There is something about the Cotswolds, something almost tranquil. Perhaps it is because it hasn’t moved with the times. It is so traditional and old it feels almost serene and peaceful. The surrounding greenery helps with that too. I am not sure exactly what it is about the Cotswolds but there is something special about it. It is like you are going to a private retreat somewhere or a hidden village in a different country. The requirement for buildings, old or new to use Cotswold stone, the thatched roofs and listed building all work toward keeping its character and unique feel. It is traditional England at its finest and it is so far removed from the urbanised towns and cities I grew up in. I love a big city don’t get me wrong but I also love the secluded feel of the Cotswolds steeped in so much history.
I also love the fact Nanny and Grandad are spending two weeks of their six (yes six-week!) holiday there and thus providing us with the perfect opportunity to up sticks for the night and visit our
babysitters dearest family.
So one Sunday morning Mr Tammy and I loaded the kiddies into their oversized car seats packed the boot, to the brim, even for one night, and embarked on a 90 minute drive to visit the beautiful town of Burford nestled in the Cotswolds.
If you’re after lots of fine wining and dining or a variety of quaint shops this may not be your place. Well the high street, which is set on a bloody great hill, is very typical of the Cotswolds in appearance and retail/dining offerings, it is just small. The eateries are mostly old pubs that look fantastic from the outside and uphold their historical exterior inside. You will also find a handful of independent sweet shops and interior design retailers on this street and of course a Joules, along with a lots of American and Japanese tourists, all pretty typical of the Cotswolds. We were speaking to family from Connecticut at the weekend during our visit. They were on a tour of the Cotswolds and find it just fascinating as it is so beautiful and historical in ways they have never seen before. It is no surprise it is such a tourist hotspot, some of the buildings date back to the Tudor times after all.
If splurging on fine wine and food is what you are after then might I suggest Broadway as your Cotswolds pit stop, in particular The Lygon Arms. Mr Tammy and I spent a glorious boiling summers day and night there before the children and we are itching to go back, without the children. Burton on the Water is another beautiful Cotswolds town that is a little more family friendly, with a bit more to offer in the way of shops and restaurants, but if the shops and parks, grounds and plenty of dining variety is what you are after then Cirencester is certainly the one for you.
However on this occasion Burford suited us just perfectly. As I said we were there for 24 hours to ruin the peace and quiet of the Grandparent’s holiday. In fairness, it was at their request as they ‘missed’ the children. So in order to ensure they maximised their quality time, we left them to it. We pulled up at our Travel lodge, yep, chucked Nanny and Grandad the kiddies and the key’s to the car and trundled down Burford high street, alone. The small street was perfect for us to feel as though we hadn’t spent the entire afternoon in the pub. We had a good look round, bought the children some overpriced hand-made chocolate mice, along with cakes and biscuits for the Grandparents, had Sunday dinner and took in all the beautiful sights the half a mile hill had to offer. Perfect. Crowds of people were heading down a conveniently name street, ‘church street’, presumably to a church, no doubt a very old and very beautiful one at that. We opted not to follow suit….
Erm, to the pub then?
And there we sat, myself and my better (?) half for the best part of 3 hours, in silence, drinking wine and reading our respective ‘literature’. It was heavenly. I cannot tell you the last time we did that. Uninterrupted selfish me time. Ok Mr Tammy was considerably interrupted by my incessant, ‘oh look at this kitchen’ ‘oh I like that flooring’ ‘ooooh I love this’ but other than that I am sure he had a fantastic time.
Anywho after our afternoon of self indulgence we thought we had better rescue the grandparents from the ‘busy’ nature of our toddlers and headed back to their touring caravan – yep that’s why we stayed in the Travelodge, I don’t do camping. That and not a chance would Nanny let my two destroyers loose in her van.
The babies had a whale of time running around in the field, pushing their toy prams, trying to break into the caravan, they were particularly impressed with their own little camp chairs and Mr Tammy and I felt somewhat rejuvenated, if not a little tipsy after our few hours of solitude. I am not to sure I could say the same for Nanny and Grandad but we were soon to leave them to their blissful silence so the four of us could spend the night in one room. All the fun.
Those of you who have ever shared a room with the small ones will know, they are some noisy sleepers. We managed to cram the boys travel cot into the bathroom, lucky thing, leaving us with just the girl on a put up bed. After such a day sleep was the last thing on her mind and she pissed about until 10pm under the bed rather than on it. Miraculously it took one order from Daddy to ‘go to sleep’ and she was asleep, in seconds, literally. Guess we know who will be doing bed time from now on.
It was a pretty painful night, turns out my two-year old snores, a lot and I am too old to drink that unnecessary last G&T as I don’t think I slept more than 45 minutes at any one point. The girl was also up at the wonderful hour of 6.30am and trying to keep her quiet so everyone else could do something that resembled sleep was fun in itself.
Other than that, the last 12 of the 24 hours, it was a bloody lovely 24 hours in the Cotswolds. Once again the place did not disappoint and I look forward to my next visit.