UKDays6&7: Cotswolds Fantasy Camp

When I was in junior high school, I used to check out all kinds of travel books on England from the library. I would pour over all the amazing photos of grand houses and little country villages, thinking that surely such beautiful places couldn’t really exist. (I think the U.S. has lots of natural beauty, but our additions to the landscape in most places have made it uglier not prettier.) The pictures that most captured my attention were of the Cotswolds. Chipping this and Chipping that, and of course, the Slaughters.  Since those early days fantasizing over the unbelievably picturesque Cotswolds I have been to the UK many times. But until this last trip, I had never truly gotten out into the countryside (just country towns with train stations). And, though I had been to the nearby cathedral towns of Gloucester and Worcester I had never gotten to the Cotswolds.

It is a little hard to describe what makes the setting so damned pretty. Certainly it is the color of the warm honey stone most of the buildings are made of. And the scale of the buildings and their juxtaposition with the idyllic landscape. They all just seem cozy. The reality of the situation is that there are cars and tour buses in the Cotswolds. And the towns seem to be playgrounds for the rich, which takes away some of the Miss Buncle quality. But overall these little Cotswolds towns are absolutely charming and did not disappoint in the slightest.

We didn’t get to as many towns as I thought we would have, but the slower pace was better for enjoying them anyway, so no loss there. And we didn’t take as many pictures as we would have liked. It was misting from time to time and we didn’t want to get the camera wet. But I think the pictures below of the Slaughters and a few of Chipping Campden will give you a feel for the magic of the Cotswolds.

The traffic sign may take away from this picture of Upper Slaughter, but its warning that the road ahead
has a ford and is not suitable for cars helps explain one of the photos below.

Upper Slaughter

Upper Slaughter

Upper Slaughter

Upper Slaughter

I mean, really. Are you serious? Can one place really be this pretty? And do people actually get to live here?
Notice the river branching off in the foreground. That is the aforementioned ford where the road goes right through the river.
Upper Slaughter

Upper Slaughter

A slightly better picture of the ford in Upper Slaughter.


On the trail from Upper to Lower Slaughter

Checking my flank for rogue sheep.

Someone posted a picture of this commemorative stile, or one very much like it, a while back on their blog.
Was it Rachel?

Entering Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter

On our way back to Upper Slaughter

Back in Upper Slaughter

Chipping Campden

Almshouses in Chipping Campden

This is the kind of cozy view, everything all close together and pretty, that I remember from my youth.
Chipping Campden

12 thoughts on “UKDays6&7: Cotswolds Fantasy Camp

  1. skiourophile June 10, 2012 / 8:31 am

    It's almost otherworldly pretty. What did you do with the other people there?! Perfect.


  2. Kim June 10, 2012 / 9:58 am

    Wow. This brings back memories from years ago when my darling dad, two sisters, and I went on this same walk. Love the Slaughters (terrible name, though). Your pics are fab!


  3. StuckInABook June 10, 2012 / 10:42 am

    It was I who posted the Charles and Diana gate! And it was the very same one – my housemate and I 'collect' commemorative things – preferably for the millennium (every village has one – mine has a signpost, since our roads don't have names on them) but this was brilliant too.


  4. martine June 10, 2012 / 5:13 pm

    Yes, people really do live there, but mainly people like Kate Winslett:-) who resides just down the road. And we did, but not sure it was so idyllic as all that, the slightly fascistic local council ensures the homogeneity of the environment, even new build must be clad in cotswold stone (the local indian takeaway was obliged to repaint their window frames as it was deemed too bright a colour for the high street in Moreton).
    but glad you finally got to visit.
    best wishes


  5. JoAnn June 11, 2012 / 9:25 am

    Lovely photos – reminiscent of our day in the Cotswolds in 2008. Thank you!


  6. Ti June 11, 2012 / 12:26 pm

    Right out of a storybook. Seriously.


  7. Cal June 11, 2012 / 12:50 pm

    Thanks for the memory-triggering photos of one of my own favorite spots on the globe. (There's a hidden pond behind one of those villages that I stumbled upon that I immediately felt was sort of “the navel of the world” – a place I think of when I need a peaceful mental image. There are so MANY wonderful places in England to visit, so I have to keep resisting the impulse to re-visit the Cotswolds. Glad you also appreciate this area. And thanks for the unpretentious blog and the unpredictable books you read. (Just last week, on the basis of your mania for Brookner, I decided to order all the missing titles of hers in our library that I could get hold of.)


  8. Jennifer June 11, 2012 / 7:15 pm

    So lush and serene….I think I may have to plan a Cotswalds trip


  9. picky June 11, 2012 / 11:45 pm

    Absolutely, positively gorgeous. I really, really want to go to the Cotswolds.


  10. michelle June 12, 2012 / 6:32 am

    The Cotswolds are really in a world of their own. Did you hop over to Bourton-on-the-Water as well? That has got to be one of the prettiest place for one to spend a slow and relaxing day admiring the old world charm of the Cotswolds. Thanks for the lovely photos!


  11. Thomas at My Porch June 12, 2012 / 1:46 pm

    Ski: The Slaughters and the backside of Chipping Campden had far fewer people than most places. Probably helped that it as midweek as well.

    Kim: Nice to know it is still there I bet.

    Simon: I knew I had seen it before.

    Martine: Its always a tradeoff in these kinds of settings isn't it. Window frame color requirements may be taking it too far though.

    JoAnn: Maybe it is time to go back.

    Ti: That is what I thought too.

    Cal: I love your imagery “the navel of the world”.

    Jennifer: Oh you should. You can stop and check the sheeps' teeth.

    Picky: It really is so picturesque.

    Michelle: We didn't do to BOTW. We decided to see fewer places so we could soak in the places we did see.


  12. Rebecca Snow July 8, 2012 / 5:30 am

    I realize I am very late to request a Tea Towel, but just in case I thought I'd send this out.
    I loved all the photos of your visit. I am an artist and the compositions of the photography were just wonderful. I think John should print them in High contrast black and white and sell them as BIG PRINT giclee stretched on Canvas. The whole series made me want to leave Hawaii for a week and fly to England. That is very unusual. I sent your blog address to my daughter who is collecting book blogs. She was thrilled. She just finished the Mitford books and is sad to have finished.


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