Welcome to The Cotswolds!

I love the English Cotswolds and think everyone should visit this beautiful place at least once in their lifetime. Having lived all over the world and traveled as much as possible, I still think that this little part of England is one of the world's greatest treasures. This site is dedicated to helping spread the word and encourage sustainable travel to the Cotswolds.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please help spread the word by sharing with your friends!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Lavender Fields Forever

In Snowshill, Worcestershire, part of the North Cotswolds, lies 53 acres of lavender fields. That’s over 70 miles worth of lavender rows. Now, Snowshill is one of the more beautiful areas of the Cotswolds, if that is at all possible. But seeing the rolling green hills give way to this very unusually placed palette of every shade of purple, pink, and white is something truly unique.

Of course, if you love lavender this place is hard to beat. They sell all manner of products from their distillery and have a very nice little garden centre, too. And if you can’t make it there, but like what they’re doing, they ship their products to the UK, US, and most of Europe.

But it’s the scenery of the area and the way the smell of these fields mix with the Cotswold air that makes a trip here one of the most rewarding in the region. Honestly, I could sit on an overlooking hill with a pile of canvases, some oil paints, and a cooler of Cotswold Way for the whole day…. Here are some photos of the fields to get you inspired!

Not only can I smell it…. I can almost taste it, too. By the way- if you’ve never used lavender in cooking, you must give it a try. Its great mixed with thyme, oregano, and rosemary to coat pork or chicken before roasting or grilling, and it is used quite a lot in baking, too. Here’s a great recipe for lavender crème brulée from Jamie Oliver.

Visit the Snowshill Lavender official website here

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Fishing The Cotswolds

I realise it's isn't exactly the time of year to think about fishing, especially with all the snow on the ground. But, if you're a fisherman, there isn't really any time of the year you don't think about getting down to the water and angling for a free supper. So, if you or someone you know loves fishing- particularly for trout, grayling or carp, The Cotswolds is an excellent place to go. Below are all the licensed fisheries in the region and, when available, links to their sites. There are plenty of professional guides in the area who can help plan a holiday, too (I haven't used any, so can't really recommend anyone). However, I do recommend fly fishing for brown trout and/or grayling on the River Coln. It's a beautiful, clear river that runs through the Cotswolds and into The Thames near Burford.


Bibury, Nr Cirencester, Glos.
Telephone: 01285 740 215 or 740 212
Fax: 01285 740 392
Shop open all year. Fishing March to October, weekends and Gloucestershire school holidays only. Please call before travelling.

Day ticket permits for The Windrush Town Water from Orvis, High St. Burford.
Telephone: 01993 823 566.
Shop open Monday to Saturday. Saturday 9.30am to 5.30pm. Sunday 11.00am to 4.30pm
Coarse fishing from June 15 to March 15.
Fly fishing from 01 April to the end of October.

Chadlington, Nr. Chipping Norton, OX7 3NQ
Telephone: 01608 676 422
Website: www.lowercourt.co.uk
Two acres of water in a quiet, beautiful position. Stocked with 5 different types of Carp up to 24lb, Bream, Orfe, Tench, Rudd, Roach. Ground bait in moderation. No boilies or peanuts. Barbless hooks only. Fishing Dawn to Dusk.

3 lakes at Great Rollright, Near Chipping Norton
Telephone: 01608 684 319
Mobile: 07939 512 912.
Coarse fishing, open all year. Day and Evening tickets. Night fishing by arrangement. Toilets.

RECTORY FARM, Salford, Nr Chipping Norton.
Telephone: 01608 643 209
Mobile: 07866 834 208
Website: www.salfordtroutlakes.co.uk.
Fly fishing for trout 15 March to 01 November. Day and evening fishing. Tuition by appointment. Tackle for hire. Toilet.

Website: www.ashtonkeynesanglingclub.info
Lakes 31, 32 and 56 day tickets and members.
Lakes 34, 59, 78a and 78b members only.
Day and weekly visitor tickets available from The Rangers Office at Keynes Country Park or Local tackle shops.Valid 9:00am to 9:00pm.
Night fishing for members only. Facilities for disabled anglers. Some angling all year, some waters have closed season.

Cotswolds Fly Fishing Lessons - Professional tuition and fly fishing for trout on lake and river within the Cotswolds Waterpark.
Email: enquiries@midlands-flyfishing.co.uk
Website: www.midlands-flyfishing.co.uk
Telephone: 01782 394 564

The Fisherman’s Rest, Broadway Lane, South Cerney, GL7 5UH
Telephone: 01285 861 876
Website: www.scac.org.uk
Email: info@scac.org.uk
Lakes 17, 18, 23, 26 and 63. Season, weekly and day tickets available from clubhouse (lake 18) and local tackle shops. All varieties of coarse fish. Includes 2 easy catch lakes suitable for younger members and day visitors. Disabled facilities. Licensed bar.

Telephone: 01285 862 716.
Comprehensive range of fishing tackle, fresh and frozen bait. Day Tickets for all Watermark Fisheries lakes can be purchased from The Tackle Den.

Telephone: 01285 862 680
Website: www.watermarkfisheries.com
Diverse range of angling experiences specialising in Trout and Carp fishing.

Telephone: 07711 831 856.
Website: www.wildmoorwaters.co.uk
Lake 2. Quality Carp fishing with two water’s edge log cabins.

Mobile: 07769 121 742
Website: www.churnpool.co.uk
Lake 8. Day and season tickets available at the lakeside. Tuition available by arrangement.

Telephone: 01367 253 959
Website: www.thecarpsociety.com
Members of Carp Society only. Day tickets and membership available from Carp Society, Horseshoe Lake, Burford Road, Lechlade GL7 3QQ.
Refreshments – ring for details – and shop.

Telephone: 01367 253 266
Website: www.lechladetrout.com
Email: tim@lechladetrout.co.uk
Lake 117. Day, half-day and evening tickets available all year for fly fishing on 2 lakes and 250 yards of river. Boat and rod hire, tuition, tackle shop and clubhouse. Breakfast bookable. Corporate days by arrangement. Special rates for accompanied child (u/16).
Access next to River Leach off A361. Good disabled access. Disabled fishing platform and wheelie boat.

Churchill Heath, Nr. Kingham, OX7 6UJ.
Telephone: 01608 658 491
Take A436 then B4450 from Stow-on-the-Wold. After 5 miles turn right signposted Lyneham. Lake on right. Closed 15 March to 15 June 15
Camping and Caravan Club Site.

Near Moreton-in-Marsh.
Telephone: 01608 650 872
Website: www.lemingtonlakes.co.uk
Coarse fishing Take A429 north from Moreton, after crossing bridge turn immediately right signposted to Todenham. After 1½ miles fishery is on left. Bait available. Tackle for sale and hire. Open all year 7:00am till dusk.Tuition by arrangement. Refreshments available. Tackle shop on site. Touring caravan site.

Telephone: 01451 831 470
Website: www.discoverycarp.com
Take A436 then B4450 from Stow. After 3 miles fishery is on left. Carp fishing day tickets Open all year. Tackle shop on site. Toilet facilities.

Near Stow-on-the-Wold.
Telephone: 01451 830 873
Open all year for fly fishing for trout. Day and half tickets available. Closed Sundays and Mondays all year. Equipment available for hire and tuition can be arranged. Please telephone for bookings.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Holidays Are Over? Never!

Well, Christmas and New Years have been and gone.   Nothing left to do now but box everything up, resolve to do commit to some terribly boring New Year's resolution, and head back to the old hum drum of work...

What utter tosh!  Anyone who's done a fair bit of travelling knows that January is the time to take those trips that are normally too expensive, or involve too many crowds.  The best hotels and restaurants all quiet down, and are ready to offer savvy travelers the very best deals to keep the cash flowing during the essential first quarter and without sacrificing a bit of quality.

I've had a good root 'round the winter offerings at our hotel booking partner, Late Rooms (specialists in last minute deals at unique UK hotels), and there are some rather tempting deals out there right now.  Of course, if you just want the absolute cheapest deal, there are some solid little B&B's out there that will put you in the Cotswolds for under 50 USD/28GBP a night.   But my pick has to be The Chure House in Stow-on-the-Wold as the perfect winter hideaway at a great price. I considered 4-star hotels with the best and most guest reviews, plus value for money.  

The Chure House has received only '5 star' reviews from it's 30 reviewers, and is right in the middle of beautiful Stow, surrounded by the best Cotswold countryside.  At the time of writing, they're offering 5 nights for two (checking in 16 Jan) at only 379 GBP, or just under $615.  That's a seriously good deal.  Check out the guest reviews right here: http://www.laterooms.com/en/p6883/hotel-reviews/154845_chure-house-stow-on-the-wold.aspx

Here's what they have to say about themselves:

"Chure House Luxury B & B in central Stow-on-the-Wold is within the town conservation area. It is a minute's walk to the Town Square yet is very quietly located. Chure House is a 4 star property graded by Visit Britain and has also been awarded a prestigious Silver Award for service, hospitality and cleanliness.The bedrooms are all furnished to a particularly high standard with new, quality furnishings including pocket-sprung mattresses and seating with chairs and table. All rooms have a hospitality tray including cafetiere coffees, a selection of teas, digital freeview television, central heating, hair dryer, clock/radio and fluffy towels. All bedrooms have new en-suites with luxurious shower baths and Mira showers.Our breakfast is extensive using the local butcher's old-styled cured bacon and home-made sausages. The produce we use is all fresh, free-range and locally-sourced whenever possible. Vegetarians are catered for and any other dietary requirements. A sunny, walled garden, opening with French doors from the dining room, has outdoor seating and umbrellas and is specially for guests' use where you can sit peacefully and enjoy a book or just soak up the sun. Chure House has only three bedrooms so you are assured personal service. The proprietor, Mrs Jill Barclay, has previously owned award-winning hotels in Cornwall and on the South Coast of England."

To make a booking at The Cure House, click here:  http://www.laterooms.com/en/p6883/hotel-reservations/154845_chure-house-stow-on-the-wold.aspx