Our Cottage in the Cotwolds.

The Cotswolds is an area of southwest England known for its beautiful countryside and idyllic villages. It’s also known for its antiquing, so we choose to go a week prior to our shopping trip and explore the northern Cotswolds.

SheepSudeleyCastle

This is the first of 4 blogs on our May/June 2014 trip.

We chose the northern Cotswolds for our vacation and selected Stow-on-the-Wold as our base for our explorations. Stow is a lovely, bustling little village with a large central square. We rented a small, comfortable 2-bedroom, 2-bath cottage off the square for the week.

 Stonecot Cottage in Stow-on-the-Wold.

Stonecot Cottage in Stow-on-the-Wold.

Stonecot Cottage is located on Wells Lane, a small residential lane. We chose it because it offered off-street parking, a washer/dryer and wifi. It proved to be an excellent choice. It had two floors. The ground floor had the living room, dining room, bathroom and kitchen. Winding stairs took you to the first floor, where there were two bedrooms, separated by a full bath. Philip learned the hard way that the door frames were on the short side, especially the bedroom door. What’s a few whacks on the head now and then.

Philip wrapping our daily antiques in preparation for the container.

Philip wrapping our daily antiques in preparation for the container.

The cottage did not have a garden, but it did offer off-street parking on a small tight driveway. Philip had the task of backing the sedan rental out of the drive each morning. This was a challenge since the drive was narrow with a rock wall on one side and a hedgerow on the other and a large rock wall directly behind the driveway. Since it was a tight fit, pulling the car into the lane took several attempts each morning.

The driveway's tedious wall. Lovely to look at; a pain to escape.

The driveway’s tedious wall. Lovely to look at; a pain to escape.

Once the car was out, we would head off in a new direction to explore the Cotswolds and each evening we would return and head to a different pub or restaurant for our evening meal. We enjoyed our evening strolls, walking past small fragrant gardens, mostly hidden behind drystone walls, and listening to the doves call.

This entrance to a church is thought to the inspiration for the Gates of Moria, in the J.R.R. Tolkien books. The author walked the Cotswolds, often around Stow.

This entrance to a church is thought to the inspiration for the Gates of Moria, in the J.R.R. Tolkien books. The author walked the Cotswolds, often around Stow.

The cottage was a short walk from Digbeth Street, where several pubs and restaurants were located. Alternatively, we could walk up a short lane, past private cottages, through the King’s Arms patio to arrive on the square. Here was the main shopping and eating area of the town.

The Market Cross standing in the same spot for 500 years.

The Market Cross standing in the same spot for 500 years.

The square was large for the Cotswolds, offering plenty of parking and everything that a small town needed: two groceries, banks and ATMs, shops, bakery, tea shops, pubs, restaurants, inns, and the church. The town opened around 10 each morning and was closed by early evening. The day visitors were

gone by the time we returned each day. That left the locals and their dogs to head to the pub for their evening meal and we were right there with them. We had wonderful homemade and locally sourced food.

These two dogs were well-behaved and well-known at the pub.

These two dogs were well-behaved and well-known at the pub.

Following our first-class meals, we would stop in at the grocery to pick up snacks and something for breakfast the next day. Phil would buy newspapers to wrap our daily antique purchases. At night, we would drift off to sleep will listening to the rain falling on the slate roof.

Our favorite pub in Stow. Great homemade food. Lots of locals ate here.

Our favorite pub in Stow. Great homemade food. Lots of locals ate here.

Here’s a rundown of where we ate, with our favorites at the top of the list.

  • The Queen’s Head
  • The Talbot
  • Cotswold Baguettes
  • Digbeth’s
  • The Porch House
  • Greedy’s Fish and Chips
  • The King’s Arms
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