Tetbury anyone? Cotswolds?

Jan 25th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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Tetbury anyone? Cotswolds?

If you are familiar with this town in the Cotswolds can you give me your thoughts about it. We are hoping to spend 4 weeks in the Cotswolds this upcoming year and think this looks like a nice place to settle in. Any other towns in the Cotswolds you can personally recommend would also be welcome.
nanabee is offline  
Jan 25th, 2012, 06:29 PM
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I like Tetbury. There are some very good walks in the area if that interests you, including through the Westonbirt Arboretum. The Macmillan Way joins up with the Cotswold Way nearby giving one some interesting options.

I also like Winchcombe, a nice town not very overrun with tourists so retains a more "normal" atmosphere than some Cotswold places. And I think I like Wotton-under-Edge, not far from Tetbury, best of the 3. I've spent some time in all of them and prefer any of these to the more famous places to the north and east.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 25th, 2012, 06:31 PM
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thanks! will check these towns out.
nanabee is offline  
Jan 25th, 2012, 07:14 PM
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Tetbury is surrounded by rolling English countryside just like in the movies -- indeed, several productions have been filmed in the vicinity. Prince Charles' summer home, Highgrove, is outside town, but don't expect to drop in for tea. Sometimes its organic gardens receive visitors but you need to get on a waiting list. His organic products are sold at high prices by a shop in the centre of town.
The Duke of Beaufort's hunt still assembles its hounds and horses from Badminton House near Chipping Sodbury, legally of course, and spectators will be regarded with suspicion in the current atmosphere of controversy.
There remain a sprinkling of country pubs, but with enhanced menus, and the gentleman farmer rubbing elbows with you at the bar may be spending the weekend away from his business in London. I can recommend The Ormond in Tetbury both for well-mannered beer and fairly ambitious cooking.
Lots of info on the Internet; start here: http://www.cotswolds.info/places/tetbury.shtml
Southam is offline  
Jan 25th, 2012, 11:06 PM
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Highgrove isn't as inaccessible as its reputation implies.

They're now offering public tours of the gardens. Tickets for this summer go on sale February 13 (www.highgrovegardens.com/garden-tours.html), and though they're about £20 a head, there's a remarkable story behind what Charles has done with them, and how it all works, and you get a huge amount of guiding in the tour.

Westonbirt has a big school next door, which annually puts on the current production from the fabulous Bampton Festival Opera (www.bamptonopera.org/current.htm): second only to the Chipping Norton Pantomime as the Cotswolds' major artistic powerhouse. They do only the operas Mozart had to compete with, but have now been forgotten: fantastic tunes, brilliant production, amazing recent conservatoire graduates performing and even sillier libretti than Mozart. This year (August 26) it's Grétry's L’amant jaloux and Philidor's Blaise le savetier.

No, I haven't either. But in 1780 they'd have got audiences as big as Les Mis these days. And every Versailles cabbie would be whistling the tunes. If they'd had Muzak, you'd have heared the tunes in every shopping mall.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 06:34 AM
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thanks southam, your description sounds interesting - sounds like the pubs and restaurants are more sophisticated than one would think!

flanneruk, I will check out buying tickets for High Grove Gardens. The link (on my computer) was broken. That is definately something we would be interesed in. Thanks so much!
nanabee is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 08:53 AM
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Tetbury is a great place to base yourselves. I live a few miles away, so if you feel like a mini-GTG, let me know.

It's an easy 30 minute run to the Park & Ride on the hill above Bath.

Places to visit nearby are Chavenage House, which has been in lots of TV and films
also Berkeley Castle, Owlpen Manor, Kelmscot Manor, and then a bit further away you've got Sudeley Castle, and the rest of the more 'typical Cotswold towns and villages'.
Plenty of gardens to visit, Rodmarton is close by and several other local ones.

There are open-air concerts at Westonburt Arboretum on several weekends through the summer. Take a picnic and party! http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-738jen

There are many very pleasant pubs in the area too, and don't miss the little market towns of Nailsworth and Minchinhampton. There are good restaurants in both.

I'll probably think of lots more, but if you have any questions please come back and ask.
julia_t is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Well it looks like Tetbury it is! Thanks so much Julia and we will definately be in contact for a mini GTG! Next we have to decide when we will be traveling. I would like to go during the Christmas holiday time anywhere from Dec. 17 and return anytime around Jan. 25.

I have 5 weeks vacation but my husband is not sure yet how many weeks he can comfortable take off work.

B & B's or nice rental suggestions anyone?

Thanks again to everyone.
nanabee is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 09:55 AM
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I don't know any places around Tetbury, but there's a really nice little cottage in the village of Bisley, which has been rented by a few fellow Fodorites.

Songdoc and Maudie both stayed there, and wrote trip reports mentioning it...


Links to the cottage details



If I think of anywhere around Tetbury I'll let you know.
julia_t is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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here's another vote for Tetbury. lots of nice little tea-shops, restaurants, individual rather than chain stores, a weekly market, and lovely countryside. i make a point of stopping there when i am en route from cornwall to coventry, and always enjoy stopping there, whether to have a mooch around the shops or a coffee in the Snooty Fox.

if you wanted somewhere slightly bigger [to visit if not to stay in] the Cirencester is very nice. lots of lovely shops, restaurants, plus museums and an excellent market.

to the south of Tetbury, Westonbirt is indeed a treasure, but the whole of the Fosse Way [the Roman Road that runs from Bath to Lincoln] is worth exploring.

have a great trip!
annhig is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Julia, I briefly had a few minutes to check out songdoc's trip report. His photos are amazing. I will print out tonight and my DH & I will enjoy reading his TR.

Hi ann, we have also thought about staying in Cirencester but Titbury seems to be tops on many lists. I love the name Snooty Fox! It must be fox & hound country
nanabee is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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"the Roman Road that runs from Bath to Lincoln"

Tut, tut. From a West Country girl too.

From EXETER to Lincoln. And runs straight from Lincoln all the way to Ilchester. The Romans knew what to do with Cotswold NIMBYs wanting their cottage to be bypassed.

They went all soft once they got to Dorset and started allowing bends.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 11:23 AM
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Nanabee, remove the parenthesis from the Highgrove link and it will work. Your trip sounds lovely!

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 11:26 AM
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Tetbury is at the heart of Beaufort Hunt country. Kennels are at Badminton House which is the home of the present Duke.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (Charles and Camilla) both hunted regularly with the Beaufort. And many, many years ago, so did I. The wall of my father's garden was the boundary between Beaufort and Cotswold Hunts - and our stables were just on the Beaufort side!

Don't shoot me down for hunting - it was just something we all did growing up in the country, it was expected of us, and frankly I have nothing to feel ashamed of.
julia_t is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 12:27 PM
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I am not sure if Chavenage is going to be open to the public in 2012. I seem to remember that it stopped doing that after last season.

One place I can recommend is Woodchester Mansion. It is a large Victorian house that was never finished. Apart from being a bit spooky, you can see how the building was constructed and there are things like long ladders and a huge T-square that were used in its construction. Details are at www.woodchestermansion.org.uk, but note that opening times are limited and it's quite a walk from the car park.

I can also recommend the Roccoco Garden at Painswick, although you will be too late for the snowdrops. Details at www.rococogarden.co.uk/. There is outdoor theatre there in July.
chartley is online now  
Jan 26th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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julia - I just finished reading Forever Rumpole by John Mortimer (love him!) and he did a short story about the fox hunt in the Cotswolds - the woman was murdered by her husband's mistress while on the fox hunt. Hopefully that never happened in real life. I know it is controversial in England, but in the US it doesn't seem to be an issue we talk about much
nanabee is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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I'd seriously have second thoughts about mid-Advent to late Jan, though.

It's tricky from a pricing point of view (whatever you do, hotels and cottages want to jack prices up between Xmas and New Year), though that mightn't matter much in the overall scheme of things.

The problem is what happens after late Dec. We rarely have serious winters, and there's lots to do for 2 or 3 day visitors, even though most big attractions close till late Feb.

The weather's gloomy (even I don't walk the Flannerpooch as much, and he's got no complaints). Public activities (like concerts, Am Dram and evening talks) slow down: lots of people are away somewhere warm, and choirs and actors are rehearsing for their spring show. Getting dark at 4.30 and not getting light till 8 cramps many people's style.

If we live here, that's how things are and we write our novels, start our courses in Sanskrit, relaunch the business or start plotting to undermine the Tories' grasp on power in the May elections and the gloom actually helps all those things. But if I came here as a tourist - well at the very minimum, I'd stuff the Kindle with the entire corpus of Western literature, make sure the cottage had a smart HD TV (with guaranteed Freesat access), very fast WiFi and a Lovefilm subscription, and I'd have at least three strong personal improvement objectives (like, learn Thai cookery, lose 10 lbs and master the history of English gardening in the 17th to 19th century).

But if I'm honest: if I didn't live here (by which I mean the Cotswolds), I wouldn't spend the chilliest and darkest bit of the winter here. I'd happily spend it in London, and possibly Oxford. I'd even think of spending it close enough to Oxford (Charlbury springs to mind) to be able to wallow in the concerts and talks that carry on through the winter in towns like Oxford, or split my time between the Cotswolds in the runup to Xmas and somewhere more vibrant in Jan.

Personally I believe fox hunting's immoral, though I'd fight tooth and nail to defend people's right to hunt vermin any way they like, just like I'd defend adulterers' rights to screw around . But a weekly meet really doesn't make up for the inevitable chill of a Cotswold January the other 27 days
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 01:29 PM
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Oh do read/absorb flanner's last post. Was pretty near what I thought the instant I read Dec/Jan in your post. He gave more/better details/reasons than I would have. Just about nailed it. . .

I love the Cotswolds and could very happily spend a month there almost ANY time of year. But late Dec through Jan -- not so much. I lived near there (on the other side of Oxfordshire) and Jan. could be pretty dreadful. Of course, living there the gloom was broken up by Christmas festivities, house parties, trips into London for dinner/shopping and such. But the damp/short daylight/lack of activities might wear after a week/10 days
janisj is offline  
Jan 27th, 2012, 06:41 AM
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thanks flanner and janisj -- last night my DH and I were wondering about the weather in Dec/Jan. I meant to post the question last night but then woke up to flanner's helpful post this AM. So, maybe not winter then! Would November be slightly better? If not our next choice would be August 2012 or April (but then we'd have to make it April 2013 which is too far off).
nanabee is offline  
Jan 27th, 2012, 10:39 AM
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he did a short story about the fox hunt in the Cotswolds - the woman was murdered by her husband's mistress while on the fox hunt. Hopefully that never happened in real life. I know it is controversial in England, but in the US it doesn't seem to be an issue we talk about much >>

lol, what bit was controversial? the foxhunting or the murder?

flanner - mea culpa. I knew it was Exeter really, my fingers mis-typed.

i have to agree about the trip being in winter - even in a mild one like this, you will probably be quite restricted in what you can do out of doors. November might be better, but it's still gets dark early and can be pretty dismal. April would be my pick, but if you can't wait, August would be better than the winter.
annhig is offline  

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