"Cotswolds" closest to Heathrow and Bath

May 10th, 2009, 04:30 AM
  #1  
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"Cotswolds" closest to Heathrow and Bath

Hopefully when we fly in to Hearthrow in late September my sister-in-law will be with us. She has never been to England, we would love for her to see some or one of the "Cotswold" Villages.

General plan is that we are going to try a morning flight out of IAD to LHR, on the premise that since we will have to get up about 3AM, by the time we arrive LHR at 10PM we will be ready to sleep. Then get up early and pick-up our rental car and start driving!

Our first 2 nights ( Sunday and Monday) are currently planned for Freshford, near Bath.

Where exactly is the southern part of what is considered "The Cotswolds"? When my husband and I were in England a few years ago we went to the Slaughters, Bourton on the Water, Snow Hill, and somewhere else whose name escapes me at the moment.

Is there a typical Cotswolds Village we could head to from Heathrow, maybe have lunch and then still have a pleasant drive back to Freshford?
wrenwood is offline  
May 10th, 2009, 05:53 AM
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I would suggest to take the motorway to Oxford, then the A40. You will see Burford, after Burford take the B4425 to Bibury and then Cirencester and from there to Freshford.

This would be a quick way to see at least three picturesque towns.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 10th, 2009, 06:23 AM
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Thanks traveller I'll look on the map and google

Yes, we did visit Bibury last time, ( the name I forgot) Arlington Row was enchanting, would love to go back there.
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May 11th, 2009, 02:22 AM
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A second vote for traveller1959's plan.

Remember there are many charming villages - and probably more typical of a Cotswold village as they will not be overrun with visitors as Bibury is - just off the main roads, or within a mile of so. Get a decent road-map of the UK, and if you have the time and inclination, just take a drive down some of the side roads after Cirencester on your way back to Bath, especially around Tetbury.
julia_t is offline  
May 11th, 2009, 03:41 AM
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We'll be there the end of September so I'm hoping for not too many people!

I'll check out the map for between Cirencester and Bath

We may go to the Slaughters again, we wouldn'y mind seeing them again.

Any particular villages Julia?

Any place in particular for breakfast that morning? We are hoping to pick up the rental car the evening before and get an early start from our Airport Hotel Sunday morning.
wrenwood is offline  
May 11th, 2009, 07:33 AM
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Hi again Wren - You chose Freshford? Good choice
My back yard - so I would say that, wouldn't I?

Between Cirencester/Tetbury and Freshford don't miss Castle Combe (- once voted the 'prettiest village in England').

Castle Combe is generally considered the southernmost of the Cotswold villages - though some guides include Bradford-on-Avon (- places like Freshford and Bradford-on-Avon are Cotswold-like in style).

Steve
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May 11th, 2009, 08:03 AM
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You'll have some good breakfast choices in Burford, which is the first Cotswold village you'll reach coming from Heathrow.

It's essentially on long, hilly street and while touristy, lots of fun and interesting shops. The church, just off the high street, is very nice. As you'll be arriving early, you'll see as many locals as tourists out doing their shopping.
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May 11th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Breakfast along the A40's not that easy: it's impossible to get into Oxford, the service area at the M40 turnoff's disgusting, the hotels around the Oxford ring road are blah. there isn't a decent Little Chef any more and that's almost it. Apart from the MacD just before Oxford.

But there's one shining light.

Breakfast isn't a speciality of most Cotswold towns. We cook our own kippers: the visitors arrive at lunchtime then eat tea anyway. But there's one decent option in Burford, as well as Maison Blanc: a poncey French place (an offshoot of the Manoir aux Quat' Saisons) with viennoiserie and all that other muck. Fine if you can stand jam and croissants - though their cakes look pretty and I'm told they taste nice.

But if you've got a proper disdain for that kind of thing (fine after church on Sunday for buying a beautifully art-directed fruit tart to take to your lunch hosts. But it isn't real food, is it?), Huffkins sells proper healthy stuff. Best known for their teas, but they do full English breakfasts from 9 am. Better, they select suppliers properly: their ham and bacon comes from happily reared, blissfully fatty, pigs and their breads generally taste of something.

I've never seen a croissant allowed across their threshold.
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May 11th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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Hi Steve ~ look at this wonderful place I found, courtesy of TA. Since my sister-in-law will be with us we have both rooms and our own sitting room, "the whole place!"

http://www.priorycottagebath.co.uk/

First day from the airport we'll do our Cotswolds tour, arrive at Priory Cottage late Sunday afternoon ~ any recommendations for eating Sunday night near Freshford?

Monday we'll take public transport into Bath for the day, maybe eat at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant.

Tuesday before we head for Ilfracombe we'll spend some time in Lacock and Castle Combe, maybe Wells Cathedral on the way? Where's the closest White Horse to Freshford?


flanneruk ~ Huffkins has a web page, I could just eat the page! But then Maison Blanc, the picture on their web page of this shimmering chocolate thing with fresh raspberries ~ too bad we're not self catering for 3 more days!!!!!!!!!!!!!
wrenwood is offline  
May 11th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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>>>maybe Wells Cathedral on the way?<<

Yes, do it. It requires not more than an hour and is very rewarding. The cathedral is unique with the scissor arches, and Vicar's Close is an important part of architectural history. And the town is nice.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 07:23 AM
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Hi Wren - Priory Cottage?! I just drove past it for a pub lunch near Freshford I'm sure you've chosen well ...

Sunday dinner? There are several nice country pubs within a mile or two, e.g.

- 'Cross Guns' at Avoncliffe (- local beauty spot)
- 'Rose & Crown' at nearby Limpley Stoke
- 'The Inn' at Freshford
- 'Red Lion' at Woolverton

Your hosts will advise, I'm sure.
N.B. Be aware that pubs usually stop serving by 20.00.

There are hotels restaurants locally too (- MUCH more expensive). Otherwise you are only 10 mins from Bath (- or Bradford on Avon) if you want to eat later.

Castle Combe and Lacock might make more sense logistically on Sunday than Tuesday.

Steve

P.S. You can see Westbury 'white horse' in the distance from the Bath Road near Freshford (- you can probably even see it from Priory Cottage). But don't be fooled - it's not the real thing anymore (- it was concreted over awhile back ).
Steve_James is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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Have you checked out Mad Max's Tours? www.madmax.abel.co.uk
I've never taken one, but they get good reviews.

They originate out of Bath and will take you on day-long tours of the Cotwolds, Stonehenge, Lacock, etc. They'll even drop you in the Cotswolds for an overnight if you'd like to stay there for a day or two or three.

It's a good option for someone with limited time, who doesn't want to drive.
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May 13th, 2009, 03:49 PM
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Hey Steve ~ here's what Priory Cottage recommended ~

"we particularly like The Hop Pole in the next village of Limpley Stoke (unfortunately they don't have their own website) it's a traditional English country pub with better than average "pub food".

Our "local" pub is The Inn at Freshford - www.theinnatfreshford.co.uk - it's walkable from here but we think the food is average for the price! But a lovely setting right down by the river.

Our favourite pub is The New Inn at Westwood www.newinnwestwood.co.uk - (about 2 miles) more of a gastro pub but very friendly and welcoming with a relaxed feel.

We are only 10 minutes from Bradford on Avon - look at The Bunch of Grapes www.grapespub.com or The Castle www.flatcappers.co.uk both serve good food in a very relaxed setting"


So................ what do you think about their choices?


Looks like Cross Guns will be open and serving Sunday evening, they say 7 days a week, and they look really nice ~ atmosphere, history and menu looks good.

Rose and Crown & Red Lion in Woolverton ~ I couldn't find much on the internet


OK everyone, another question ~ My sister-in-law saw the Castle at Muckross in Ireland, and Rock of Cashel ~ but she hasn't seen anything like the grand castles in England. So..............how about this??????? We leave early, stop to eat breakfast somewhere ( Maison Blanc in Burford is open at 9 on Sunday, could survive with coffee and pastries until lunch), wander through Cotswold villages early, lunch in one of them, then to Warwick Castle (allow how much time?) ~ 2 hrs back on the A429 to head to Freshford in time to check in and have dinner "locally"

Nanbug ~ thanks for the suggestion but we LOVE to drive and wander and discover ( except for THOSE HEDGES as in trip report by Schuler!)

Lacock and Castle Combe are possible Sunday, but my guess is we won't have enough time. So we may head east a little bit on Tuesday to do these two villages, ( they are on my "must see" list) on to Wells Cathedral and then Ilfracomble by dinner time.

Just to complicate things, what about Glastonbury Tor?
wrenwood is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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I personally prefer Huffkins over Maison Blanc.

Lacock and Castle Comb are good,even if a bit touristy, but I'd give Glastonbury Tor a miss.
historytraveler is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 05:42 AM
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Ha, wrenwood, those hedges frayed my nerves, too!

Glastonbury Tor is one of my favorite spots in the world, btw. Go!

Have fun, sounds like a blast.
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May 14th, 2009, 05:48 AM
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>>>We leave early, stop to eat breakfast somewhere ( Maison Blanc in Burford is open at 9 on Sunday, could survive with coffee and pastries until lunch), wander through Cotswold villages early, lunch in one of them, then to Warwick Castle (allow how much time?) ~ 2 hrs back on the A429 to head to Freshford in time to check in and have dinner "locally"<<<

Seems to much for a day. Warwick Castle is in the Northeast while Freshford is in the Southwest. A lot of driving (from Warwick to Freshford you need at least two hours). And you need at least 3 hours for Warwick Castle. The way from the parking lot to the entrance is almost half an hour (each way). Warwick IS a large medieval castle, however heavily Disneyfied (in fact, it belongs to the Madame Tussaud group). A good place for small children and Japanese tourists.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 14th, 2009, 06:05 AM
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The closest castle to your B & B is Farleigh Hungerford, which is 2-3 miles away. Details are at http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/s...show/nav.16178. It's mostly a ruin, like most English castles, but very manageable, and worth seeing since it's so close.

It's a not a grand place and still inhabited, like Windsor and Warwick, but if that is what you want, you might like Berkeley Castle, still occupied by the same family for 900 years, and about 40 miles of easy driving from Freshford. Details are at www.berkeley-castle.com.
chartley is online now  
May 14th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Re breakfast I was choosing Maison Blanc instead of Huffkins just because they opened an hour earlier.

All 3 of us are pretty early risers. I realize our body clocks will be pretty screwed up, but I'm hoping we'll be out of our Heathrow Hotel by 8AM at the latest, having had 7-8 hrs of sleep. So 3 hours and a long day to include Warwick Castle wouldn't be totally out of the question...........if it's worth it.

We're not really interested in ruined Castles, she saw that in Ireland. Berkeley might work instead of Warwick. Is it a guided tour or a self tour, anyone know? It's only open on Sundays in September, so at least we'd be there the right day! What about Sudeley Castle?

My husband asked if there was anything in the area like Chatsworth House for his sister to see. Thought of Blenheim ........we've been to Blenheim although we didn't go through the house (more interested in the trees) Are there any spectacular Houses like Chatsworth in the area?
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May 14th, 2009, 03:00 PM
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It's not as grand as Blenheim or Chatsworth, but you will not be far from Longleat (www.longleat.co.uk). You would need to miss the safari park and theme park sections, and concentrate on the house and grounds.
chartley is online now  
May 14th, 2009, 03:17 PM
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chartley, I was just looking a Longleat. When you approach or drive to the house is it separate from the safari and theme park? If you walk around the grounds outside of the house are we listening to the roar of lions in the background?
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