When my friend Karen, visiting from London, told me she wanted to see more of the English countryside, I knew just where to bring her: the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are an area of outstanding natural beauty in England; picture quintessential limestone colored villages with thatched roofs and peaceful countryside.
With a whole day ahead of us to explore, we selected a few of the attractions in the north Cotswolds that had eluded me thus far: Broadway Tower, the village of Broadway, Sudeley Castle, and the Rising Sun pub.
Broadway Tower is located in the aptly named Broadway village. It is located along the Cotswold Way, a 102-mile footpath that stretches along the Cotswolds region, Broadway Tower was built on Broadway Hill, the second highest point in the Cotswolds.
Completed in 1798, Broadway Tower was the brainchild of the great 18th century landscaper Capability Brown (who also designed the gardens at Highclere Castle, better known as Downtown Abbey!).
The tower was built for Lady Coventry, who wondered whether a tower on this hill could be seen from her home 22 miles away in Worcester, which it could. Over the years it has been used a printing press, holiday retreat for artists, and played a role in both world wars as an observation point to spot enemy planes.
Today you can visit and climb up the tower (admission is £5 adult/£4.50 concessions/£3 children) to learn about the tower’s history in exhibits on each landing, and to take in the spectacular views across the Cotswolds from the top.
The Village of Broadway
The village of Broadway, in Worcestershire, has been named the “Jewel of the Cotswolds”, and not without reason. The wide grass-fringed streets lined with honey-colored limestone buildings, many dating back to the 16th century, create a pleasant setting in this village. The High Street is lined with a variety of shops, cafes, and art galleries which we enjoyed perusing – I also was pleased to see that it was void of chain shops.
After popping into the Cotswold Chocolate Company, where I bought supplies to make hot chocolates for Mark and me, we headed to No32, a cafe, for a relaxing lunch outside on their patio.
Sudeley Castle and Gardens
The next stop on our Cotswolds day trip was Sudeley Castle. The castle is the former home of Catherine Parr, King Henry VIII’s 6th wife. After King Henry VIII’s death she went to live in there with her true love, Thomas Seymour, but shortly after giving birth died. She is buried in St Mary’s Chapel, on the castle grounds.
There’s more to Sudeley Castle than Catherine Parr though; we found exhibits on the current family that has owned the castle for a few hundred years. As it was a nice day, we spent a lot of time walking around the award winning gardens.
Rising Sun pub
On the outskirts of Cheltenham, is the Rising Sun pub. Not just your average pub, the Rising Sun’s view overlooks several counties, and on very clear day you can even see the mountains in Wales. After a long day of sightseeing, we enjoyed relaxing here with a drink before heading back home for the night.
Have you been to the Cotswolds? Where’s your favorite part?
For more posts on the Cotswolds, read: