey.
We began our tour in Bibury, which William Morris once described as ‘the most beautiful village in England’, and coincidentally for me was the picture perfect postcard I had received from my middle school friend years before. Of course in the traditional English fashion, the entire day was damp and rainy. But it didn’t detract from the stunning row of houses known as Arlington Row; Bibury’s claim to fame and most photographed site.
Our next stop was the town of Lower Slaughter, a small village known as part of ‘the Slaughters’ (the town of Upper Slaughter was a quick twenty minute walk away). I had read about the tea room in the town mill, but unfortunately was closed by the time we had arrived. (next four photos) So we made our way to the nearby town of Bourton-on-the-Water, the most popular town in the Cotswolds. The weather did put a damper on any excitement I may have had about strolling through the town, but we were able to have a lovely cream tea at a little cafe called Bakery on the Water and watch the baby ducklings swim in the canal.
The next town on our day trip was Stow-on-the-Wold, which I will admit I chose to visit purely for nerdy reasons. The author of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, spent considerable time in the Gloucester area. The large church doors in the town centre (surprisingly difficult to find the entrance to while driving) flanked by two swirling trees, were apparently the inspiration for the Mines of Moria in The Fellowship of the Ring. Needless to say, my inner geek was very happy.
After a long day of driving and walking, we settled down for our evening at the Inn for all Seasons, near the village of Buford. The inn was charming and rustic, and the staff were lovely. We decided to have dinner at the inn’s restaurant and pub, and everything was superb. I washed down my turkey pie with a pint of ale and called it a day, and a lovely day at that.
Inn for all Seasons
Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4TN
For more on Morgan’s travels follow her on Instagram at @mrgnldn