There’s nothing like the English countryside. From movies to televisions shows and travel documentaries, those quaint country cottages that I’ve seen over the years have always called my name. Anyone remember the Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet? So when we decided to take a trip to England, I knew we had to carve out some time to spend in the English Countryside, also known as the Cotswolds! Truly a magical place!
All of the places we wanted to see in England were within driving distance of the Cotswolds, and The Rectory Hotel is situated right in the heart of it all, so I was immediately excited about that. When we arrived, I was absolutely thrilled to discover that it was just as amazing in person as it was on the website, and our family was able to have the one and only cottage on the property!
First and foremost, The Rectory Hotel is 100% about giving guests that classic, British cottage feel that just seems to make you feel so at home no matter where you’re from. This isn’t some multi-floor rectangle. Oh, no. This is a beautiful low-key, laid-back country house hotel complete with an English garden. The grounds are breathtaking!
We stayed in the private cottage, and from the moment we arrived until the time we left, it felt like a home away from home. Its Georgian styling gives off elegant cottage vibes in waves, but it doesn’t sacrifice modern conveniences. Our stay felt like a cross between living in an England from a hundred years ago but with all the modern amenities.
In addition to its beauty and style, The Rectory Hotel also boasts some of the best food I’ve ever had. The restaurant is elegantly casual, welcoming everyone who stays at the hotel, and the food is superb. Their menu is all about combining classic food with a modern twist, and with views that are breathtakingly beautiful, it’s hard to say if the scenery or the food is better.
We were able to head to all of the villages we wanted to see easily. It was just a short drive from our very own British cottage to Burford, Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wood, Cirencester, Oxfordshire, Bibury, and Barnsley. There are so many little towns within the Cotswolds, we tried to hit them all during our four day stay in the countryside. These were some of our favorites, and I seriously cannot get over the charm in these little towns.
One afternoon was spent at the Cotswolds Farm Park. Established in 1971 as the home of rare breed conservation, Cotswold Farm Park offers a fun-filled day out. The kids were able to interact closely with the animals, and a highlight for us, we even saw baby sheep just born a little over an hour upon our arrival!
If I had to pick a favorite village, I honestly wouldn’t be able to choose! But I do want to highlight a few we visited along the way. I found it a bit hard to navigate which places were a must visit, and I’m happy to report each and every one were so unique in their own way!
Bourton-on-the-Water – they say this village is the Venice of the Cotswolds. River Windrush runs through the heart of the town, underneath multiple bridges that are just breathtaking. I truly felt as though we were in a scene of the movies.
Bibury – this is a quiet village set along the the River Coln. This spot, we were told have been named the most beautiful village in England. The cottages are all well preserved, and the gardens are just stunning.
Stow-on-the-wold is the highest of the Cotswold villages, and sits 800 feet up, on Stow Hill. This town is super small, but we did enjoy a fabulous pub here, called The Porch House!
Burford is lined with charming antique shops, boutique stores, and cafés, it offers stunning views of the countryside and was our most fav shopping spot.
Upper and Lower Slaughter – I know the name, but we were told slaughter actually means “muddy”, and I can definitely agree with that. These two villages are joined by the River Eye and River Windrush, and are truly beautiful.
Cirencester was the closest to our cottage, and also known for as being the Capital of the Cotswolds, this ancient town is beautiful and bustling. You’ll find plenty of great lodging options, as well as a high street filled with shops.
Our last stop on our trip was the Broadway Tower! The castle-like building has three floors of museum inside this well positioned structure, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
Over the course of our trip, we saw some amazing places and experienced some amazing things, but I have to say that my British cottage experience at The Rectory Hotel was one of the biggest highlights of the trip. I got all the classic countryside feels. Read more about our London travels here!
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