I have been dying to explore the Cotswolds since well, forever really. Recently, I counted the number of trips I've made to France in the last 7 years. 15. Yes, 15 trips and I haven't even ventured out to the Cotswolds where the nearest village to me was a mere 1.5 hours away. Shame on me.
Since school's out and Lil L has been pestering me for a mom and daughter date, I jumped on the idea of an impromptu road trip. When I say last minute, I mean really really really laaaaaaaast minute. I emailed a host on AirBnB just before midnight, received a reply immediately (good man. He sleeps late and has a gadget attached to his fingers at all times), picked up our little rental car the next morning and we were off on our mini Cotswolds adventure.
We drove along the winding country lanes with Lil L oohing and aahing at the sight of rolling hills, sheep and whatnot. Autumn is probably the best season to explore the Cotswolds. The countryside is spectacularly awash with ombré leaves.
We arrived at Bibury, also known as one of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds just in time for lunch. It was probably a bad idea to have a picnic by the river because we were hounded by fearless mallards who wanted a bite of our sandwiches. Dudes....don't you realize you're part of the food chain too??
If you have a British passport, perhaps you may recognize the row of stone houses above. Arlington Row has become rather famous, so to speak, that hordes of tourists hover outside to take numerous photos and selfies. Interestingly enough, the compact yellow car belonging to one of the residents there - an elderly retired dentist, has been a source of discontent amongst many tourists for photobombing an otherwise perfect photo opportunity. It was all over the papers a year or so ago. Oh well. You can airbrush wrinkles and create thigh gaps at a click of a button so it can't be too hard to erase a yellow car. Just sayin'.
Originally built as a monastic wool store in the 14th century, it was converted into weavers' cottages three hundred years later for workers at the mill nearby. The mill is only a short walk away from Arlington Row, located opposite the charming vine covered Swan Hotel (first photo at the top of the page) along the river Coln where native brown trouts can be seen swimming in the clear waters.
We ambled down the narrow lanes to ogle at some very quaint and rustic houses with their colorful doors. It's a tranquil and picturesque little village set in the idyllic English countryside. We stumbled upon St Mary's church, slightly off the beaten path from the well trodden Arlington Row. It dates back to Saxon period which makes it more than a thousand years old. *gasp*
There was a wedding on (we seem to hit a wedding each time we visit a Cotswolds village) so we gave a quick peek through the gates and hurried back to our little car. I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly the local folks are. Quick to smile a hello even when they're going about their daily tasks despite the fact that they get swarms of tourists nearly everyday. This rarely happens in Winchester. It's normally....eyes forward, keep your stride steady......
Next up, Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-water (whew. What a mouthful!)
More on the Cotswolds here (Castle Combe) and here (Lacock).