Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2023: Two Weeks in the Cotswolds and London
By Deva from USA, Fall 2012
Page 7 of 15: Day Seven: Sezincote, Stanway, Stanton, Sudeley
Our last day in the Cotswolds! But a perfect ending...
For my solo morning ramble, I took the 8:45 bus to Bourton-on-the-Hill, and did the short hike from there to Sezincote. The manor wasn’t open (it has very limited hours) but the trail runs right below it, with beautiful views. This was one of my favorite walks of the trip -- I realize that I love best the walks that pass through fields with trees sprinkled through them, and along the edges.
Then back in Bourton, I stopped at the Bourton House for a cup of cider (sadly I had no time to see the gardens) before catching the bus home. As a note: the schedule says to catch the bus toward CC “at the church” but the driver told me that it is better to wait directly opposite the covered bus stop (where I got off coming the other way) as the road is wider there.
I really liked Bourton-on-the-Hill. It would have been too small, I think, for a car-less stay, since there is only a single pub and no shop in town. But with a car, it would be lovely. So charming and beautifully situated, with Batsford, Bourton House, and Sezincote all nearby.
Back “home” we had a lunch of leftovers (chicken covered in tikka masala sauce with cheddar on baguettes = YUM).
Then Jill picked us up, as we had arranged a few days earlier, for a last trip. She dropped us in Stanway, so that we could hike to nearby Stanton.
Stanway was -- at risk of overusing the words -- very charming and picturesque. I wished we had been able to see inside Stanway House, but it was fun just to ogle it from outside. The hike was also beautiful, through level, green fields dotted with trees. Stanton was a bit larger, and featured a pub that was quite busy even in mid-afternoon, with dozens of other hikers and tourists. We enjoyed sodas out on the porch, looking down over the village. Both these towns felt a bit “empty” aside from the tourists, but perhaps that was because it was midday on Friday?
We had a slightly nerve-wracking adventure trying to figure out the next stage of our plan: getting to Winchcombe. My research indicated there was a bus that ran from “Stanton Turn” to Winchcombe, but it was not clear where the bus actually stopped. Fortunately we had procured a cell phone for this trip (a Mobal phone, since we didn’t expect to use it much, and liked the convenience of their service) and so I was able to call the bus company and the kind woman who answered directed us to a spot along the highway just outside town. Had it been raining, this might have been miserable, but as it was, we had no problem waiting for the bus, flagging it down, and boarding. But this was one time when I know having a car would have perhaps been less stressful, even for us!
We reached Winchcombe rather late, but had time for a snack at a tea shop, and the short walk out from town to Sudeley Castle. Since we only had an hour before the castle closed, we bought the garden-only tickets. Even though it was brief, this was fun and worthwhile. The grounds were very different from the other gardens we had seen, being more extensive and large.
Back in Winchcombe we stopped at a gourmet deli for dinner, while waiting for Jill’s husband Jim to come pick us up. I had one of the vegetable samosas one sees all over the place, and it was quite tasty!
In retrospect, I realize we could have taken the last bus from Winchcombe to Broadway, and then gotten a taxi from there which would have been cheaper -- but we were happy with how things worked out as Jim took us on the scenic route home, past the Snowshill lavender fields. And we got to hear his stories about sheep farming, and the state of the industry. I had not realized that the sheep are primarily raised for meat these days, as it is nearly impossible to make a profit on wool. Our total taxi fare for the day was £45 -- expensive, but still worth it to us.
Overall, we felt a week was the perfect amount of time to spend in the Cotswolds, and that Chipping Campden was the best place for our base. We enjoyed all the other villages, but CC won our hearts. If we return, we might stay in the south for a change, or possibly in Bath, which I really wanted to visit. But we would also be tempted to return to CC, and to our cute little apartment!
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