Cotswolds – Sept 13-15, 2017 – London, Oxford & Bourton-on-the Water


For a look at all of our photos from our Cotswolds Adventure, click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/set=a.10154548876146887.1073741940.593681886&type=1&l=f31c239235I

Oxford

Oxford

After a wonderful flight on British Airways new Airbus 380, Doris and I arrived at London Heathrow safe & sound. Getting through passport, and picking up our bags was a breeze. After a little searching, we found the correct Hoppa bus to our hotel, the Renaissance Heathrow Hotel. The hotel is beautiful and the beds & duvets, devine.

No time for rest quite yet, as I am off back to the airport terminal to catch the Tube underground to Liverpool Station to see my nieces. The Tube is a wonderful way to get around, although a bit pokey because of all of the stops. Nonetheless, I enjoyed watching tourists as well as a steady stream of locals squeeze into the car following a busy work day. I arrived at Liverpool Street Station, a lovely old train station built in 1874, and quickly spotted the Wasabi Store sign where I was to meet the ladies. To my absolute delight, the first person I see is my sister-in-law from Slovakia! I had no idea she would be in London and the first hour was spent laughing and hugging each other – Aimee & Danka had kept her visit a secret, and it made for a wonderful surprise!

We walked a couple of blocks and settled in to a cute little restaurant called the Bishopsgate Kitchen. The meal was delicious and we had a great visit! An hour and a half later I was back at the Renaissance and before very long I succumbed to jet lag and was fast asleep.

Sept 14, 2017 – London

Slept well for several hours and then lay awake. Denise had arrived and following breakfast, her and Doris take the Tube into the city and spend a fantastic day on a Big Bus tour, and a visit to the Tower of London. They arrived back late in the evening regaling many stories of their adventure.

After seeing them off in the morning, I stayed at the airport and met up with a friend who works at the airport, and had a wonderful visit. Shortly after 3 pm, Helga, Margie & Ellen arrive and off we head to the hotel. The ladies rest a bit and then we walk the short distance to The Three Magpies pub for dinner. It was packed and we managed to get the last table. It took us a little bit to realize we had to order our drinks and food at the bar. I ordered a glass of wine with my meal and was given a choice of, not type of wine, but would I like small, medium or large! This struck me quite funny, and decided it was likely best to take the small 😄. A short walk back to the hotel and we all crashed.

 

Radcliffe Square

Sept 15, 2017 – to Bourton on the Water, Cotswolds

We are all up early and very excited to be heading to the Cotswolds this morning. David, our driver from Pulham Coaches, arrives early and we are off right on time! What luxury, a 16 seater Mercedes Van for 6 of us.

By 11:00am we reached the beautiful old city of Oxford for a short 4 hour visit. Today is ‘Open Day’ for prospective students thinking of attending Oxford University so the streets were buzzing with activity. We picked up maps from the Information office, chose where we would meet for lunch and were off. We had to be very conscious of where we put our feet on the uneven payment and cobblestones, as our gaze was upward in awe of so many gorgeous historical buildings. The centre is small so we were able to cover a lot of territory and bumped into each other several times.

 

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The lunch recommendation from the very helpful young lady at the Information centre, was the ‘Famous Turf Tavern’ built in 1381, likely the oldest in Oxford. It was so very quaint and very popular – the only tables left were outside on the patio. We each had a light lunch as we have heard the meals at Harrington House are substantial. We had a little more time to browse through the streets before joining David and our coach.

Shortly before 3:00pm, we were out of the increasingly chaotic Centre and on our way to Bourton-on-the-Water. The scenery is idyllic with undulating green hills dotted with sheep, horses, and cows. Before long we are in the Cotswolds region, once a prosperous wool growing region since the Middle Ages. The word Cotswolds means ‘sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides’ incorporating the term wold, meaning hills.

Buildings are built from Cotswold stone which is a yellow Jurassic limestone, and the roofs are Cotswold stone tiles giving the area a very unique style. The area is rich in limestone and there are still many quarries in the region. We drive through the adorable town of Burford before arriving in Bourton-on-the-Water, equally adorable. Our home for the next 7 nights is Harrington House, circa 1730 and is a picture-perfect stately old house.

As soon as we enter the building we are greeted by our walking guides and an invitation for tea & scones or cakes. What a lovely way to wind down the day. At 5:00pm, several of us took a walk with one of the walking guides, Dave, to orient ourselves with the town.

Back at the house, it was time for drinks in the bar, followed by an update on the walks for tomorrow, and dinner. The dinner was very hearty indeed and delicious. Conversation and laughter was plentiful and it was a wonderful introduction to our week.

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