A road trip through the Costwolds
This summer we went on a roadtrip through the south of England. One of my favorite days was the day we drove through the Costwolds. The Cotswolds is a part of the English countryside in south central and south west England. It is known for its charming villages and landscape. There are many towns to visit in the area. The following is a description of the route we took. We left our airbnb in Swindon - a town conveniently near the Costwolds - to reach our first destination, Cirencester.
Cirencester is a market town and the largest city in the Costwolds. I really enjoyed the colorful houses in the market square. We knew that we had to visit the Corinium Museum - one of the highlights of the city, a museum that contains the largest amount of Roman-British artifacts in the UK— but unfortunately it was closed. So please, check the opening hours in advance :) The town also has a cute church - Church of St John the Baptist - dating from the 12th century. We entered the church as they were celebrating a mass and we ended up singing with an old lady. Then, we headed to our next destination.
Bibury is a really small village but one of the prettiest I have ever seen. It has been described as the most beautiful village in England. The charming cottages make you believe you are part of a fairy tale. It’s a really good spot for photography lovers. Take some time to enjoy a tea and brownie in the local tea shop. They have delicious cakes! After a tasty snack, we drove to Bourton-on-the-Water.
Bourton-on-the-water is often referred to as the “Venice of the Cotswolds”. It is a very touristic place so you are likely to find a lot of people enjoying a picnic by the river. Our jacket potato filled with tuna and mayonnaise took too long to be cooked, so once again we didn’t have time to visit one of the top attractions of the city, the Model Village. It is a scale replica of the village in which I imagine you may feel like Gulliver in Lilliput. Finally, we headed to our last destination.
This is the village where William Shakespeare was born so you will have plenty of attractions related to the playwright. The town itself is worth a visit. Take a walk through the town and notice the architecture that takes you back to the 16th century. We are very nerdy so we were really happy to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace. The tickets are quite expensive (22.5 £ , that is, 25 €) but they are valid for three different museums: Shakespeare’s birthplace, Shakespeare’s new house -not very impressive really - and Hall’s Croft, her daughter Susanna’s house. For those who enjoy reading and/or history, it is a really interesting destination. You may also want to visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage. We also tried to visit Shakespeare’s gravestone in Holly Trinity Church which is open to the public but once again, it was closed when we got there. It was 5.30 pm. Yes, everything closes freaking early in the UK! So be sure to check out the opening hours of the church before your visit.
Where can I stay?
I would recommend Swindon as it is not very far away and the prices to stay are affordable.
Where can I eat?
In either Bourton-on-the-water or Stratford-Upon-Avon you will find a variety of places to eat.
How long is the route?
The distance from Cirencester to Bibury is about 15 min; Bibury to Bourton-on-the-water 20 min; Bourtonr to Stratford-upon-avon is the longest distance, due to the fact that the latter is not part of the Costwolds so this last part would take you about 40 minutes. However, I would recommend to take a whole day and leave in the early morning to ensure you will have time to visit all the places not in a hurry. The English countryside has a lot to see!