During my pregnancy, I suffered from gestational diabetes, which meant I was tired a lot more than usual for pregnancy and even sometimes bed-bound as my energy levels were low. I was desperate for an adventure but I knew there was no way I’d be getting on a plane abroad with my condition. I didn’t want to risk raising my blood pressure or getting blood clots so I had to settle for something more practical in the U.K. We decided on the Cotswolds after my mother had been there and had talked endlessly of how she wanted to retire there. For those who don’t know, the Cotswolds is a rural region in south east England covering Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. The area has been preserved since medieval times with stately homes, churches and pubs. There are areas of newer buildings but they tend to be built of the same distinct limestone. Kate Moss famously got married here as it is very picturesque. Other celebrities who live in the area include Prince Harry and Duchess Megan Markle who reportedly rent a thatched cottage, Hugo Grant, Sir Patrick Stewart and my favourite, Damien Hirst.
Where we stayed...
We stayed in a quiet village near Castle Comb, pictured above and below. We had all our dinners in the pubs in Castle Combe as we just could not get enough of this village.
Below is the house where we stayed for the long weekend - with the green door - booked through booking.com. You won’t see houses like this in London at all!
What we saw...
We visited Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter which has a lot less tourists but I didn’t get an opportunity to take any photos as it was raining every time we passed the villages on our way elsewhere. Both are well-worth a visit, with a river running through them and great picnic spots. We drove up north of the Cotswolds to Stow-On-The-Wold. It is an old market town with art galleries, cute cafes and boutiques.
On the penultimate day of our visit, we visited two villages. We found out about Bibury from locals and they insisted that it was a must-see and it certainly was. There were surprisingly plenty of Chinese tourists in this village but not so surprising once you start walking along the river in the village. This really is the most beautiful village I have ever seen and I have been to a lot of places in England - just picture perfect - although that must have its disadvantages. For example, would you live in a village so pretty that it gets lots of strangers peeping through your window?
I still wasn’t convinced that the Cotswolds was THE place to retire until.... we discovered Chipping Campden! This village made me actually walk into an estate agent to find out the house prices and yes, as expected, the houses in this area do not come cheap. I would happily retire in a nice 2 bed cottage in this region, or at least try and find an equivalent elsewhere.
What we did...
There are a lot of hiking/ walking paths in the Cotswolds but as I was not feeling fit enough in my last trimester, we tended to drive a lot and we came across signs that led us to this tower. It is called Broadway Tower by Capability Brown. It stands at 312m high on a hill and apparently on a good day, you can see 16 counties around it. I say apparebecause the weather was terrible when we visited obviously.
There are also plenty of pubs, a water park and crafts shops and even a miniature museum in the area so if you’re looking for a last minute getaway with the kids, try this region.