Through the Cotwolds and onto Cornwall!

After a huge breakfast this morning (as usual, we were up too early and breakfast wasn’t served until 8.30, so we packed the car and twiddled our thumbs for a bit) we headed out of Cirencester and down to Tetbury, for a spot of antique/book/market browsing. Today was odd, changing weather again, very much like Melbourne, but we only had a few drizzles of rain that didn’t affect us too badly.

 

We kept driving to Lacock, but along the way Marnie spotted a sign for Castle Combe, where she had been with Grandpa in 1998. We took a quick detour to see it, and it was the best decision we made all day. We drove through the eight-cottage hamlet of Tiddleywink and parked near the river in Castle Combe. Forty minutes later, our purses considerably lighter and loaded up with cakes, scones, scarves and other souvenirs from the village market and shops, we climbed back in the car. Castle Combe is definitely the prettiest village we’ve seen, and Marnie had fond memories of it. Also, a bunch of movies were filmed there. Apparently the church features prominently in War Horse, but I have not seen that movie because emotions.

 

 

 

 

Then we continued to Lacock, another place that has been used for plenty of filming because it is pretty much entirely owned by the National Trust. Pride and Prejudice, Robin of Sherwood, Moll Flanders, Emma, Tess of the D’ubervilles plus more have all featured Lacock, and the Abbey was used for the Harry Potter films (though I didn’t go into the Abbey today). We had tartlets and tea for lunch, said hi to the bakery cat, and walked up and down the streets wearing out our cameras. I tell you, I’m almost getting blasé with the amount of cute, tiny, preserved villages I’ve seen. The Cotswolds is a really gorgeous corner of the earth.

Lacock Abbey

 

 

 

We got back in the car and settled in for a long trip to Cornwall. It took about 3 hours to drive from Lacock down to Bolventor, which we were stopping at to see Jamaica Inn. The inn was the inspiration for a fantastic novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier which I read in preparation for this trip. Marnie and Grandpa stayed at the inn years ago, but sadly it was booked out for our visit. The inn has a long history of hauntings, piracy and smuggling, and it was very fitting that the most dense and spooky fog descended on Cornwall as we drove towards the inn. We could barely see the cars in front, but Mum did an excellent job navigating the unfamiliar roads. We had hot chocolates and bought souvenirs, and in a cruel twist of fate, the Smuggler’s Museum, which includes the Daphne du Maurier Room, is closed until Easter. However, I took lots of photos of the inside of the pub, which has all manner of artwork and artefacts relating to the inn’s history and culture. I’ll definitely be back to stay there one day.

 

 

 

Cornwall fog

 

Outside our B&B

Then we drove through the fog to St Austell, and our home for the next three days, The Arches B&B. We are in a beautiful attic with two rooms plus a bathroom, gorgeous decor and comfy beds. We walked into St Austell to a Wetherspoon’s for dinner and are now back in our attic, getting ready for bed. At some point in the next few days I really need to do some homework, but we’ve got a busy program planned for Cornwall, so we’ll see…

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Puzzlewood and The Cotswolds

This morning we were off and up early again, driving through the countryside to Puzzlewood, a small part of the Forest of Dean that is famous for it’s epic scenery and Roman treasure discovered there. Merlin and Doctor Who have filmed episodes at Puzzlewood and it is said to have inspired Tolkien and JK Rowling in their writings. There’s a small farm with pigs, ducks, chickens and goats and a maze for kids, but it’s the woodland that is the main attraction. We spend about 40 minutes walking through and taking photos, and there were a couple of school groups that ran around as well, though there were too many little trails and secret nooks to cross paths very often.

 

 

 

 

 

Extremely muddy, we hopped back in the car and drove to the Cotswolds. The weather was mostly overcast today, but we’ve been here a week and we’ve been rained on twice, and even then, it was not heavy enough to even use an umbrella, so we’re not complaining about the weather yet. It would be really lovely to live here, though I would worry about the lack of bright sunshine. In the Granary where we had lunch in Hay-on-Wye, they had certain tables equipped with UV lamps specifically to combat S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder), so it may be quite common up here. We drove to Broadway, where we took some photos and stopped for yummy spicy tomato and lentil soup with sandwiches and hot spiced apple juice. Such a great lunch! Then we drove onto Chipping Campden and went off for separate walks, except I found a second hand bookshop and then sat and drank a chai latte while reading an Agatha Christie novel, so that filled up my hour nicely.

Chipping Campden

 

Broadway

Then we drove through Stow-on-the-Wold, then onto Bourton-on-the-water. This was probably the prettiest of the insanely pretty towns we visited, and I went gift-shopping and took a million photos of the baby ducklings sitting on the riverbank. Then time for teacake and a spot more shopping, before driving onto Bibury. Bibury has a trout farm, the most picturesque and appealing trout farm I’ve ever seen, and a row of very old weaver’s cottages called Arlington Row. And we totally saw the cutest little  water vole on the riverbank. (On this trip we’ve seen wild rabbits, squirrels, grouse, pheasants, enormous bumblebees. Also various roadkill, such as deer and badger – not as nice).

Bourton-on-the-water

 

Bourton-on-the-water

 

Bibury

 

Bibury

 

Bibury – Arlington Row

 

Bibury – my mate the water vole

Then we got back in the car and drove to Cirencester, where we are staying for one night. We’re at Riverside House, which is actually a conference and function centre but is extremely good value for money and very comfy. We are way too tired again tonight, but I’ve managed to keep up with my blog. Yay me! Tomorrow, to Cornwall!