Lorna’s best places to visit in the Cotswolds
Lorna, an expert copywriter here at Bolthole Retreats, reflects on her first year with us and chooses her favourite places in the Cotswolds.
Even though I’ve lived here for over 20 years, after joining Bolthole Retreats earlier this year, it has been a revelation rediscovering the Cotswolds.
One of the first cottages I explored is the utterly-fabulous Colebrook Cottage in the village of Blockley. This gorgeous house is the former police station and has been beautifully finished, but what really stood out was how the former cells have been incorporated into the design. I also happen to have a bit of a soft spot for Blockley as a relation was a shepherd here many moons ago. I love that it has managed to retain a real sense of community, and the café is pretty good, too!
Another memorable favourite, but at the other end of the size scale, is Lily Cottage. It felt like stepping into a fairy tale. Small, but absolutely perfectly formed, this tiny, thatched cottage overlooks the Great Tew Estate and the views are simply glorious. For somewhere to completely relax and unwind, especially in the winter months when you can bundle up and head out on bracing walks and then warm up in front of a cosy fire, this would be my go-to.
In August, a friend and I retraced our footsteps on the Broadway to Stanton walk, a trail that we first discovered five years ago, whilst in training for a marathon charity walk on the Cotswold Way. Starting in Broadway, the walk climbs steeply up the escarpment, which takes a little effort (well on my part anyway) and winds through beautiful woodland. It’s a very peaceful walk, and we saw plenty of deer, birds, and as is usual in the Cotswolds, a lot of sheep. The trail passes an Iron Age hill fort and then weaves downhill into the pretty village of Stanton. Filled with Cotswold stone cottages, it’s a village that looks untouched by the passing of time. The walk passes the Mount Inn, which is perfect for a refreshing drink. We sat on the terrace in the sunshine looking out at the view that never ceases to amaze me – on a clear day you can see for miles. This walk can be extended on into the medieval town of Winchcombe, which I’d definitely recommend if you have the time and the energy left in your legs!
My favourite season of the year is autumn, closely followed by winter. There is something very special about seeing the dramatic colours as the seasons change and this year’s annual visit to Batsford Arboretum, near Moreton-in-Marsh, was as memorable as always. I’ve come to realise over time that the autumn colours throughout the Cotswolds really are quite impressive, and whilst perhaps not on a New England scale, the last few weeks have been magnificent.
Finally, although it doesn’t strictly fall into this year, one of my favourite memories is of a very soggy evening at the Cotswold Farm Park two days before Christmas in 2020. After the strangest of years, I managed to coerce my teenage daughter into a festive meander around their magical Christmas illuminations. The ability to toast marshmallows and warm up with creamy hot chocolates around a flaming fire pit sealed the deal for her and sweetened the fact that the rain was torrential.
We can’t wait to read Lorna’s thoughts after another year with Bolthole Retreats.