A Long Autumnal Weekend in the Cotswolds

A few weeks ago, my mam & I took a trip to the Cotswolds for the weekend.

We haven’t been anywhere abroad since the pandemic kicked in and we fancied seeing a new part of the UK that neither of us had been to before.

So, we packed up the car on a warm, autumnal morning and headed to the Cotswolds.

Exploring Bourton-on-the-Water

I’d heard wonderful things about Bourton-on-the-Water and it was actually where we were meant to be staying.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to change our accommodation at the last minute but we still wanted to see this beautiful little riverside village for ourselves.

Parking was easy and it was just a short stroll to the heart of the action.

Sunlight sparkled on the river as we meandered around this gorgeous spot, lazily wandering into the little shops on the water’s edge.

Weeping willow at Bourton on the Water

I bought some little crystal earrings and we tucked into a delicious cream tea and coffee cake as we overlooked the river.

It was a truly stunning village and the absolute epitome of the quaint English countryside.

We headed back here on our way home too and popped into a little shop called The Looking Glass where I bought a little print from the Beatrix Potter book, ‘The Tailor of Gloucester.’ It’s so cute and I can’t wait to put it up in our home!

If we came back again, we’d definitely be heading back to the Green & Pleasant Tea Rooms too. A cosy little gem, the cream teas looked HUGE – you’d certainly be getting a lot for your money.

Staying at the Royal George Hotel

We chose to stay at the Royal George Hotel in Birdlip for the two nights we were in the Cotswolds.

Based in a small village, this was a comfy place to lay our head and was also pretty convenient for dinnertime meals, meaning I could have an alcoholic drink at the hotel rather than driving somewhere else!

We tucked into some delicious grub here and it did not disappoint in terms of quality. The rooms are in need of a little TLC but everything was clean and that was the most important thing for me.

A Day in Oxford

I’ve never been to Oxford before but I’ve always really wanted to visit and having the car with me made it that much easier to navigate.

We drove along beautiful country roads (basically one road all the way to Oxford) on a crisp, misty morning with the fog hanging over the fields.

Oxford colleges

It was beautiful and as the sun started to shine, we pulled into the Worcester Road car park near Oxford city centre to start exploring. I paid £28 for 6-8 hours here which is pretty pricey but not surprising for a city car park.

Turning up the road, we came across the market which was brimming with wonderful stalls. Immediately, I was drawn to a stand with maps all over it and found a colourful vintage map of Skye – where myself and Yan got engaged.

I knew I had to have it so it’s joined the Beatrix Potter print in my collection of artwork-to-put-on-the-walls-when-we-get-five-mins.

A posh cuppa and beautiful artwork

My mam had told me about the Randolph Hotel before we had even set off for Oxford, as she visited for a drink with her friend many moons ago.

So when we found ourselves outside, nervous about the price of a cup of tea, we decided it wasn’t even up for debate. What if we never got the chance again?!

We shared a pot of tea for two in the Alice bar which (thankfully!) only came to about £6 between us.

The Alice bar

And although we may have got some looks from a lady in pearls as we took plenty of photographs, it was worth it to spend time in such a stunning place.

Just across the road sits the beautiful Ashmolean and we’d booked tickets online to get in (tickets are free but they were doing staggered entry when we visited).

This place is a must-see if you’re in Oxford with so many gems to be discovered.

Exploring the Ashmolean

I’ve really missed visiting museums and getting up close to the artwork. It was amazing to see the array of portraits and landscapes from so many different eras – the mastery behind them all is exquisite.

There are also plenty of artifacts to discover – you can spend a good couple of hours here exploring everything on offer.

A sprinkle of magic

I’d also booked tickets for the wonderful Oxford Botanic Gardens which I knew my mam would enjoy.

On our way over, we passed the iconic Oxford colleges and I was so keen to get into at least one of the halls and see the beautiful architecture.

Oxford colleges

Stepping into the courtyard is enough but once I found out you could get into the Divinity Hall for just a fiver, I was sold.

A place of legend, this was where Divinity (i.e. religion students) would actually recite their entire thesis to their professor. I, for one, would be absolutely terrible in that scenario.

This was also where the hospital scenes for Harry Potter were filmed, which I’m not ashamed to admit, I was enthralled by.

The Divinity Hall

The Botanic Gardens were as gorgeous as I expected too. There was even a wedding taking place when we arrived, with a beautiful classic car escorting guests.

I’d thoroughly recommend visiting here, even in the colder months. The colours alone are enough to brighten your day.

Oxford Botanic Gardens

On our way back to the car, we stopped off at the High Street Tea Rooms for something sweet to eat and they did not disappoint.

We enjoyed some delicious waffles that hit the spot.

I can’t wait to return to the Cotswolds soon – such a beautiful part of the world.

Oxford Botanic Gardens

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