Bourton-on-the Water or is it “Boredom-on-the-Water” – not quite what Rick Steves promised??
When people who have not visited the Cotswolds enquire about visiting here, they have often researched the guide books and come up with names like:
…..Bourton-on-the-Water or “Boredom-on-the-Water” as I have taken to calling it!
Then there is Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle – also “must see’s” according to the North American tourist guide books.
Well it depends why you are wanting to visit – if its just a “bucket list” that has to be checked off then go where you please but if you really want to see and experience the delights of the true English countryside…..away from London, you need to listen to the locals and, quite by coincidence, I am a driver guide who lives in the heart of the Cotswolds!!
So as far as the list above is concerned it is WRONG…..or mostly wrong. It has been made up by people who do not know the area like I do – for instance…..
Ok Moreton-in-Marsh has a railway station and that is handy but what was once a quaint town is now dissected by a busy road – when I collect people from the railway station, their first comment is usually “…..lets get outta here“!
Stow-on-the Wold has some nice shops particularly Antiques but the place is jam packed with tour buses – its a nightmare particularly in peak season
Broadway is pretty dull, I think, again built on a busy road and unless you like going into lots of stores selling lavender smelly stuff and post cards, there is so much better to see
And Bourton-on-the-Water – well “nuff said” – its a tourist mecca for Japanese Tour Buses and for the great unwashed from the city of Birmingham who cram into the place and lie around half naked on the grass eating fast food….yuk !
And finally Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle…..well I did a recent blog on both of these but essentially Stratford is a “must see” for true Shakespeare enthusiasts who are prepared to stand in line and be jostled all day in order to see the birthplace of the Bard, his place of death and grave and the ubiquitous Anne Hathaway’s Cottage – which actually is quite quaint when not populated by our Japanese friends. But Warwick Castle is a theme park primarily for kids and if you do go in, you stay there for the day NOT for an hour!
Rick Steves says that the Northern Cotswolds are the best…..WRONG !
So what are the top ten destinations I would recommend that Customers should visit to get a true sense of the English Countryside and of life in the Cotswolds? Not in any particular order:
Stroud Market (on a Saturday morning)
Castle Combe – beautiful village where many movies have been made including the recent “War Horse”
Tetbury - for Antiques and its royal connections with Prince Charles (The Highgrove Store)
Malmesbury - with its 1000 year old Abbey and the Abbey House Gardens
Cirencester - an important Roman Town and “Capital of the Cotswolds”
Country Walk from Bibury to Coln St Aldwyns – exquisite !!
Villages of Yanworth, Salperton, Northleach, Hampnett, Tuckdean and Notgrove
Upper and Lower Slaughter – the place to have your photo taken !
Stanway and Stanton
…..these places are absolutely beautiful….if you are travelling alone, look them up but better still let me take you !! Take a look at the photos, below, and let me know what you think !
Passionate Cotswold Guide and Driver
Lets Tour England