Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Touring England, Part 3

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Touring England, Part 3

Hayley's Abbey, a little stone abbey in the Cotswolds
our great room
Our next stop was Cheltenham, right at the border of the Cotswolds and Wales which are the next areas we visited. To our surprise, we were upgraded from two double rooms to a fully furnished two-bedroom two-bath apartment complete with a great room that includes a kitchen, dining room, and living area.  A Morrisson (familiar grocery chain in England) was just across the street so we had fun making breakfasts and cooking dinners.

Snowshill, a pretty little village in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is an area in the Cotswolds Hills, a range of rolling hills which rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswold Edge. It is defined by a bedrock of Jurassic limestone rare in the UK and quarried for the golden coloured Cotswold stone. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, the area has predominantly rural landscape containing stone-built villages, historical towns, and stately homes and gardens, roughly 25 miles across and 90 miles long.

Hayley's Abbey
thatched roof of an English cottage
We took a road trip through half of the area and first encountered Hayley’s Abbey and a small herd of sheep grazing in the lovely fields. Then we were simply stunned at the beauty of Snowshill, a small village of stone homes around a church and the lone diner. Beyond the town was a lavender farm where we lingered a bit for the tea house had some of the best scones and clotted cream we ever had in England. It turned out that the couple at the next table who were trying out their first scones owned the beautiful Morgan we were admiring at the parking lot.

beautiful lavender farm near Snowshill
At the end of the day, we were at Bourton-on-the-Water where we stayed the longest. The village is known for its beautiful High Street, flanked by long wide greens and the River Windrush that runs through them. Several low, arched stone bridges cross the river and have led to the town’s nickname, "Venice of the Cotswolds".  We took to the lovely shops and had tasty pasties at a local bake shop. 
sheep grazing in the fields
Tintern Abbey
Wales is the least known country of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern New Ireland, and Wales) and the island of Great Britain. Welsh national identity emerged among the Celtic Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and the whole of Wales was annexed by England in 1535–1542. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation and a rapid expansion of Wales' population centered in south Wales, mainly in and around Cardiff (the capital).

Caerphill Castle
Although the vast majority of the population speaks English, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual. Trisha found the Tintern Abbey as the most beautiful place she has ever visited. Caerphill Castle was good for photo-ops but otherwise, though known as the second largest castle in England, is not as beautiful as Windsor Castle, for example. Monmouth, a traditional county town in Wales, is situated where the River Monnow meets the River Wye, 36 miles. Both Henry V and Charles Rolls of the Rolls-Royce empire were born there and are honored at the small town plaza.

This part of our tour exemplified the small towns of England and its countryside. It was such a refreshing trip for my two girls! Next we go to England’s urban side, Windsor and London, and a rendezvous with my other granddaughter  Krishna and my BFFs Ann and Jingjing!


  1. Some really great pictures. Looks like a good time.

    1. Except my husband didn't really much like driving on the wrong side of the road.

  2. We stayed in Burton - on - Water on one of our trips to the Cotswolds. We bought a map there and did a 7 mile loop walk through country lanes and across fields, passing through Upper and Lower Slaughter. It was one of our favorite days. How are you finding the driving---on the wrong side--- on narrow country lanes?

    1. My husband has driven on England about 10 years ago so it wasn't new to jim. But it was scary for me!


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