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Growing up as an avid Enid Blyton buff, the picturesque image of the English countryside with its charming honey coloured stone houses with overflowing flower boxes, of adorable city squares with old wells, of crumbly Church steeples and narrow alley ways were a part of my childhood dreams. And yet, I thought to myself surely these places are not real. Well I was completely wrong. The quaint English countryside is not just a movie set but real, plucked out of the 1400s .The notion of postcard villages, seeped in old world charm, has mystified centuries of travellers and story tellers, to fan out seeking its hamlets.
My first stop was Bath. With its famous Georgian terraces, thermal spa waters, cream teas and Jane Austen – Bath makes for a constant tourist trail. Its quintessentially English charms pull in visitors from around the world. It has so many historic buildings that the entire city has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Buzzing with tourists, the town has a very pretty feel to it. The Roman Baths are very much intact and you have the opportunity to go inside. In the days of old daily, weekly visit to the bath were common to freshen up and socialise within the community. As evening dawns, do not miss a romantic stroll by the famous Bath canal that brings back pleasant memories, as it did for me.
Hostels – You can stay at a comfortable hostel in Bath for about 15-25 GBP per night for a dorm bed. WiFi is standard at all the hostels, and few even include free breakfast.
Budget hotels– Hotels start at 60 GBP for a twin/double room, and go up from there. Bath isn’t exactly a budget destination, so don’t expect a lot of great deals. On the plus side, many budget hotels include free breakfast.
Transport: It is pretty easy to reach Bath. It’s about two hours from London, with tickets costing around 15 GBP, but I was lucky to get mine for under 7 GBP.
From Bath, pick a day with sunny English skies and plan a trip to the fairytale settings of Cotswold. We spent the day traversing through rolling hills, gentle streams, blue skies and charming cottages. Beautiful, romantic, exquisite and delightful, the unspoiled Cotswold villages spell pure magic. I quickly started to love and ease into the slow pace of life, even if just for a few hours.
Green meadows, medieval villages and iconic yellow brick cottages, epitomize the famous region of the Cotswolds. Bask in orchards bursting with colour, float down lazy rivers and eat as much cream as you can stomach – this is the idyllic English dream in all its glory.
Castle Combe was our first stop. This picturesque village nestles within a wooded valley, in the southern part of the Cotswolds. Castle Combe is famous for its weaver’s cottages as well as being used as a film location for the original Dr Dolittle film.
Often known as the ‘Little Venice’ of the Cotswolds, this hamlet is one of the prettiest villages in England. We spent time strolling through its picture perfect town, dipping our feet in fresh streams, gazing adorably at the snow white sheep and graceful horses and stuffing on traditional Cotswolds ice cream.
Bibury was my favorite. The cottages here dating back to the 17th century are outlined perfectly by green pastures and sparkling brooks that runs alongside it.
Stow-on-the-Wold, a small market town is where we stopped for lunch. Picking up fresh farm produce of salad and fruits, we picniced in a field under the shade of a Juniper tree. Famed for its vintage store collection, I bought an exquisite broch for under 7 quid, quite a steal deal.
The Cotswolds, home to the fairy-tale cottages that have long been the stuff of story books, are a must see. Green was the dominant hue, but flowers, trees, water, and sky added a rainbow of colour.
Transporting you far away from busy urban lifestyle, the villages of the Cotswolds allow you to embrace a more traditional, but slower pace of life.
Exactly what we all need, once in a while to rejuvenate our senses and dream more dreams….