Cotswold stay

Feb 21st, 2007, 03:39 PM
  #1  
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Cotswold stay

Calling out FlannerUK!
I've read, with much zest, your posts on threads re the Cotswolds and have enjoyed them.
My journey will take me there in May with my Mom - whom has dreamed her 70 plus years to see a thatched cottage!
Now then,
where should we stay?
lmillerx is offline  
Feb 21st, 2007, 11:50 PM
  #2  
 
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In my view, being in the Cotswolds requires being based in a proper town with a decent (which means built before 1200 and modified every 50 years since) church, big enough for a reasonable collection of eateries and pubs, but not big enough to have a supermarket over 20,000 sq ft.

You need to be in, or at any rate, only a couple of hundred yards away from, the centre (you don't want to be driving back from the pub). And you're best - though this is just my view because I loathe hotels, but then hotelkeeping isn't the Cotswolds' strength anyway - self-catering in a cottage.

Oddly, age of cottage isn't crucial. Practically any 16th or 17th century cottage will have been internally rebuilt a few dozen times, and you can't see the cottage from inside anyway. We did go through a phase, from the 1920s to the 1960s, of building some ugly housing, though it's been outlawed for the past 30-40 years and before 1900 our forbears seem to have been genetically incapable of producing ugliness (though there are a few Catholic and Nonconformist churches around that disprove me).

If you're in a car, that means Burford, Chipping Campden, Northleach, Winchcombe or Stow in the Wold (which just scrapes in though the supermarket's over our requirement). Woodstock, technically, isn't in the Cotswolds, but it almost is and it qualifies on all the other criteria.

If you're not in a car, only Charlbury and Moreton in Marsh have a railway station close to a proper centre (Kingham lacks a centre. Think Los Angeles on a micro scale, with cottages instead of Beverly Hills). Moreton has far better bus links for touristy things. Charlbury's essentially a commuter and telecommuter living centre.

So that's a self-catering place within 400-500 yards of the church at Moreton if you haven't got a car or Chipping Campden if you do.

Can't recommend a supplier, though this board is full of people with suggestions, since I've nothing to do with the local tourist industry.

Above all though: choosing between Burford and Chipping Campden or wherever really doesn't matter much. This is something estate agents always - in their inarticulate way - get wrong. In Britain, it's never location, location, location. It's always pitch, pitch, pitch. Not agonising over whether Woodstock's prettier than Northleach, but getting a cottage you can hear the church bells from and walk back from the paper shop in the morning with a copy of The Sun and a bottle of milk (can't buy milk in pints in shops anymore, though you can get pints delivered to the door if there's a milk roundsman around)

So read the cottage descriptions carefully.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 12:09 AM
  #3  
 
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We stayed in the hamlet of Upper Slaughter and loved it. Walking distance to Bourton-on-Water with the restaurants and pubs. Lower-Slaughter was even more picturesque.
sebti is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 11:55 AM
  #4  
 
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Another call out to FlannerUK:

Would like your advice on the Cotswolds as well please.

We're considering staying in Chipping Campden or Mickleton.

We will be without a car and arriving via train from London. The woman at the B&B in Mickleton will arrange taxis for us. She also said there's a bus right out front of the B&B that will take us to Chipping Campden or Stratford-upon-Avon.

Is there a reliable taxi service and a reliable bus service in Chipping Campden that will take us up to Stratford-upon-Avon or Stow-on-the-Wold?

Your thoughts on which place to stay and why?


travelingtheglobe is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 05:23 AM
  #5  
 
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"Your thoughts on which place to stay and why?"

I don't understand the question. I've explained why I'd recommend Chipping Campden as a good place to stay (IF you've got a car). Now a poster wants to know if, WITHOUT a car, I'd stay in a one-B+B village in the middle of nowhere.

Of course not, and I'd have thought the the first post explains clearly why.

But let's try again. A proper Cotswold town (ie somewhere that got - usually in the 13th century - a market charter) will have a reasonable choice of pubs with attached eateries, a few shops and a good medieval church. It'll have got affluent in the first half of the last millennium through being a key trading post in the supply of high quality wool to the European market (not remotely as rich as Prato or Siena of course, which had the sense to teach their citizens how to make the real money out of wool), then stopped developing as the trade lost out to the currency devaluers of Catalonia, the slave owners of the Carolinas and the infinitely lower production costs of Australia, then got massively restored by 20th century wealth.

The point being first that the Cotswolds are about towns. Our countryside's OK, but hardly gobsmacking: our villages, while pretty, are catatonically boring. Frequently, they have NOTHING but a few cottages: some even see the entire population decant back to London on a Sunday evening.

Being stuck in a B+B in one of them without a car: well, personally I'd rather chew my right hand off.

But the second point of this little bit of history is that the towns are usually free of suburbs (didn't need them while trade got bad: can't build them now us NIMBYs own all the pretty houses in the middle and don't want oiks ruining the surroundings). From Chipping Campden church, it's about 50 yards into glorious (well, OK), endless, infinitely accessible open countryside. So staying in a more or less entirely medieval town like Burford, you're almost as close to open countryside as you'd be in a village - but you can get away from the landlady, choose where you eat and see how a medieval town actually worked. You also get adequate public transport

By the way, mistrust anyone who tells you they walked intro the nearest town for supper, because that means they must have walked back. And unless they ate at some uncivilised American time, that means they walked back in the dark, which is courting disaster. None of us expect walkers after dark when we're driving, roads are very twisty and nightime walkers, unless covered in reflective gear, are about as good a life insurance risk as a Kamikaze pilot.

"Is there a bus or taxi service in Chipping Campden for Stow and Stratford"?

Bus timetables at www.cotswoldsaonb.com/page.asp?pageID=16

Well yes, Chipping Campden has taxi drivers. But you're surely not planning to pay for hours of the time of busy people in a part of Britain with negative unemployment? Google and you'll find several. But to get anywhere (and back) is going to cost you.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 10:24 AM
  #6  
 
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Thanks for the insider information flanneruk.
travelingtheglobe is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:00 PM
  #7  
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hey flannerUK
Thank you SO much for all your wonderful insight and inspiration.
I've booked the Cotswold House Hotel with a car and believe that - even though it's pricey - it will be a lovely property to base our touring of your beautiful world.

Now, may I ask you another question?

We have friends in Kent to visit and are looking for a nice hotel for two nights that will also be close enough to make a 9am flight out of Heathrow. Is this possible?

Many thanks.
lmillerx is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:12 PM
  #8  
 
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If you stay in kent for a 9 am flight set your alarm clock for 4am to allow a minimum of 2 hors to get to LHR and 3 hours checkin, i would stay the night before at LHR
flybob is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:49 PM
  #9  
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thanks flybob - sort of what I'm finding. How about Windsor? Is this a better bet? *trying to avoid a heathrow hotel.
lmillerx is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Windsor is a fine option for Heathrow.
mclaurie is offline  
Feb 24th, 2007, 09:59 PM
  #11  
 
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I love Lower and Upper Slaughter. A slaughter is a low wet, marshy place and has nothing to do with murder--in case you wondered. Lower Slaughter has a beautiful old hotel called The Washburn Court. I haven't stayed there for quite a while and I know it has been purchased and re-done but I'm sure it's still charming. There's also Lower Slaughter Manor which is a bit stuffy--but who knows, things change. Lower Slaughter is lovely and there are many walks right in the little town--and a beautiful thatched cottage as well. The walk from Lower Slaughter to Upper is through the sheep pasture is is wonderful. Have a great trip.
bobbymckaye is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 07:13 PM
  #12  
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thanks mclaurie and bobbymckaye! appreciate your opinions and recommendations!

flanneruk - you are the best and most honorable for providing clear, helpful and sage advise to this wonderful part of the world.

should you ever need help for a spot in NYC; let me know!

regards.
lmillerx is offline  

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