English Countryside

There is more to England than London and there is so much more to English countryside. Some of the broad areas we tried to cover during our road trip were Cotswolds, Lake District and Yorkshire. Each area is distinct with a unique feel.  Below places are just a few hours ride from London and are dotted with old towns, sleepy villages and beautiful hills…

Part of British Road Trip : UK – Road Trip

Day 1 – Oxford

  • Landed at Heathrow airport and took shuttle to the car rental place. Thankfully, after a short wait and saying ‘no’ to all the extras being offered by car agency, we were on our way out in a Mercedes Smart Car!
  • Buildings gave way to open farms and the one hour ride to Swindon set the mood for the trip! A hot bath at Swindon Marriott Hotel was all that I needed to freshen-up after the long flight.
  • We drove to nearby Oxford and parked near Port Meadow (SS Tip: use Parkopedia!) and walked over to city centre… It’s difficult to get parking in tourist towns so do your research in advance!
  • The city is filled with beautiful buildings with rich history and amazing architecture. We started out with Bridge of Sighs, Radcliffe camera, University Church, Bodelian Library… We then joined a walking tour, which started from Broad Street. SS Tip: Walking tours are the best way to explore such towns and you can pay as you wish at the end…
  • Some of the impressive sights include Christ Church and Magdalen College, both set is green pastures. Btw, you can also go punting – row around on a small boat while marveling at these university buildings! We then wandered over to Oxford Castle and grabbed a bite at the cafe before heading back along the canal…
  • If you have more time, consider going inside the universities – subject to it being open to visitors at that point!
  • 1 hour drive and we were back in Swindon to catch up on sleep and jetlag!

 

Day 2 – Bath and Castle Combe

  • Based on feedback from hotel, we used the ‘park and ride’ service for our trip to Bath. We parked the car at for free at a designated car parking area in the outskirts and took the bus to town (GBP 3 for return ticket). It was a short 1 hour drive.
  • We headed over to Bath Abbey for the walking tour. This is a 2 hour long , free tour starting at 10:30 am. They take you through the city stopping at various interesting points. Key highlight was Royal Crescent!
  • Back in time from the tour to go inside the Bath Abbey (open at specific hours only). Lovely old chapel with colourful stained glass windows.

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  • It was time to head to the key attraction, Roman Baths (GBP 15.5 pp). Pick up the free audio tour guide which lets you explore at your own pace. The main building is in a fairly decent condition and there are well preserved ruins of the original baths too. They have hot spa water available at end of the tour – do have a sip!

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  • After Bath, we headed over to quaint Castle Combe which was just 30 mins drive away. This really small village is right out of a storybook! There are no attractions but just the quiet old buildings along the road…

 

  • Thanks to extended day light hours, we decided to take a long detour and drive back via Stonehenge. We made it past operating hours so the cool watchman, told us a good spot further down the road to check out Stonehenge (quite a few cars followed us there!).

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  • While Stonehenge wasn’t that impressive the drive through the pretty fields was worth it !

 

Day 3 – Bourton and Warwick

  • We checked out and headed north. Less than an hour of driving and we were at Bourton-on-Water. We first headed to see the Miniature Village – which is a lovely model Cotswolds village with trees, canals, houses and roads … and we then walked along the canal to see the same things life size!

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  • Another hour of driving and we reached Warwick Castle. This is a Madam Tussauds property and is like an amusement park. Pick up your map with tickets and try to go for the various ‘shows’ like Flight of Eagles, Trebuchet and Bowman. Explore the rich interiors, towers (worth the effort to go up for the views), dungeons and castle grounds. SS Tip: Don’t miss taking a picture with the Queen’s wax statue!

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  • While driving to Warwick, if you have time you can stopover at few more places like Chipping Camden, Stratford-upon-Avon and such towns to enjoy the English villages.
  • In less than 3 hours, we reached our B&B in Wales…

 


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