If you live in a big metropolis, you might feel from time to time, the need to escape to peaceful quiet places. Where your body, mind and spirit can reconnect. The countryside and naturalistic places in general are just the perfect spot to do that.
Fresh air, huge green spaces, birds chirping and friendly people! If you share the experience with your loved ones even better. In this article, I’ll share with you how to organize your perfect escape to the Cotsowold, without having to spend a fortune and above all without a car! So if you want to find out. Keep reading.
We started our journey in a super comfy coach from London Victoria to Oxoford. Stagecoch is the company that run the services and you can take you ticket for as little as £8. In less than 2 hour we arrived in Oxford. From the upper deck we enjoyed a beautiful view throughout. Leaving the chaos of the capital behind, we saw the countryside unfolding, little villages stretching in the beautiful green country, and just beautiful nature.
Oxford itself is beautiful, you could even add a day there and visit one of the most renowned universities in the world. Great spot to visit if you’re passionate about the Harry Potter series. In fact the University library as well as other parts, have been used as set in the popular movies.
From Oxford we got a bus (S1) to Witney, where we had booked our accommodation. It only took us less than 30 minutes and again the journey itself was apleasure for the eyes. Tiny villages made with tipical honey coloured stone cottages, beautiful flowers all over and small traditional shops.
When we arrived in Witney, our walk to the Guesthouse was lovely. It looked like the time had stopped, and all you could hear was just the birds chirping. (I LOVE IT!). When we arrived at Laurels guest house, we were received by a warm and friendly host, Anna. She has made our stay wonderful throughout. Since it was our anniversary, she had even put fresh flowers in our room. Every morning we enjoyed a tasty breakfast with a view on the garden, it was just beautiful and relaxing, to start the day like that.
Here is a bit more about our itinerary.
After dropping our belongings in our cute room, we headed straight to Burford. It was less than 20 minutes, you can pay straight on the bus with a contactless card. Burford is simply beautiful. Situated in the south part of the Cotwolds, it’s tiny and a pleasure to walk around. We indulged in a small cafe that had a quiet, backyard terrace. The food was delicious and the atmosphere absolutely relaxed. Even in the other guests we could see how peaceful and quiet everyone was. Especially lovely old couples enjoying their traditional English cream tea.
After this short stop we explored an antique shop and if you are a fan of Harry Potter there you would find all items which probably were part of the movie set. Amazing! You can take beautiful pictures in Burford and the view from the hill will make them look amazing.
That’s when we most had time to discover and in fact that’s when we visited the most places. Again we took a bus from Witney to Nortleach, this little city itself is adorable, but our destination was actually Bibury. Probably one of the most iconic village of the Cotswold and even most photographed! Harlington Road indeed is the typical line of old pretty cottages that really represents the essence of the Cotswold. In Bibury we had lovely lunch at The Swan, a stunning hotel with a garden looking at all the beauty of Bibury. If you climb up the hill you can walk in the nature, cross a river and see the village. It is very small therefore you don’t need the entire day to visit it.
From Bibury we took a bus back to Northleach and there we caught another one to Burton-on-the Water. This place is absolutely stunning, it’s slightly bigger so you can walk around and follow along the river Windrush. You will find plenty of places to eat and several cute shops if you’re passionate about shopping. From here we decided to walk to Upper Slaughter, rather than catching another bus.
If you search for the naturalistic paths, you will enjoy a great hike in the middle of fields, woodland and hills. When we arrived, we were delighted by what we were seeing. It seemed as times had stopped there, there were people crossing the river on horses, just a few other people and an immense feeling of peace. Again from Upper slaughter you can find hiking path that takes you nearby towns. (You must be a really passionate hiker! You will walk a lot).
Our next and last stop was Stow-on-the-Wold. This medieval town up the hill will throw you back in time again and delight you with beautiful views and joyful walks. From here we caught a bus to Moreton-on-Marsh and got a train to Hangburgh and a bus to Witney.
It seems like a massive trip to do in one day only, but we absolutely loved it and enjoyed each second. even while commuting as the view was always delightful.
We did a circular hiking from Witney to Old Minster Lovell, where you can visit an old manor ruin passing from woodland, fields, river, waterfall and immense green spaces. Old minster lovell is a true hidden gem, once you get there you may not want to leave for the immense sense of peace you experience, and the cottages are truly stunning with their perfect and colorful gardens. From Minster Lovell you can hike around until Crawley and back to Witney. The whole hike can take you as little as couple of hours, but if you, like me love to stop and admire the beautiful natural surrounding it will certainly take you a bit more. After this mid day hike we returned to our hotel and from there back to Oxford to catch again a bus to London.
In short I just want to reassure you that if you are looking to have a delightful week end, and are unsure because you don’t have a car, stay assured you can have tons of beautiful experiences and really enjoy just with a little bit of organization and not a huge budget! In total as a couple we spent £400 for 3 days of pure enjoyment.
If you have any questions or need advice on how to plan your visit to the Cotwsold, please get in touch! I’ll be happy to help you to plan a stay as unforgettable as mine.