Saturday, December 14, 2013
Life is wonderful when you awaken to the glorious multi-hued glow of the early morning sun casting its rays across the sky. We have a single agenda for today and that is to take a drive from Stratford-upon-Avon to Bourton-on-the-Water; a village in the Cotswolds area.
The Cotswolds are a range of countryside hills designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in southwestern and west central England. The region is characterized by beautiful small towns and idyllic villages with houses and buildings built of yellow limestone-Cotswold stone.
Bourton-on-the-Water is a very popular tourist destination in Gloucestershire with much to do and see. This village is often referred to as the “Venice of Cotswolds”; the water of the River Windrush flows through the center of the village. The river with an average depth of only ten inches has 6 low arched stone bridges; four foot crossings and two vehicle crossings. The river is flanked by long wide greens with trees and Cotswold stone embankments. Tired of walking? There are tree-shaded park benches strategically placed along the tranquil river for you to sit and relax.
We begin our walk from the Bourton Vale Coach & Car Park off Station Rd, next to the Petrol Station; there is a fee for parking and free public restrooms. We follow the sign to the village and head south along Station Rd.
Station Rd south leads us pass honey colored Cotswold stone cottages with many of them available as vacation rentals. At the end of a quiet little lane, you can see Foxes Manor; this is a large rental property with 6 bedrooms and tons of amenities.
A restaurant sign posted near the Baptist Church advertising a special for “fish & chips” catches our eye, so we’re going to stop for lunch first!
The Village Restaurant is on High St; the interior looks like “Caucasian grandma’s living room filled with knick-knacks, lace doilies and old Victorian style glass lightshades. It’s nothing fancy, just plain simple food.
We cross High St over to the little open plaza onto the foot bridge and continue east along the foot path; the old traditional Cotswold buildings houses many tourist shops, restaurants and pubs.
We turn around and cross Victoria St; the vehicle bridge crossing and continue along the foot path heading west following the river. The path goes along the open patio of The Kingsbridge Inn, more tourists shops, the Riverside House and the historic Victoria Hall built in 1897.
Victoria St continues along a little alley with more retail shops, antiques stores, sweet shops, tea rooms and boutiques. The Visitor Information Centre is also located here.
The stroll along the foot path west offers great views of a splendid willow tree and the War Memorial off High St.
The foot path leads us to the vehicle crossing on Shelbourne St; right next to the river is the Motor Musuem at the Old Mill and up the ways are many more gift shops.
The Bakery on the Water is an artisan bakery serving fresh baked breads, pastries and cakes. It all looks really delicious!
We exit the foot path and walk along the NW end of High St; in an alleyway next to the village library we come upon St Lawrence’s Church. Old tombstones, little monuments and stone slabs markers take up much of the church greens. It’s a quiet place to walk around.
High St is the road that runs through the main shopping area of the village; specialty stores range from needlecrafts, cookware, gifts and collectibles to fine wool wear and much more.
We stop for tea at the Small Talk Tearoom; they offered two fruit scones with tea for 2.95 GBP. This is another “granny” tea room with lots of doilies and lace.
This beautiful village is worth the visit-it’s a wonderful place to waste the day away!