Views for days in the Cotswolds

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A few weeks ago we were supposed to be jetting off to Italy to spend a long weekend eating carbs, looking at architecture, eating carbs, sauntering around with ice creams, eating carbs, drinking Aperol and eating carbs. We didn’t make it to Italy. We didn’t make it anywhere near Italy – however we did have some carbs, so not all was lost.

The theme of ‘very stressful’ that early 2017 took on continued and we couldn’t leave the country as we were so close to completing on our flat. So instead of pizza feasting, we loaded up our car and drove to the Cotswolds. I’ve always wanted to go to this little part of England with it’s ancient cottages and beautiful little streets but it never surfaced to the top of the travel list until we needed a two hour-ish drive, countryside, nice views and fresh air on tap with very little notice. Praise the Gods of Airbnb.


Out of all of the UK staycations and long weekends I’ve been on, this was the most serene. I was worried it would be a bit busy (and a couple of the bigger tourist destinations were) but it was peaceful to the point of feeling like you were on another planet. The sun shone for three days, there were lambs everywhere, flowers growing in every space available and we walked for miles without seeing more than a couple of people. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you want a quick, easy escape in the south of the country. It’s also a photography dream. Note though, you need a car!

If you go you must visit:

Cerney House Gardens – One of the most peaceful places I have ever been and a hidden gem. Our Airbnb owners directed us here, and we arrived to no noise but birds, gardens brimming with every kind of flower imaginable, blossom everywhere, shady woods to walk through and a kitchen full of brownies and tea.

Upper and Lower Slaughter – These two villages are about a 25 minute walk apart through winding country lanes and are easily the prettiest places I’ve been to in England. The houses are like something from a classic fairytale, there’s a river running through surrounded by flowers and full of ducks, there are blossom trees, brightly painted doors, little bridges and the tiniest of cafes and cake shops dotted about.

Bibury -This is where you’ll see the classic Cotswolds postcard row of cottages. in the middle photo at the top. It’s impossibly cute here, and though it was full of tourists when we went (22 degrees heat in April will do that to a place) it’s a sort of must visit.

Calmsden – You likely won’t see Calmsden coming up on any lists of must-see places in the Cotswolds, but we stayed near here and it’s stunning. It was deserted, surrounded by fields of flowers, crops and farm animals and had the prettiest little houses imaginable. You can also stroll through here to The Bathhurst Arms, a pastel pink pub sat by a little river and eat chips, which is pretty much Sunday perfection.

Bourton-on-the-Water – Also known as Little Venice in this part of the world. For all your cafe, tea rooms, ice cream, river front, Instagram and Sunday roast needs. This is a little village surrounded by rivers and bridges, and famous for having a model village that has a model village (I know). As gorgeous as it was here, the hot weather brought out pretty much every person in the region so it was very busy, but still worth a little visit just to enjoy the views.

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4 places bloggers have made me want to visit next year

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Penzance, Cornwall

I read this post yesterday on the train and then got home and googled cottages in the area, because obviously. Aftab’s photos are gorgeous (as ever) and it looks idyllic. The accommodation in this post looks heavenly and I am eternally jealous. Even the food looks picture perfect. I’ve been to Cornwall before but not for about five years now, so it seems a good time to go back.

Ill De Re, France

I looked at this about three times on Monday and then text Hannah to just confirm how much I wanted to go. She says three days is perfect, so a long weekend sounds about right. I had never heard of this little place, but after a quick google search it’s firmly on my list for next year. Plus, as the post says, flights are so cheap.

Yorkshire staycation

Me and my boyfriend have been talking about visiting this part of the country for ages now, and I remembered seeing this on Sophie’s blog back in the summer so had another little nose at it yesterday. The countryside and the coast look exactly how I imagine postcard England to look, complete with bunting. Air BnB have some really lush looking places listed for Yorkshire too, just FYI.

Slovenia

Another place I have been to  but really want to go back to. I ended up in Slovenia for about seven hours a couple of years ago on my way to Croatia, after the French went on air strike and I had to go a different route to get to a music festival. Standard Lauren travel nightmare. The countryside and the lakes look like something from fairy tales and even driving through it was enough to confirm I needed to return one day. I have a #travelblog filter set up on TweetDeck which led me to Charlotte’s blog and this feature with loads of lovely photos.

 

 

Why you should book a winter staycation in the UK… Like right now 

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It’s cold outside. It’s late October. It’s dark before 6pm. Let’s call it winter.

What do you want to do? Go away? Have a holiday? Not be at work? CORRECT.

I’m as much into sun, beaches, pool side cocktails and all that other holiday jazz as the next person, but there’s more to travel than getting tanned and being miles away from home as I have discovered in the past couple of years.

Not so long ago I would have told you where to go if you suggested a staycation to me… I probably would have put you directly in the sea if you further suggested I do it in winter. HOWEVER, it turns out jetting off to tropical climates and beach resorts isn’t the be all and end all. There are actually other ways to holiday.

Who knew?

We have a lot going on in this United Kingdom of ours, and we should learn to ignore it less. I have friends who have always sung the praises of choosing to travel around the UK rather than further afield and while I’ll never stop globe trotting, I can finally see their point. The UK is bloody glorious. It’s got everything you could want in stunning views, pub experiences, sporting activities, cottage stays, camping locations, amazing roads to drive, cities to tour and sunsets to Instagram the hell out of. Or just look at. That works too.

We’ve also got heritage sights on top of heritage sights, the National Trust, a shed load of history and every sort of landscape you imagine.

If you want some winter sun I have some good recommendations, but how about staying here, doing it for a good price and being all blown away and amazed and refreshed? Very good. You absolutely should.

Since the rise of air B&B, the staycation has become a lot more enticing. You can check into cosy cottages or big, magazine worthy homes in idyllic locations for amazing prices. The more of you that are in on the trip, the better the price will be.

These sorts of trips have provided me with the most amazing views, sunsets, pub lunches, relaxing weekends and actually, been really educational without being a total bore. It’s nice to see more and know more about the country you live in. We don’t do it enough here, and that’s probably a lot down to lack of suitable beach days, which is why you may as well do it in winter.

Prices are likely to be lower, you can drink endless cups of tea, light fires, lay around under blankets, go in search of snow, prance around in your thermals on mountains and you can get there in your mates car and split the cost of petrol.

I’m never going to put a dampener on anyone’s enthusiasm to jet off to sun. NEVER. In fact I would like you to take me with you, but if you are looking to get away this winter, try staying here. It can work out rather beautifully.


  

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