1911 – Cotswolds-with-Walking
AT A GLANCE
Our Gardens-with-Walking tour of the Cotswolds combines a selection of England's finest gardens, with gentle walking across one of England's most picturesque landscapes.
When we say 'the Cotswolds' we really mean the Cotswold Hills, a range of low-lying limestone hills mainly in Gloucestershire, but spilling out into its neighbouring counties. It is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a rolling landscape dominated by farming for over a thousand years. Its history – and its historic wealth – is inextricably linked to the story of medieval English wool production, the riches from which are still very much in evidence today. And, pretty though the landscape is, its chief beauty is its villages and market towns, all largely built in late medieval times from local honey-coloured stone, and it is this image which the visitor seems to remember most.
We visit some of England's finest gardens, most notably Lawrence Johnson's garden at Hidcote Manor, Anne Chamber's garden at Kiftsgate Court, William Kent's landscape garden at Rousham House and Harold Peto's water garden at Buscot Park – an extraordinary collection of gardens, and as fine as anywhere in Britain. We also visit William Morris's home at Kelmscott Manor and a supporting cast of first-rate gardens.
In September we alternate our gardens-with-walking tours between Devon, where we walk on Dartmoor, and the Cotswolds, where the walking is of a gentler nature. We have planned two half-day walks, each little more than a gentle stroll, and one whole-day walk, of about 9 miles/14 kms. We don't rush, we take plenty of breaks and, on the whole-day walk, enjoy a decent stop for lunch at a local pub. All-in-all, the walks are suitable for all but the least-fit person.
Sleeping & Eating
We are staying at The Slaughters Country Inn, a wonderful hotel, superbly located in the charming village of Lower Slaughter, which we have used for all our Cotswold tours for the past three years. When we dine out, we will dine at two pubs, The Chequers Inn at Ettington, and a long-standing favourite of ours, The Village Pub in Barnsley.
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10 - 16 September 2019 | 7 days
Gardens = GREEN Hotels & Restaurants = RED Transport = BLUE Other Attractions = ORANGE
DAY 1 – TUE 10 SEP
Tim will collect you from either Stansted Airport or from the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, immediately north of Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport and, once we are all together, we drive west for lunch and the afternoon at Waterperry Gardens (Lily Pond, pictured above), the gardens of the famous, former School of Horticulture for Ladies, founded in 1932 by Miss Beatrix Havergal. Among many other things, the gardens include one of the finest herbaceous borders in the country.
From Waterperry it is about an hour's drive to the picturesque Cotswold village of Lower Slaughter and to The Slaughters County Inn, our hotel and home-from-home for the week, where we will arrive in good time to relax and enjoy drinks and dinner, at the hotel.
Today's driving is about 150 miles/240 km from Stansted, or 85 miles/135 km from Heathrow
DAY 2 – WED 11 SEP
We start the day with a visit to visit Sudeley Castle (pictured above) and its award-winning gardens. Set against the western edge of the Cotswold Hills, the castle enjoys a a tranquil setting, conveying little of its royal connections and often turbulent history. Sudely was home to Queen Katherine Parr, the last and surviving wife of King Henry VIII, and a refuge for King Charles I during the Civil War, when Cromwell ordered the castle to be 'slighted' - rendered ineffective.
We will have lunch at Sudeley, before embarking on a gentle afternoon's circular walk on the hills surrounding Sudely and returning to Lower Slaughter for dinner at our hotel.
Today's driving is about 60 miles/100 km
DAY 3 – THU 12 SEP
Our day is spent in the north of the Cotswold Hills, firstly with visits to Stow-on-the-Wold, one of the Cotswold's many picturesque market towns, and to Broadway Tower, for the views over the Vale of Evesham. We then have the whole of the middle part of the day at Hidcote Manor, a world-famous Arts & Crafts garden created, very largely, by Lawrence Johnston, an Anglicised American who began gardening at Hidcote shortly after his mother bought the estate in 1907. It became his life's work and one of England's most influential 20th-century gardens.
We lunch at Hidcote and, later in the afternoon, cross the road to visit neighbouring Kiftsgate Court (Half-moon Pond, pictured above), a romantic garden, again, of the Arts & Crafts period with far-reaching views over the Vale of Evesham, and home to the Kiftsgate Rose. Unusually, the garden has twice passed from mother to daughter, from Heather Muir, who made the garden, to her granddaughter, Anne Chambers, who gardens it today.
We have dinner at the excellent Chequers Inn, Ettington.
Today's driving is about 50 miles/80 km
DAY 4 – FRI 13 SEP
Our first visit is a private guided tour of Upton Wold (the view from the garden, pictured above), one of our favourite gardens on any of our tours. The garden, created by Ian and Caroline Bond since 1973, has just about everything one could wish for in a garden, and a setting to die for! We have coffee at Upton Wold before lunch in nearby Moreton-in-Marsh, another of the many charming market towns in the Cotswolds.
After lunch, in Moreton-in-Marsh, we embark on our second afternoon circular walk, around the village of Blockley and returning to Lower Slaughter for dinner at our hotel.
Today's driving is about 60 miles/100 km
DAY 5 – SAT 14 SEP
Today's circular walk starts and finishes from our hotel in Lower Slaughter and follows the two local rivers, the River Eye - which runs through the hotel grounds - and the slightly larger River Windrush. It is beautiful countryside and incorporates plenty of stops, including for lunch at a local pub!
The walk will be about 9 miles/14 km in total, and we will return to our hotel for dinner.
Pictured, above, is an extract from the Ordnance Survey showing Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter.
DAY 6 – SUN 15 SEP
We start our final full day with a wonderfully touristy drive along the Coln Valley, stopping at the Saxon church of St Andrew in Coln Rogers and again, in Bibury, to visit Arlington Row (pictured above), a medieval row of former weavers' cottages.
Our lunchtime destination is Kelmscott Manor, the Cotswold retreat of William Morris and his family, and of his friend and colleague Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelite artist. We will have lunch at Kelmscott and spend the early-afternoon exploring this centre of the Arts & Crafts movement, before the second half of the afternoon at nearby Buscot Park. Home of the Lords Farringdon, Buscot Park was built between 1779 and 1783 as an Italianate country house with extensive pleasure gardens that surround the house. On one side of the house, the walled kitchen garden now shelters the Four Seasons garden and, on the other side, woodland walks lead to one of Britain's finest water gardens, an unusual marriage of Italianate formality with an English parkland landscape. Overall, a beautiful house in a stunning setting.
We dine splendidly at The Village Pub, Barnsley, on our way home.
Today's driving is about 50 miles/80 km
DAY 7 – MON 16 SEP
After a decent breakfast and loading the minibus, our last day starts at Daylesford Organics, possibly the world's most perfect farm shop, where we can purchase a few goodies for a picnic lunch at Rousham House (pictured above), our final garden. Rousham is, in fact, a garden of two halves, the historically important eighteenth-century William Kent landscape, one of the few gardens of this date to have escaped alteration, and a charming walled garden with herbaceous borders, parterres and a pigeon house.
The Sheraton Heathrow Hotel is just over an hour away, and a little more than that again, to Stansted Airport, where the tour ends and where we will be in good time for your evening flight home. For those of you staying on, in Britain, and not wanting to return to either Heathrow Airport or Stansted Airport, we will assist you in getting to your next destination.
Today's driving is about 130 miles/210 km
During our tours we endeavour to be as faithful to our itineraries as possible, but sometimes changes do occur, either necessarily or unavoidably.