Ever remember that moment in Bridget Jones when the snow is falling and Bridget is on her way to her Mum’s at Christmas, the camera pans out and reveals a really cute snowy village? Or in The Holiday when Cameron Diaz wants to get away from her American life and decides to visit England, and then stays in a cute cottage in a very small village. WELL – this is where my love of the Cotswolds first came from. I have wanted to visit the Cotswolds ever since these movies.
I am a sucker for cottages, cobbled streets and cute little shops and cafes. Really, who wouldn’t love that?
I remember browsing through google images and thinking I HAVE to visit this place. PLEASE can we go! Thom kept saying it’s too far away! But I think after Scotland and other road trips, we realised it wasn’t that far.
Planning the Cotswolds
We always go away for each other’s birthdays and we were going to do the Cotswolds for mine but instead we went to Cyprus as we fancied some sun. Then Thom suggested for his birthday we could do the Cotswolds- well I was SO excited, really it felt like my birthday treat (ha sorry not sorry Thom).
As I’ve mentioned before, Thom loves a good plan and wherever we go there’s a Lonely Planet pocket guide and a detailed itinerary. Well this time I had to get involved with the planning, and by planning I just googled ‘best things to do in the Cotswolds’ or googled Cotswolds pointed to a photo and said ‘I wanna go here’! So we had a plan and even looked at places to eat and also child friendly activities.
I’m always in charge of the accommodation, after I did a sterling job with the air bnb’s in Scotland and now it’s kind of become my responsibility.
So we stayed here; https://abnb.me/ayrY5bUlY0 FYI if you decide to book here make sure you say I recommended – thanks! The location was 2 mins from Bourton on the Water which is pretty central to everything else and the furthest we had to go was 30 mins, which was ideal.
The pictures don’t even do it justice, seriously. It was gorgeous! The lady who owns it- Sarah basically lives in a vast farm house and has basically shut off one side on her house- which is ‘The Cottage’. All I could think was.. she must be laughing- in the summer she uses her land as a camp site and all year round rents out one side of her house.
After all the excitement of looking around the house we unloaded and sorted Adeline’s dinner out. Adeline is so adaptable, I don’t know if it’s in her nature or we have nurtured her that way, but every time we go away she just settles straight away. I always make sure she has her toys and other things from home so maybe that helps! She even sleeps well, which is always a surprise as it’s a new place and a different bed! I don’t even sleep well if I’m away from home! So whilst I’m sorting Adeline’s dinner out and toys, Thom is unloading the car and then sitting down to look through the mountain of tourist leaflets and of course the folder that the host leaves you.
I love going away but I have started to loath packing the car. We only have a bmw 1 series and trust me the buggy takes up the boot! Then you have the rest; baby case, our case, toys, travel cot, travel bath, coats, boots and in this case food as well as we were in an air bnb! We are becoming quite the pro’s though at seeing how much stuff we can fit into the car.
What we got up to!
We both realised that it’s the first time since Scotland (which was when Adeline was only 5-6 months old) that we have been away just the 3 of us, so it was very exciting. It was just what we needed, the Cotswolds 100% lived up to my expectations. So many beautiful places and we didn’t even get to see all of them- next time!
For those of you wanting to visit the Cotswolds this is what we did!
Day 1: Upper and Lower Slaughters, Bourton on the Water, Cotswolds Farm Park and lastly Dalesford Organic Farm shop!
Probably my favourite day. Upper & Lower Slaughters was just the prettiest of villages. A river runs down the middle of it with beautiful cottages either side. See photos for proof taken by me! Gorgeous right?
One of the key benefits of having a toddler is that you’re up and about nice and early – we were wondering around well before 9am and we had the whole place to ourselves!!
Bourton on the Water was another gem, we spent hours here! So many shops, cafes and the model village of course. 100% worth a visit.
We then ventured over to the Cotswolds Farm Park which was actually amazing. It’s free for under 3’s and £12 per adult. I would say that’s good going. There’s a great cafe, two amazing gift shops and a toy shop also. Then the farm itself. We knew Adeline would love it here! Unfortunately when we turned up after spending so long in the cafe and shops the heavens then opened (and I mean torrential rain!) so we didn’t get to explore outside much. Luckily they have animals inside in two different barns and an amazing indoor area with a Sandpit , slide and then little tractor!
To end our busy day we then drove over to Dalesford Organic Farm Shop to pick up dinner. What a place, I think it’s where all the locals go and collect their fresh produce. Everything from cheese, wine, meat, fresh pasta and veg. They even have a spa, juice bar, cafe and a restaurant. If you so wish you can also book onto a cooking class.
Day 2: Arlington Row in Bidbury, Burford and Broadway
Here comes my part about ‘tourists spoiling the scenery’. Arlington Row.. Google it now.. stunning right? Well we got there at 8.30am (prompt toddler schedule as mentioned earlier!) and 3 coaches also pulled up! I bloody ran as fast as I could (which isn’t very fast after having a baby plus there’s also the balance of avoiding peeing yourself – post pregnancy issues if you know you know). I didn’t make it. I was secretly seething as they all literally stood there taking what I can only imagine as awful photos via their phones and iPads (who the chuff takes photos with an iPad?!). I waited it out though and got the money shot.. see below.. gorgeous little village and worth a visit!
We then went over to Burford which is where I went to the best bakery I’ve ever stepped in and ate the best raspberry eclair that I’m still thinking about now. Literally when I think about it my mouth salivates. God why didn’t I bring any back?! I bought a bloody tote bag but no eclair- what an idiot! So apart from the delicious bakery which was called ‘Huffkins Bakery’ there are also so many cute little shops and cafes and book shops (one of which sold both hats and books – a combination I’ve never seen before but enjoyed greatly). We loved it. See below for the mouth watering eclair!
And then Broadway was a nice surprise, we weren’t going to go and it was probably one of my favs. I know I keep saying gorgeous cottages, beautiful shops, little cafes, but it’s literally what the Cotswolds is like! It’s just so pretty everywhere! They all have something different and special about them all. This one was really buzzing with lots of deli’s, pubs and tea rooms! We actually had fish and chips here and went to the park- which Adeline loved!
Day 3: Chipping Camden
This was our last day and we wanted to be on the road by the time Adeline’s nap was due (prompt toddler schedule again) so it was just a fleeting visit. It was a very small market town which was lovely but not the best we have seen. It didn’t help that it was a Sunday so every shop was shut, but there wasn’t much going on anyway and I’d say it was a good place to go for a nice coffee then set off back home.
Sorry if this is an extremely boring blog. But perhaps you are planning to go to the Cotswolds and so it has helped you decide where to go! I highly recommend going at this time of year as well, I can imagine in the summer it’s heaving! We had sunny but cold days which was actually perfect.
So to summarise I have listed the places we went to and I will also list the places which we didn’t get time to visit, but will be on our to do list the next time we visit this beautiful part of the country.
- Upper and Lower Slaughters
- Bourton on the water
- Cotswolds Farm Park
- Dalesford Organic Farm shop
- Arlington row in Bidbury
- Chipping Camden
To do next time
- Stow on the Wold- we drove through so many times it looks gorgeous but never had the chance to stop.
- Afternoon tea at Tisanes Tea Room in Broadway
Love the Bones
#familyholidays #travel #cotswolds #travelblog