Last weekend we were in one of my favourite English countryside locations… The Cotswolds.
We are quite fortunate as it is just an hour or two drive from our house, depending on which part of the Cotswolds we visit, but it is truly like entering a different world of quintessential sandstone homes and beautiful landscapes.
In fact, it was the Cotswolds where my husband and I went for our first weekend away many years ago as we had started dating.
The biggest challenge around the restrictions we are facing, and maintaining social distancing is trying to avoid crowds. As much I want to get back to normality, COVID-19 cases are again on the rise, and I’m not willing to put myself or my family at risk.
Some of the small market towns in the Cotswolds are normally incredibly busy, lots of people flocking to the boutique shops, enjoying cream teas and browsing the street markets.
We stopped in at Moreton-in-Marsh and it was VERY quiet. The Saturday we were there, the markets were alive in the street and the there was a small fun fair. There were people about don’t get me wrong, but there was no jostling around people, and the rides were all but bare. In fact, I feel heavily for the stall holders and ride owners as they are clearly being hit hard as tourism has dropped significantly this year.
We also went back to a favourite spot of ours, Broadway Tower. The walk around the tower is picturesque and you come across many farm animals (cows, sheep, etc) and even the roaming deer. Booking is essential as they are limiting numbers, and masks need to be worn to climb the tower. It’s worth it though as you reach the top and you can just take in the views of the Cotswolds from all angles. Also, if you’re interested, as you climb the tower there are three floors offering a long and interesting history about the tower and even the onsite nuclear bunker.
Another lovely stopping point is the Batsford Aboretum. For a small entry fee you can spend hours here following the paths around the beautifully crafted gardens, having a picnic lunch in the open air, and simply taking in the different flora and fauna (almost 3000 labelled specimens exist around these vast gardens). My son enjoyed scooting up and down the pathways, and again the Aboretum is controlling numbers so crowding is not an issue.
More and more I’m looking for opportunities to explore England right now. Stay-cations are the in-thing, and certainly we need to do what we can to boost our local communities and small business owners and the economy in general. All whilst ensuring we remain safe and healthy.