Monday, August 15, 2011

English Cottage Memories

Our first visit to England was in 1995. 
We helped chaperone our #2 daughter's teenage folk dance group for 17 days as the group of 48 traveled by bus through England, Wales, Scotland and back to London.
During that trip GJ and I stayed in homes with host families, in a Bed and Breakfast, in a Holiday Flat,  and in a London college dorm.
It's not the type of trip I would choose to repeat at my current age, but it was a wonderful experience, and just enough in each location to make us want to go back to Britain.  Especially to the Cotswolds, the location of our first home stay, and our first ever English Cream Tea. (a pot of tea with scones served with clotted cream and jam) 

We returned to the Cotswolds in September 1998 and stayed for a week in Grove View Cottage in the tiny village of Calcot.  (Photos above and below.)
That was GJ's first time to drive on "the other side of the road."  We rented a car at Gatwick and off we went!
He was the driver and I was the navigator.  And, that's the way it's been on all our trips to Britain since then. 
Every morning he started out on the "right" side of the road, but quickly switched to the left. 
Fortunately, the tiny village only had one very short street! 
The cottage description:  "Grove View Cottage is situated in a very peaceful setting within a small row of similar properties and has beautiful views across farmland to the River Coln.  There are plenty of excellent walks from the cottage and this delightful 18th century cottage has plenty of beams and an inglenook fireplace.  There is a small secure garden with lovely views."   We enjoyed our week here and laughed every time GJ hit his head on the low beams, and when he  and I maneuvered our luggage up and down the "steep staircase."

We returned to the Cotswolds in May 2002 and stayed a week in Pump Cottage in the village of Ebrington, near Chipping Campden. (below)  AJ celebrated his 3rd birthday on this trip.

The photo below is of AJ playing in the back garden of Pump Cottage. 
I was warned the Brits might not appreciate a little boy tagging along, but who could resist this little cutie?!?
He was a hit everywhere he went!
The cottage description: "Pump Cottage is located in the heart of the village, with the old water pump in the front garden.  Ebrington is a delightful village with its thatched roofs, village green and public house.  It is ideally situated for visiting many beautiful and historic areas in and around the Cotswolds.  Chipping Campden is two miles away, and a short drive will take you to Broadway and its tower with panoramic views of the countryside." 

After Ebrington, we moved to the village of Frittenden in Kent where we stayed for the second week of our May 2002 visit  in an Oast house.
An Oast House or hops kiln was for drying hops.  Most have now been converted into homes.
The cottage description: "Nestling in the grounds of the owner's home, Weversden Oast is a charming conversion of a typical Kentish single roundel Oast brick kiln topped by a cowl and a white weather boarded barn. Located on the edge of this typical Kentish village of Frittenden with its pretty church, traditional pub and village store/post office providing all your everyday needs including delicious local bread!  Surrounded by picturesque farmland the village is quiet and peaceful, with a relaxing atmosphere, the ideal place for guests to enjoy a rural atmosphere whilst being accessible to Blue Flag beaches, quaint market towns, ancient churches and countless other visitor experiences."

In September 2003, AJ was four years old when we stayed one week at Styche Cottage in Winchcombe. 
The description:  "Styche Cottage is a 17th Century terraced cottage situated on the edge of the delightful town of Winchcombe and walking distance from good shops, pubs and restaurants and Sudeley Castle, with its beautiful gardens, Cheltenham, Chipping Campden, Stratford-upon-Avon and Stow-on-the-Wold are within easy driving distance.  The cottage may have been used for stitching gloves for a local industry many years ago hence the name, which is pronounced stitch.'.  The accommodation is on three floors with two sitting rooms.  There is a delightful secluded garden about 50 yards from the rear of the cottage approached via a private pathway." 
 We enjoyed our stay in this cottage.  It was spacious and within walking distance of grocery stores and tea rooms.
The local church had a "table-top" sale while we were there. (similar to a church bazaar here)
AJ carried his bunny named Daffodil to and from England.  Here he is in the back garden. 
Daffodil currently resides in the playroom downstairs. 

The second week of our September 2003 stay in the Cotswolds was in a house on a farm near Shipton-Under-Wychwood. 
Thecottage  description: "Shepherd's Cottage is situated at the end of a lane and surrounded by farm fields.  It has wonderful views across the Evenlode Valley and offers peace and tranquillity for those who wish to 'get away from it all'.  There is a secluded garden at the rear of the property with garden furniture.  Nearest shop and pub is about one mile away."
The "boys" loved being on the farm. They roamed around and played in the fields.
 It was very quiet after being on the main road in Winchcombe for the week before!

In May 2008, we wanted to show AJ more of Britain than during previous trips.  We stayed three nights in London, then traveled in Scotland staying four nights.  We returned to London and drove to Chipping Campden and stayed a week in Whistler's Corner Cottage.
The cottage description: "Whistler's Corner is a Victorian semi-detached cottage, principally constructed of Cotswold stone under a slate roof, and is two minutes walk from the High Street.  Chipping Campden is one of the most beautiful of all the historic Cotswold market towns, and is well known for its traditional Cotswold architecture, aspects of which date back to the Middle Ages.  There is a good range of shops that cater for most everyday needs, and also an abundance of continental/English restaurants and pubs."

Whistler's Corner in Chipping Campden is our favorite cottage and location of all our self-catering cottage experiences.
Duing the 2008 trip, we also stayed in fancy hotels, small inns, bed and breakfasts, and a "coaching house" in Devon.
We were making memories with AJ as we traveled across England, Scotland and Wales.   

We all look forward to our next visit to England!


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