Visiting The Cotswolds, Part 1

The UK exploration continues . . . from Bath to the Cotswolds! Just when I thought it wasn't possible to fall deeper in love with England, the Cotswolds just blew me away by its vast beauty and countless charming villages. I'm honestly convinced I'll retire here someday, it's that idyllic. So let's just get down to the logistics before we dive in, shall we? The most frequently asked question is: how do you get around? The best way to travel around the Cotswolds is to rent a car. Coming from someone who had never driven on the left side of the road prior to this trip, it was actually surprisingly manageable! I'll admit, I was pretty anxious and terrified leading up to our self piloting adventure but after the first few minutes, it really felt like second nature. It also helps to have a co-pilot to help navigate and direct you through the million and ten roundabouts. And just remind yourself: the driver stays in the inside of the road, always!

Painswick

Just an hour drive north of Bath is a tiny little town called Painswick, also known as The Queen of the Cotswolds. During the Middle Ages, Painswick, like many other neighboring towns and villages, became prosperous thanks to the thriving wool trade. This eventually led to the abundance of beautiful architecture, most of which was constructed using locally quarried honey-hued Cotswold stone. It was the perfect place to kick off our Cotswold adventure and I couldn't think of a better place to stay than at The Painswick.

The 18th century, beautifully restored mansion sits on a steep, quiet lane behind Painswick's main street and quaint church and boasts breathtaking views of the Painswick Valley and the rolling, Gloucestershire hills. With only 16 rooms, this boutique hotel is the epitome of country cool - and definitely intensified my love affair with British interiors. Rustic modern interiors in greyish blue hues and wainscoting in pale grey and the soft sage are juxtoposed with the centuries-old stone walls, original mullion windows and late Palladian architecture. The friendly hotel staff provides guests with a little hand drawn map of the town, along with pair of wellies if you so wish to take advantage of the natural walks and hikes. Despite the excitement of exploring the town on foot, we were eager to return to hotel to relax in the beautifully appointed sitting room, the perfect place to enjoy cocktails fireside and to converse with other guests. Besides perfecting the art of rest, The Painswick prides itself on the second most standout quality of the hotel: food. The restaurant, led by acclaimed Chef Jamie McCallum, is outstanding. Our dinner there was one of the best meals we had on the trip.

IN PAINSWICK

WHERE TO STAY:

  • The Painswick

WHERE TO EAT/DRINK:

WHAT TO SEE:

  • The Rococo Gardens
  • St. Mary's Church
Stow-on-the-Wold

From Painswick, we drove northeast to Stow-on-the-Wold, a quaint market town and home to some of the best antique shops in the Cotswolds. We stopped here for some shopping and lunch before heading further east to Daylesford and then south again to our final destination at Thyme (more on that in Part 2 of this travel series). My only regret was not having enough nearly enough hours to uncover all the potential treasures here. There's a plethora of amazing antique stores dotted throughout and around the town square. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would absolutely need a 19th century tantalus. One shop not to be missed is Cutter Brooks, a little boutique owned and curated by former fashion editor and Barney's New York Director Amanda Brooks. It's absolutely delightful and full of unique housewares, art and clothing, from all over the world, like handwoven baskets by English artist Jenny Crisp, porcelain sculptures by Vladimir Kanevskv, vintage French quilts, slippers by Lebanese label Liwan and smocked nightgowns from Italian designer Loretta Caponi.

IN STOW-ON-THE-WOLD

WHERE TO SHOP:

  • Cutter Brooks
  • Tudor House Antiques
  • Durham House Antiques
  • Baggot Church Street Antiques
  • Christopher Clarke Antiques
  • The Cotswold Cheese Company
  • Evergreen Livres
  • Cotswolds Art Supplies
  • Jaffe and Neale Bookshop

WHERE TO EAT:

  • The Porch House
  • The Sheep on Sheep Street
  • The Hive
  • The Old Bakery Tearoom
  • New England Coffee House

JUST A HOP, JUMP & A SKIP AWAY:

  • Bourton on the Water
  • Chipping Norton
  • Chipping Camden
  • Lower Slaughter
  • Upper Slaughter
Daylesford Farm

Idyllic and surreal are the first words that come to mind when visiting Daylesford Farm, which is just 4 short miles east of Stow-on-the-Wold. The 2500 acre farm just about sums up every desirable aspect of the Cotswolds - in it's a very own posh, Goop-esque aesthetic. It's a working and sustainable organic farm, a grocery store, a café, a boutique, a workshop, a spa, a cookery school and a hotel. Visitors travel from afar just to experience it and locals hangout here for lunch, coffee or to simply restock provisions for the home. It's truly like no other and a must visit if you're in the area.

Next: The Cotswolds Part 2!

this post was created in partnership with Visit Britain. all opinions are my own.

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3 Comments

  1. Claudia wrote:

    I’ve been waiting for this guide! I’m planning a trip to London next month and excited to include the Cotswolds after watching your stories. Looking forward to the second half.

    4.18.19
    Reply
  2. Thank you for sharing this useful information, I’ve searched this kind of information.

    4.22.19
    Reply
  3. Michelle wrote:

    The Cotswolds are soooo on my travel list, especially after seeing these beautiful pictures!
    https://www.makeandmess.com/

    4.25.19
    Reply