A Day in the Cotswold the heart of England

Yes, you read well I wrote a day. I know the Cotswold deserve a much longer visit, a weekend or three days. So here I’m writing for you driving down from dropping or visiting your son/daughter at uni up in the North and going down to London. How does that sound? So how did it work out for us?

We did exactly that, dropping son number one in Sheffield, visiting son number two in Manchester, visiting son number three in Nottingham. On the route driving back to London, the Cotswold were the perfect picturesque stop. We arrived pretty late at Stow-on-the-Wold to stay at a boutique hotel, and go out for dinner, this was the first village we’d visited.

Stow on the Wold

It was dark and raining, so I didn’t see much, but the first impression through the car windows was good because I loved the lights and rain reflection on the pavement with the limestone house walls in the background it felt like stepping into a TV series of some sort. I chose this village among others by reading many recommendations about the best village in The Cotswold. I was not disappointed that Stow on the Wold is so cute. Apparently, it’s also one of the highest villages. When we arrived, we just had time to drop off the luggage at the Kings Arms Hotel (Kings Charles I stayed there in 1645!) and for dinner at the Old Stock Inn. We could have stayed at the hotel for dinner, but they stopped serving dinner after 9pm, so the choice was pretty limited. The Old Stock Inn was a great choice indeed. I loved the cosy atmosphere in the dining room and the feel of being in someone’s dining room rather than a restaurant. The Old Stock inn is an old coaching inn next to the medieval stocks hence its name. The decor is very cosy and Scandinavian inspired with velvet sofas, and light coloured painted walls. They also have a boutique hotel where you can stay. The dinner choice was great, even gluten and dairy-free (yep, that’s me), with a wine list offering English wines.

We had breakfast at the hotel the next day, where they served a generous amount of eggs and smoked salmon before we headed for a tour of the village during the daytime. Then, we started off walking back towards the Village Green and the Medieval Church St Edwards with a Yew Tree entrance, one of the most photographed spots. But there’s more to feed your camera with, walk to the market square that used to host markets since 1107 and look out for the high walled alleys ways known as “Tures”, which would let a flock of sheep through being sold on the market. Today, the market mainly hosts antiques, gift shops, and cosy cafés.

After you had a good browse through, head towards Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter.

Upper and Lower Slaughter

Both villages are on the river Rye. You can easily walk from Stow to Lower and Upper Slaughter through the fields. Suppose you’re curious about the name, nothing to do with slaughterhouse. In that case, their name comes from the Old English word “slothre” meaning muddy or murky place.

Lower Slaughter

Start off at the St Mary’s Church, dating back from the 13th century and restored in 1867. The church is a typical medieval building with stonework. Step inside to admire the colourful stained windows.

The Old Mill is another distinctive building. You can’t miss the red bricks chimney shouting through the villages houses roof. The mill was used to grind flour until 1958. It is now a museum where you learn about the millwork and traditional bread making.

Lower Slaughter is linked to Upper Slaughter by a one-mile path through the fields, about 30 minutes. Don’t miss it as it’s a real postcard of an English Village. The dominating building is Gabled Manor House transformed into a hotel.

We continued our journey, hoping to visit Bourton-on-the-Water. I guess everyone had the same idea. However, it was so crowded that we gave up. To be honest, I don’t like my photographs with a big crowd on them. So I have decided to go back during a quieter time or get up super early to have a chance to photograph the “Venise of the Cotswold’. With a name like that I now understand why it was so crowded even out of the school holiday period. So get prepared as this seems to be the number one village to visit in Cotswold.

The Cotswold has a lot to offer with beautiful walks, boutique hotels, and delicious food with English wine. Even if you’ve only got one day to stay, it is well worth the trip. Among Stow-on-the-Wold, Burton-on-the-Water, Upper and Lower Slaughter, is there a place where you would prefer to stay? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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