Sunshine is a scarcity in the United Kingdom, even during Summer. Therefore, if a sunny day arrives, it appears the entire capital either spends the day in the park, or in one of the rural regions nearby. On a hot summer day, we ventured two hours west of London, to The Cotswold, known for its rolling hills and yellow limestone houses.
The most famous picture-spot in The Cotswold is at Arlington Row, in the small town of Bibury. In fact, this line of 14th century cottages is the most photographed street in all of the United Kingdom. Some of the cottages are still inhabited, while others serve as a hotel or, in typical British fashion, a teahouse.
Other than Arlington Row, all houses in Bibury are built with the same yellow limestone. As The Cotswold is a particular green area, the landscape is dominated by grass fields, rivers, and small streams. In summer, it is a delight to drive through the region.
A bit further north you can find Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the busiest places in The Cotswold. Parking in the town is hard, but luckily there is a large parking lot within walking distance of the town center. Walking towards the town center, it becomes clear why Bourton-on-the-Water dubbed itself the Venice of The Cotswold: a shallow river runs parallel to the footpath, with plenty of children and dogs taking a refreshing dip in the water.
The town center is like you would expect: extremely touristy. It is almost impossible to escape the ice cream vendors, or the traditional fish and chips. There is plenty of space to sit in the grass, or on the edge of the water.
Our last stop was at Broadway, a small village at the northern end of The Cotswold. It sees fewer tourists, but the Broadway Tower, or High Street lined with stores selling arts and crafts is definitely worth a visit. If you visit at the right time of day, you might even catch the Morris Dance: an English folk dance dating back to the 15th century.
If you have more than a couple of hours to spend, there is plenty more to see in The Cotswold. You could do a short hike between Lower and Upper Slaughter, or visit any of the other towns like Stow-on-the-Wold or Chipping Campden. No matter where you go, you will be surrounded by rolling hills and yellow limestone houses, making for a great Summer outing.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.