A Day Out in the Cotswolds
Cotswolds, oh Cotswolds – you are such a sweet gem. And I am not only saying this because of the sweetest scones I have ever tasted.
Actually, they were also my first scones (how did I not know this existed?), but it was addiction at first taste. Also, why is it that we only have savory/salty “scones” here?? I love those too, but ahh, just the thought of having some English scones with that oh so wonderful clotted cream (another thing we do not have) makes my mouth water.
One day was definitely not enough, but it was all I have (this time), so I tried to make the most of it. Especially, because the 2-hour train ride from London was almost the double of what I paid for my flight. And it rained pretty much the whole time…. (so that long walked I planned never happened). Yeah, but nothing could have stopped me. Once there, I jumped on the bus and explored as much as I could. And next year, I will be back. Just maybe a bit earlier so I can see more fall colours.
And, in case you are interested, while there are some amazing sounding tours (like the Secret Cottage Cotswolds Tour) doing Cotswolds on your own it totally achievable. Even in one day.
I bought my Super Off-Peak Return ticket (£38.90) on the National Railway site about a week in advance and I definitely recommend doing this. Even during off season, the train looked pretty fully booked. And their journey planner will let you submit your seating preferences (backwards, forwards, aisle, window), which is pretty cool.
Then you can just go to Paddington and collect your ticket from their ticket machine (you will need the card you booked with and your reservation number).
When going to the Cotswolds by train, the most convenient is to get off at Moreton-in-Marsh and from there explore by bus (and/or on foot). There is nothing much (compared to the other villages) in Moreton, but you can take a Pulhams’ bus (number 801) to Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. And, can I just say, I love these names! You can obviously choose other routes,villages, but with only one day at my disposal, I found this route the most rewarding.
The bus station is right next to the train station (in the parking lot) so you will not have any problem finding it but what is very, very important is that you print out the timetable and plan your journey beforehand. These buses run a bit sparsely. (I do not recommend going on a Sunday for example. I went on Saturday and, except the rain, that worked out pretty well for me.)
From Moreton-in-Marsh, I went to Bourton-on-the-Water first (was about 20 minutes and it costed about £2) and I just swooned at first
bite sight (and I cannot blame it on the wind). It was just gorgeous. Like something out of a very old, very English tale. The model village and The Chestnut Tree (and their cute little scones), despite being the smallest, were hands down the biggest hits. And the bridges… and… just look at all this beauty.