“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.” – Beatrix Potter
Ever seen the movie “The Holiday”? Iris’ (Kate Winslet) village was how I imagined Gloucesteshire to be – stone cottages, quaint shops and pubs, rolling hills and pristine meadows.
Laurie has been showing me pictures before of how his hometown looks like and for almost 3 years, I just couldn’t wait to have our next holiday there! Though I have met almost all his family before, it will still be a delightful experience to see them in their hometown, and I thank them for giving me one that I will never forget.
After spending couple of days in London, it’s always wonderful to see countryside. London is a fantastic city, but it really worn out my body especially my feet! Haha! So having Cotswold as our next destination after London is a perfect timing to have a more relaxing holiday.
It’s just 2-hours drive away from London, so it is also a popular day-trip destination for those visiting London. However, a day is not enough once you see the captivating beauty of this county. I am happy that this is Laurie’s hometown, because for this UK holiday, I would be able to have a taste of both worlds of England.
Mum Hilly’s cottage is one of the loveliest you’ll see anywhere! It is on a hilly area with a gorgeous view of the other cottages below and picturesque meadows. It’s cozy and warm, made of Cotswold stone similar to ALL the cottages around, a lovely front garden and backyard, and it’s just within a minute drive to two of the village pubs.
I guess, pubs are already part of their culture, which is why it’s everywhere! We had almost all our meals everyday inside small and exquisite pubs that are typically “English”, having ales and ciders, shepherd’s pie and bangers&mash, and no fish and chips this time! :P
Their cottage is in Stroud, one of the main towns in Cotswold, which is quite accessible to other little towns, main airport Bristol, Bath and the Stonehenge (Salisbury), so it was easy to move around see places.
In Cotswold, you’ll find English towns that sounds like from fairy tales especially those of Beatrix Potter’s (no wonder she wrote one story in a Gloucestechire setting), twisting goat paths, and well-preserved medieval street, you’ll also find thatched cottages but ALL houses here are made from very distinctive Cotswold stone that I find really exceptional from any kind of brickstone I’ve seen from other cities.
Beatrix Potter’s Shop
I can’t really say I grew up with her stories, but of course I am familiar with it, I remember most specially The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and other animals on her stories…no wonder I imagine England before as hills and meadows :P
When I asked Laurie what is it there with Cotswold that tourists come to see, and he said, it’s their villages! Indeed, the villages are wonderful for strolling and gazing at the absurdly pretty cottages, and perhaps taking a short walk on a footpath to see the countryside too. Horse riding is popular way to go around villages, but we never tried it (sad). So that’s what exactly we did whilst there, we drove from villages to another, small towns to another and more pubcrawling :P
We visited Tetbury where one of Prince Charles’ mansion is at, we also went to Gloucester Cathedral where Harry Potter was filmed, we visited Winstones, a Cotswold-made ice cream that Laurie used to work during his summer breaks before…and a LOT more villages!
The Harry Potter Hogwarts’ Hallway
The Hogwarts Courtyard
Outside Gloucester Cathedral you’ll find shops for witchcraft and sorcery! I was told that Glouceteshire is quite fascinated with this kind of stories, no wonder JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, she is from Gloucestershire and perhaps grew up with stories as such :P
We visited Winstones, a Cotswold-made ice cream that Laurie used to work during his summer breaks before
Though Iris’ home from the movie The Holiday was actually shot in Surrey and not in Cotswold, the atmosphere is basically the same, minus the snow, as it was summer when we were there. It was noted that it was the best weather England had for the last 7 years, so I guess I was fortunate or perhaps England is happy to have me hehe.
Visiting Laurie’s hometown made my trip to England really special, and what made it more unforgettable is the amazing people who made it extraordinary, from Laurie to his Mum, to his siblings and to his friends, everyone!
It is said that people behave based on their environment, so in no doubt that people from this beautiful place also do have beautiful hearts. Truly, marked personality can influence descendants for generations.
I can never thank them all enough for the experience they shared with me and it was painful to bid goodbye on our last day, because I have not just fallen in love with one person, but I have fallen in love with all of them. I miss them already…
To end, I’d like to share one of my favorite lines in the movie The Holiday:
“ I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said “love is blind”. Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night.” – Iris Simpkins
Click HERE for my second entry for this beautiful place – Cotswold.