Photography by Rosie Daykin
Paul and I spent a beautiful week in the Cotswolds, a range of hills and ancient villages in the English countryside. Through the power of Instagram, I had become fixated on the idyllic images of pastoral rolling hills dotted with sheep, thatched roofs, cobblestones and abundance of climbing roses, I could hear it calling my name! Sometimes you wonder about the things you see on social media and how accurate a depiction it really is, but I can assure you…it was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
We rented a little cottage at the Daylesford farm where we set off from every day to hike the hills and forests, lunch in old pubs and visit wee towns built from honey coloured stone. Our cottage, The Apple Store was perfectly equipped with everything we could have needed for the week, including an AGA cooker. I’d always been curious about cooking on one of these stoves which made my time in the kitchen even more fun! The Daylesford property is a working farm that produces much of the fruit, vegetables and dairy that they use on property and in their cafes in London. Fifty feet from our front door was an organic grocery store, wine shop, restaurant, floral shop, spa and an amazing housewares store chalked full of fantastic finds. It’s shocking we ever left the grounds!
”Sheep…so many sheep!
Everywhere I turned…more sheep!
And I still could not get enough of the sheep!
I could have spent the entire
week just photographing sheep.
The Cotswold Way National Trail is a walking trail that runs along the length of the Cotswolds, starting North in Chipping Campden, and finishing South at the front of Bath Abbey. The trail is 102 miles long and winds through many picturesque villages, such as Snowshill, Cranham & Painswick. You can choose to walk the entire trail — 6 to 10 days — or pick a section each day, as we did. Renting a car was critical to the whole experience, although driving on the opposite side of the road is definitely not for the faint of heart…on more than one occasion, I was convinced I would be buried in the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds are famous for their gardens and castles. We chose to see the historical Blenheim Palace, a monstrous affair filled with a lot of tourists with selfie sticks. We preferred to walk in the quiet of the Formal Gardens avoiding the crowds. We also visited Sudeley Castle which had equally lovely gardens.
On another day we decided to hike up the hill to see the Broadway Tower which sits on the second highest point in the Cotswolds at 1024 feet above sea level. The trek up by most hikers standards isnt really that challenging (when a 6-year-old in sandals runs by you its a pretty clear indicator of the level of difficulty) but the surrounding views once there are worthwhile.
Thatched roofs, climbing roses and sandy coloured stone pretty much define the Cotswolds. I left for home inspired and determined to plant more roses. I’m a lousy gardener so that life goal has yet to come to fruition but I havent given up hope yet!
If you are really lucky Giffords Circus will roll in to town during your stay. Giffords is a magical, musical village-green circus that tours England throughout the summer. It is an innocent, pure wonderland that allows you to visit your childhood all over again. The whole experience left a smile on my face for days to follow.
A must stop for a delicious farm to table meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Located in the tiny town of Kingham which is a short walk from Daylesford farm.
Just down the road from The Wild Rabbit, eating here will redefine everything you thought you knew about pub food. Ask for the thrice baked french fries…trust me.
If in search of more traditional pub fare eat here. The fish and chips with mushy peas were fantastic as was the 17th-century stone building it is located in.
If you are in need of a shopping fix head to Stow on the Wold and search out Cutter Brooks. Amanda Brooks, the shop owner, has done an amazing job curating the most tasteful selection of housewares, clothing, textiles and antiques.
Tucked away in the little town of Somerset you will find this world class modern gallery and arts centre. The grounds themselves are equally impressive, designed by internationally renowned landscape architect, Piet Oudolf with a changing program of outdoor sculpture.
If you have the time, I highly recommend you make the drive to Bath to visit this museum. Being a bath lover myself I found it especially fascinating and worthwhile.