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The Cotswolds is a charming region in England, a few hours north of London.
While the best way to see the various villages and towns is by car, we decided to do it our own way, low budget.
And by that I mean I looked up a few maps online, took photos of them on my phone, and we were off.
We took a bus from Cheltenham to Stanton, were dropped off on the side of the road, and made our way into the heart of our first village.
From here the plan was to find the beginning of the Cotswold Way and follow that with some cryptic directions through a maze of towns until we reached the final destination, the town of Broadway, where we had to get to by mid afternoon in order to catch the last bus of the day back to Cheltenham.
Everything started off right. We found the triangular patch of grass with a lamp post which was the first indicator we were on the right track.
We found the sign for the Cotswold way and were off into the wild (well the English, countryside I suppose).
We passed by flocks of sheep, a baby horse, some rolling hills.
And then it started to get tricky. The directions said to turn right after passing a cattle grid?
What exactly is a cattle grid?
A gated in area with a lot of cows, right?
Wrong, but we didn’t figure this out until later.
Since there was no right turn before the cow gathering, we made our way through the center of it, watching their every move to make sure they didn’t get any funny ideas. And then we took the right turn.
Our first mistake. We thought this must have been some sort of shortcut at the very worst, so continued until we hit a road and ran into a couple on horseback. When answering our plea for directions they made it clear we were way off track.
Their advice was either to go back where we came from (not happening) or to climb the mountain (ok, tall-ish hill) back where we had come from.
Conquering the mountain it was. I assume the original route would have been to go around the hill but at this point we had lost too much time and were in need of a shortcut.
As we hopped over barbed wire fences and dodged vicious winds we made it up to the top and then down to the other side.
A friendly glass eyed farmer helped us with directions and pointed out that again we were way off track, when climbing down the mountain we should have gone to the left and we came down to the right.
The adventure continues.
More wire fences to climb and forest to cross. By the time we found a clearing we were in the middle of a huge field.
Not a person in sight. Just a few horses who looked less than friendly and seemed to be running for us.
Oh did I mention the winds picked up and it started pouring too? Throw in risk of hypothermia and pneumonia into this day trip as well.
Our best option was to make our way towards a road we saw way off in the distance.
Finally a break, this road would lead us to the next village, Snowhill, on our map. Where we had gone wrong, I had no idea, but finally we were on the right track.
There was no time to admire the architecture though.
We were in a race against the clock now. Time was running out. We had to catch that bus.
We trudged along, through the rain, allowing ourselves a quick detour to see the impressive Broadway tower, though we only had time to gaze at it from a distance momentarily before breaking into a jog for the remaining 2 miles to get to the bus stop.
Is the suspense killing you yet?
We made it in time to catch the bus. We even got to the bus stops a few minutes early so I got to quickly run across Broadway snapping a few pics.
Words of advice, get a car to explore the Cotswolds or if you’re trying to do it independently at least check the weather the day you’re going and have a GPS app on your phone.Additionally, there are many Luxury Holiday Cottage Cotswolds that you should consider staying in so that you don’t have to run around all in one day like we did! For example, check out this little beauty: