We know what we are, but know not what we may be – William Shakespeare.
I cannot remember the last time I had anything to say about travel. I miss it. The great thing about travel, however, is that you don’t necessarily need to hop on a plane in order to undertake a brand new adventure. England is full of beautiful places. It is a country that us Brits forget about in terms of travel. There is so much history and culture crammed into our tiny country that it seems impossible to look over, and yet we do. Stratford-Upon-Avon is somewhere I have longed to visit ever since a uni mate of mine had called it (near) her home. Fast forward a few years and I’ve finally visited it myself, as well as the beautiful surrounding areas. It is every creatives dream; a place to reflect, inspire and relax in.
The Cotswolds is home to the fresh smell of country air, long winding roads, pubs on each village corner and is a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of daily city life where running after buses and weaving between hoards of people is the daily norm. If it hasn’t been on your list of places to visit in England, it will be after this post.
EAT IN NATIONAL HERITAGE BUILDINGS
One of the best things about The Cotswolds is that every other building is either a listed building, a piece of national heritage or so full of history, you can’t help but imagine what life was like in England all those years ago when the buildings are right there in front of your very eyes. One of the places we visited, an old haunt and a place I will be returning to, is The Fleece Inn in Bretforton. It is owned by The National Trust, still standing six centuries after its being built. The ingredients for its food and ales are locally sourced, and I can vouch that the good ol’ traditional steak and ale pie with mash and veg is as mouth-watering and delicious as it should be.
SEEK OUT SHAKESPEARE
Any English Literature student will be in awe of Stratford-Upon-Avon. All brown tourist signs point to the home of Shakespeare for miles, making sure you know exactly who was born in this great town, and who is laid to rest in its church. I got extra giddy the closer we got to Holy Trinity Church because I knew full well that I would be inches away from where Shakespeare lay. I have this thing about history and dead bodies and graves. I like to think that I’m not weird, but clearly I am. However, Shakespeare is an incredible influence on everything we do today; not only the lessons we learn and the books we read, but the words we say and the language we use. Anne Hathaway is laid next to him as is his daughter to his right. There is a small fee to see the indoor graves; this keeps the church afloat. I think we forget that churches do not run on faith, but money too. As for his home, it costs £17.50 to visit with additional costs to gain access to walks and various other historical spots. If you are a history buff, you will understand the sheer excitement of standing within those walls of Shakespeare’s homes, listening to the facts of life in Tudor England as well as what occurrences would be happening if the clocks were turned back hundreds of years. There are pots with the smells of the time, pieces of leather hung around the original workshop of Shakespeare’s father, and historians sharing anecdotes and tales of their realities. Outside, members of the Royal Shakespeare Company speak monologues of his favoured characters. Through to the shop (there is always a shop), there are volumes of his classics, prints, scarves and everything in between to take home as a souvenir of your visit.
ENJOY THE COUNTRY AIR
The reason why I began this travel post with escape is I really felt as though I was escaping the norms of everyday life when I travelled south for a few days – like geese escaping the bitter winter. There is something slower and more relaxing about visiting the countryside; everything doesn’t seem as frantic or rushed or stressful. It is as though the country air is literally filled with pieces of stress relief. Now, I’m not a fan of that country air – the smells of the cows and the farms – but you do get used to it after having the wind blown in your face as you zoom up and down country lanes, in a safe manner of course. It is a literal breath of fresh air, and it makes you feel so much more energised.
My time in the Cotswolds was short and sweet, and the first of many trips down there in the future. I can’t wait to return to Stratford to go and visit Shakespeare as if he’s an old buddy of mine, as well as look around their Waterstones (one of the best I’ve seen) and wander down by the river as the leaves turn from green to red. There is so much more that I want to see on my mini adventures there, and I will most likely bring you all along with me. As much as I love the city life, I do love an escape to the country.
Have you visited The Cotswolds before? Where would you recommend as an absolute must?
Love, Faye xo