"Cotswolds" closest to Heathrow and Bath

May 15th, 2009, 02:27 AM
  #21  
 
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Hi Wren - Blenheim would be your best bet, I think - it's not far off your route. Much more convenient than Warwick.

With the time you save not detouring to Warwick, you could visit a couple of the southern Cotswold villages as planned, then include both Castle Combe and Lacock en route to Freshford (- logistically better than Tuesday when you're travelling west).

Longleat would be convenient from Freshford (15-20 mins) en route to Wells if you want too include that too. Yes - House/grounds and safari park are separate. You may well hear the lions roaring

http://www.longleat.co.uk/longleat-house.html

Steve
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May 15th, 2009, 04:39 AM
  #22  
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Hmmmmmm good idea, maybe Longleat on Tuesday, along with Wells and ?????

So for a castle.............we are planning on going to Dunster Castle when based in Ilfracombe, maybe that can be "The Castle"?

Leaving out Warwick Castle will give us more time in the Cotswolds as several of you keep saying............I'm listening!

Back to the Cotswolds, still looking for smaller villages .I know we'll walk around Lower Slaughter and Bibury, Great Tew and Stanton mentioned on other threads. Others?
wrenwood is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 05:00 AM
  #23  
 
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Great Tew is way, way, off your route.

And, bluntly, one thatched cottage is pretty indistinguishable from another after the first two or three. There's absolutely no point in visiting more than one or two small villages. If you've got time to spare (though you almost certainly haven't), download a local footpath map from www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/getamap/ and meander round the footpaths through the fields neighbouring one of the villages. Far better for you than the junk Maison Blanc flogs.

And no, I'm not going to recommend one that's "best" There isn't one.
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May 15th, 2009, 05:12 AM
  #24  
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I disagree flanneruk, when one is in another country the villages are different. We love just walking and talking (husband's sister lives 8 hrs away, we don't get to visit much) Sometimes I take pictures, they talk. We love it all ~ gardens and trees and history, the scenery. I think there's much more to the villages than thatched roofs, each seems to have it's own charm. I realize much of it is orchestrated or touristy, but, hey .............we're tourists!

We're planning on doing a fair amount of walking the 4 days we're based in Ilfracombe on the N Devon coast. So in the Cotswolds we just want a "Cotswolds experience" for his sister without too many tour buses.
wrenwood is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 07:11 AM
  #25  
 
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Wren - If you decide to visit Blenheim Palace you'll need at least a couple of hours there. You'd probably want to be there at opening time (- 10.30 I think).

For your 'Cotswolds experience' I'd say ... don't try and do too many. Pick a couple (- max 3) from Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, Northleach, Bibury, Cirencester and Tetbury - then finish up at Castle Combe and Lacock.

If you try to do more it'll be too rushed ...

http://www.cotswoldswebsite.com/cotswolds-map/

Hope this helps ...

Steve
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May 15th, 2009, 01:16 PM
  #26  
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Steve - I think we'll do Longleat on Tuesday instead of Blenheim Palace. This saves all day for the Cotswolds.

We won't try to do too many ~ I usually make a list and a "plan" ~ but many times we don't get to the end of my list!

Are there any other really small Cotswold villages you recommend? We loved the Slaughters, we don't need lots of shopping and stuff. That's why Great Tew appealed to me ( and was looking at the Falkland Arms for lunch!)

Helpful map, thanks!
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May 17th, 2009, 03:03 PM
  #27  
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Been checking out maps and sites you guys have sent, Fodors, TA and Google.

Found these "less visited" villages ~ Great Tew, Blockley, Stanton, Stroud, Guiting Power, Naunton, Chalford.

Any thoughts, been there?
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May 17th, 2009, 07:40 PM
  #28  
 
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No thoughts on the ones you mention but I like Painswick which is near Stroud and Snowshill, near Broadway. I found Snowshill Manor an interesting tour.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
May 18th, 2009, 01:35 AM
  #29  
 
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Small villages en route...

Well, as I read it you will be travelling from Burford along the B4425 towards Cirencester, visiting Bibury along the way.

After Cirencester you will be heading along the A433 towards Tetbury. Along this road turn right - just follow the lanes and signs for Tarlton, Rodmarton, Cherington, and then Avening. All lovely little typical Cotswold villages with little more than a pub (not all of them have pubs now) a church and a cricket pitch. Rodmarton does have the manor house which if you like the Arts and Crafts movement might be worth a look - the gardens are nice anyway but may not be open.

http://www.rodmarton-manor.co.uk/index.html

In Avening you will meet the B4014 - take this towards Tetbury. Along the way you could turn right to Chavenage and see this manor house (where I had my wedding reception many years ago LOL!)...

http://www.chavenage.com/

If you drive through Tetbury you might want to stop and marvel that almost every other shop is an antique shop, or visit the Highgrove shop (owned by Prince Charles and the Duchy of Cornwall), and then continue towards Bath on the A433 which joins the A46 just after Didmarton. A mile out of Tetbury you will pass through the village of Doughton (pronounced Duffton) which is where Highgrove, Prince Charles's home is situated though you can't see it. (BTW Princess Anne's home is in Avening but you can't see that either.) After Doughton you could turn off into Westonbirt which is tiny but pretty.

Alternatively if you go through Chavenage you can pass through directly to the A46 Bath road, and avoid Tetbury completely.

A few miles along the A46 is Chipping Sodbury, and then a left turn to Castle Combe - it is well signed, and it's about 7 miles off the A46.

So I hope this helps you a bit more, these villages are only just off your proposed route (virtually all others mentioned are further off, which will take more time - and you don't really have that much of it to spare). If you get a proper road atlas of Britain (order from amazon if you don't already have one) you can see how close the villages I've mentioned are to the main A433.

There are other routes from Cirencester to Bath, for example you could take the A419 towards Stroud. This time the villages I mentioned earlier (Rodmarton, Cherington, Tarlton etc) will be off the road to your left. Two sides of a triangle, see it on the map? There are villages on the right off the road – Sapperton, Frampton Mansell, Chalford, (I live at the top of Chalford Hill!) and Bisley which is my favourite I think. Stroud is not really worth bothering with, it’s a town and not particularly attractive, especially compared with places like Burford and Tetbury. But from Chalford you could go over Minchinhampton Common which is 13,000 acres of National Trust land grazed by cattle and which has many species of rare orchids and insects and fabulous views over the Five Valleys and across the Severn Vale to Wales. Minchinhampton is a larger village with quite a few shops, and from here you can go to Avening (again) or down a windy hill called The W (so called because of its shape) to Nailsworth which is on the A46 Bath road.
julia_t is offline  
May 24th, 2009, 05:49 AM
  #30  
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Well I guess my "topic title" isn't too accurate....... ............looks like we're headed further north than I thought! Husband wants his sister to see Snowshill, the Slaughters and Bourton on the Water.

So, I think what we'll do is to drive early early early in the morning from our Heathrow airport (one Holiday Inn advertises free unlimited Starbucks coffee ~ that could get me up early!) to our most northern "must see" for my SIL which is Snowshill. Thinking from there we can wander down back roads through The Slaughters (and maybe through Guiting Power) towards Bourton on the Water and then on to to Bibury. From Bibury I think we will drive through Bisley and Chalford and Minchinhampton if time ( thanks Julia!)

Julia ~ how do I find this "W" road, does it go south from Box? Is a pretty road to travel? What is "The Ladder"?

So does this sound do-able? I'm assuming we could be in Snowshill by 9-9:30 AM. From Nailsworth it looks like about an hour or slightly more at the end of the day to our Freshford cottage. So we have 6-7 hours to "wander" and get to Freshford around 6?
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May 25th, 2009, 02:36 AM
  #31  
 
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Nailsworth to Bath is about 40 minutes, the A46 is a good road.

The W leads from Minchinhampton Common alongside of Box village - it doesn't go through the village.

The views are good, across Nailsworth, but you can't stop to admire them - it is steep, so much so that traffic coming up has to go into 1st gear on one if nor more of the bends, and it's only two lanes.

The Ladder is a footpath that goes almost vertically up the hillside from near the bottom of the W to the top. It is called the Ladder for fairly obvious reasons! I climbed the Ladder once - never again!

Along the valley from Nailsworth are a couple of other footpaths leading up to the common. They are called the Sheers and the Pitch - again references to their steepness.

Hope this helps a bit, I know very little about the north Cotswolds, but if I can help on this south-west part where I live then I will try.

Frankly, the views are stunning almost everywhere on Minchinhampton Common, you can see across the Severn vale to Wales in one direction, and over to the Marlborough Downs in another.
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May 25th, 2009, 03:12 AM
  #32  
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Thanks Julia, it's hard to imagine something that steep in The Cotswolds, I think of the area as gently rolling!

Sounds like we should plan for some time in Minchinhampton. I have emailed to my SIL some pictures of the areas we will be going to (she will also go with us to the North Devon Coast) and her response was that she never realized England had so much natural beauty. She thought of it more as filled with villages and historic buildings!

I am glad to hear the "W" is two lanes, I thought you were going to warn me it was one lane!

We will NOT be climbing "The Ladder" nor will we attempt The Sheers and The Pitch.

Do you know anything about the village of Minster Lovell? Looked neat with the River and the ruins.
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May 25th, 2009, 03:30 AM
  #33  
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Julia ~ what about Owlpen Manor and Uley Bury?
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May 25th, 2009, 05:56 AM
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Well, the Cotswold Hills to the north of the area are gently rolling, but further south towards the edge of the escarpment the valleys become much deeper and steeper. Here the stone is more grey than golden and the cottages are clustered closely together on the hillsides, seeming to tumble down the hills - just wait until you see Chalford and Bisley!

Owlpen Manor is wonderful, I really like it. It feels so old - well of course it is being 900 years, and I love that sense of the past you get when walking over the ancient oak floorboards and climbing uneven creaking stairs, but I do find old manor houses more appealing than stately homes. And it is supposedly haunted by quite a few ghosts which add to its charm; the painted cloths are interesting to see as they are so unusual.

I've not ever been to Uley Bury, though of course I've often driven by. The views from there are absolutely spectacular.
Nearby is Hetty Pegler's Tump, a neolithic burial mound...

http://thecotswoldgateway.co.uk/hist...glers-tump.htm
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May 25th, 2009, 07:02 AM
  #35  
 
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As you know, Minster Lovell is close to Burford. The village itself is tiny, "Cotswold perfect" and has a pub and restaurant. The ruins and an old church are down an easy path. Nice spot and spooky story.
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May 25th, 2009, 02:58 PM
  #36  
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You guys are giving me goose bumps, I am so excited about coming back to England and this area in particular! Re-visiting places that charmed us and showing them to my SIL and discovering new places, CAN'T WAIT!

However, I am not sure I am crawling on hands and knees with a torch (or flashlight here in the states!) into a burial tomb. Talk about spooky!!! And what exactly is a "Tump"?

We might have to pencil in Owlpen!

I thought the pictures of Minster Lovell that I found looked absolutely charming! Is the "spooky story" on-line?
wrenwood is offline  
May 25th, 2009, 03:51 PM
  #37  
 
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Not sure if it's online and not sure if it's true because I think I've heard similar tales about other houses. IF I remember correctly, a bride and groom were playing hide and seek on their wedding night; she hid in a trunk which locked and no one ever found her and everyone thought she had run off. Years later.....
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May 25th, 2009, 04:29 PM
  #38  
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oooohhhhhhhh I guess one sees a ghostly figure in a wedding dress ( or maybe slightly less clothes?)

I have always wanted to see a ghost and always terrified I might see one!
wrenwood is offline  
May 26th, 2009, 01:42 AM
  #39  
 
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Wren - Have you dropped Castle Combe /Lacock from your itinerary?
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May 26th, 2009, 04:45 AM
  #40  
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Hi Steve ~ not at all. We never made it last time, determined this time.

Two options ~ Tuesday before we head to Ilfracombe if we have time. My guess is we won't have time if we do Longleat and Wells Cathedral, what do you think? More probable is my husband and I will visit Castle Combe and Lacock at the end of our vacation after Stourhead

Do you know The Hop Pole Inn in Limpley Stoke? Priory Cottage suggested them for our Sunday dinner, said casual, serve late, good food. Have you eaten there? (have copied your list to vacation file)
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