Scouting England: Bath and the Cotswolds

The mill in Upper Slaughter
The mill in Upper Slaughter

The Cotwolds are a range of hills northeast of Bath home to numerous small, quintessentially English villages. Towns with charming names like Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-on-Marsh and Bourton-on-the-Water dot the map, enticing tourists from around the world (and especially Japan, apparently) to take in its cozy streets, precious thatch roof cottages and abundance of sheep. Had we had more time in the area (and we certainly wanted it), we would’ve put on our hiking shoes and tried to tackle more of the Cotswold Way, a 102-mile route that makes its way through the countryside — be it on public or private lands. At the very least, you’ll see small signs for it as you drive amongst the various villages.

It may be a tad touristy, but there's a reason Bourton-on-the-Water got that way -- it's delightful.
It may be a tad touristy, but there’s a reason Bourton-on-the-Water got that way — it’s delightful.

The busiest village in the Cotswolds is Bourton-on-the -Water and we’re not surprised. The duck-filled creek traversed by foot bridges is lined with shops, tea rooms and a motor museum (my husband appreciated that one). We wish we would’ve spent more time here, sitting on a bench and enjoying the bucolic atmosphere. Make sure to get there early, however, as it tends to fill up later in the day as bus groups filter in.

Just one of the many houses in the Cotswolds that look removed from a painting. They made us consider a change of address. This one is in Upper Slaughter.
Just one of the many houses in the Cotswolds that look removed from a painting. They made us consider a change of address. This one is in Upper Slaughter.
We drank an inordinate amount of tea in England, my Canadian husband feeling right at home. The Lygon Arms in Broadway. This large inn dates back to the 16th century and is a popular location for weddings. We enjoyed our tea in one of the many small rooms you can stake your claim during the day.
We drank an inordinate amount of tea in England, with one of our favorite spots being The Lygon Arms in Broadway. This large inn dates back to the 16th century and is a popular location for weddings. We enjoyed our tea in one of the many small rooms you can stake your claim during the day.
Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Wold
The town of Stow-on-the-Wold is still quaint, but all the cars ruin some of the ambiance. Moreton-on-Marsh was similar.
The Bridge Tea Rooms and Restaurant in Bourton-on-the-Water. Note the bent-back gables, oddly angled windows and extremely short door. Not the soundest architectural project in history, but hey, it's still standing.
The Bridge Tea Rooms and Restaurant in Bourton-on-the-Water. Note the bent-back gables, oddly angled windows and extremely short door. Not the soundest architectural project in history, but hey, it’s still standing.

Though not in the Cotwalds, the town of Bourton-on-the-Water is similar in its appeal and was one of our favorite stops. It’s located south of the Cotswalds and east of Bath near our hotel in Box. We loved walking up its hilly alley ways and out into the surrounding countryside.

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