I did mention, didn’t I, that we’re having particular success on this trip, in visiting places that have foiled us the past. Perhaps it’s a little more experience under our belts, perhaps it’s the availabilty of online information, or the fact that the UK, previously a bastion of caravanning, has seen a sharp trend in favour of motorhomes, but either way, where there were once all manner of impediments, we’re finding fewer and fewer.
The Cotswolds were such a place. Initially visited in 2013, we were quickly forced to concede defeat after becoming stuck up a tiny lane, despite TomTom’s assurances of its suitablity. Roads we might have been able to overcome, but parking near the villages was impossible. But! Faced with a new rush of motorhomes in the UK, there’s change afoot. Fields have been opened for overflow parking and some villages have even introduced dedicated motorhome parking. It’s not quite the Aires of France (not having services) but it’s a huge step in the right direction. Afterall, if motorhomers want to visit and spend their money in these gorgeous villages, the least they can do is offer us a place to park. I for one am delighted – having to leave the Cotswolds unexplored in 2013 never sat well with me.
In this spirit, we’re visiting the lovely Burford, often referred to as the gateway to the Cotswolds. We had planned to be in Bourton-on-the-Water but found Burford so lovely when driving through, we just had to stop*.
Burford is ancient. The school in the main street notes a founding date of 1571. Isn’t that wonderful? I’ll bet their governing body takes the concept of long term strategic decisions to a whole new level.
Burford so appealing that we decided to settle for the day rather than move on. In the sunny courtyard of the Cotswold Arms, Himself finally gets to enjoy a confit duck (not really a summer dish in France)
whilst I have an excellent goat’s cheese, fig and walnut salad.
I learn a little more about the town, including its wool trade history, its Saxon origins and mediaeval past. As we lunch, and I research, we’re accompanied by the pretty peal of church wedding bells. It’s all rather delightful..
We wander the main street, set up witj tea shops, restaurants and a good variety of specialist shops. With golden stone cottages and stone tiled rooves Burford is a postcard setting.
For such a peaceful setting, on a Saturday, traffic is bumper to bumper. Taking photos excluding cars is a challenge. I fare better on the hill, as they zoom by below.
Autumnal colours are creeping in and I’ve just the scarf to match!
We stop for afternoon tea at a bakery that’s been honing its craft since the 1870s – there’s certainly no shortage of history here. Meanwhile, the church is back in wedding mode, ringing in a new union.
This bride is leaving in style – there’s a vintage Rolls Royce out front.
What’s left of the afternoon is spent devouring Margret Attwood’s new book, The Testament. It’s the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, a book that’s fascinated me for decades. I read it in the 80s, have watched in fascination as the series turned into a phenomena and waited in anticipation for the sequel. It’s excellent – read in one sitting, it answers many of the questions I had. Having waited for years for my friend** to read the first book so that we could watch the series together, I might have to cave and see it on my own.
* Aka: much speedy wheedling on my part.
** I’m talking to you Miss Rachel. Read the damn book. Give me a sign and I’ll hold off the series! 😘