Scenes from the Cotswolds

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Cotswolds Distillery

Having lived in and traveled extensively throughout the UK, I’ve gotten to know the country well and have been continuously discovering new places to visit. Some of them are still my most-wanted destinations: beach-hopping in Cornwall, hiking in St. Kilda, partying in Newcastle.

One destination that I finally got to visit: the Cotswolds, a region in Gloucestershire, southwest England, famous for its picture-perfect villages.

During my gin trip to the UK, I was scheduled to spend an afternoon at Cotswolds Distillery and in the nearby town of Moreton-in-Marsh.

And while one afternoon wasn’t nearly enough time to discover this region, I feel like I got a taste for this truly wonderful part of England, especially on the drives down the country roads.

Cotswolds Distillery

Cotswolds Distillery was one of the highlights of my trip — definitely my favorite gin distillery to visit. It feels more like a country home than a place of business!

I walked in and introduced myself to the founder, Dan Szor, who had an unmistakably American accent.

I paused. “And where are you from?”

“90th and Madison,” he said with a laugh. Of course. I come all the way to rural England and meet someone from the very city I’m moving to in a few months!

Cotswolds Distillery

Like most craft gin distilleries in the UK, Cotswolds is fairly new — about a year old when I visited. Gin only takes a few days to distill, unlike the three years required for whiskey (which they also make here), so you can have a product ready fairly quickly.

Cotswolds Distillery

Check out those sexy stills!

Cotswolds Distillery

And it’s all set in a landscape that looks just like this.

Cotswolds Distillery

More than anything, I told Dan, Cotswolds gin tastes like the landscape. Soft and rolling and gentle. In fact, I’d probably choose Cotswolds gin as my favorite straight-up gin of the week. It has some wonderful lavender in it.

Cotswolds Espresso Martini Gin

And their special edition espresso martini gin was absolutely FANTASTIC. I could sip that stuff all day.

Cotswolds Distillery

As for the distillery’s tasting room, it feels like a cozy cabin.

The Manor House Hotel Room

After the distillery, I headed to nearby Moreton-on-Marsh and checked into my hotel for the night, The Manor House Hotel.

Normally, this isn’t my style, but how pretty is it? And supremely comfortable. If you have a 5:00 AM wakeup call the next day, might as well sleep in the comfiest bed possible!

Also, I have to love a hotel that comes with a rubber ducky for the bathtub.

The Manor House, Cotswolds

How beautiful is this window? I really wish I had more time to curl up with my Kindle.

Marton-on-Marsh Cotswolds

I hit the ground running in Moreton-in-Marsh, hoping to get a handful of good photos before the sun went down.

Moreton-in-Marsh

I loved the doors and the soft pops of lavender throughout the streets.

Scary Mail Slot Cotswolds

I may have seen that door knocker in my nightmares that night.

Moreton-in-Marsh, Cotswolds

Look how great the sky was that day!

Afternoon Tea Cotswolds

If you’ve spent time in small town England (or, gulp, lived there), you’ve probably been frustrated by how early things shut down. Moreton-in-Marsh

But I did stop in for some tea and savory cheese scones at The Marshmallow Tea Room, one of few places still open after 6:00 PM.

But alas — it was time to hit up my favorite place to dine solo — a pub with character! The Horse and Groom is full of character and I loved settling in next to the fireplace with a glass of cabernet and a fabulous meal.

Horse & Groom Salad

This is one of the best salads I’ve ever had, featuring spinach, feta, chili, and fennel.

Partridge at The Horse and Groom

Partridge. Something you see often in the UK but not so much in the US.

Meringe at The Horse and Groom

And on recommendation from the staff, I got perhaps the most sinful dessert of my life — a giant, melty meringue with maple and brown sugar, served with cream. INCREDIBLE.

If you’re going the full blown yo-diabetes-come-at-me-bro route, this is the way to go. My teeth still rattle thinking about it.

Overall, I hope to return to the Cotswolds and see much more of the region. Just as long as I bring someone with me to do the driving. Any takers?

Essential Info: If you’re visiting the Cotswolds independently, it’s best to have a car. I didn’t and though I was able to get around with taxis, it was a bit of a pain, not to mention expensive.

Cotswolds Distillery is open to visitors and offers tours, which must be booked in advance. You can book tours here. ID is required. You can drop in to their tasting room Monday to Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, or Sunday, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM.

Low-season rates at The Manor House Hotel start at 99 GBP ($151 USD).

I never travel without travel insurance. I use and recommend World Nomads.

This campaign was created and sponsored by the GREAT Britain campaign and UK Trade & Investment in partnership with iambassador. Adventurous Kate retains 100% editorial control and all opinions, as always, are my own.

Have you been to the Cotswolds? Any recommendations for further exploration?

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42 thoughts on “Scenes from the Cotswolds”

  1. The Manor House Hotel is 1500% my style. Mine mine mine! I could live on that window seat…. so cozy! I just came back from London yet again and I did go out to the countryside to one of the oldest pubs in England, but havent quite ventured out into the rolling hills of Cotswalds. It’s my perpetual “next time” destination :)))))

  2. Sounds like you had a great time! I’ve heard good things about Moreton-in-Marsh. I’ve had a number of good trips to the Cotswolds over the years, but never to a distillery. Sounds like an exciting way to experience the area!

  3. That dessert has me swooning early this morning. Dang! I can’t imagine how delicious that must have been. I recently tried gin last week and it has totally changed my perspective on all of these posts. I learned how each gin can have a different taste and season. With that thought, it would add a lot to my travel perspective through the region!

  4. That meringue..!! ?
    As a long time reader I love how you travel to other places in the UK aside from London and Edinburgh. Reading some travel blogs, you’d think that was all we had!
    And as a Londoner who now calls Newcastle home, you really do have to come here to party one day ? Can also highly recommend the Northumberland coast (just google Bamburgh beach and you’ll see what I’m talking about)…

    1. I consider the UK the most culturally fascinating place I’ve ever been. That surprises a lot of people, but between living there long-term and speaking the local language, I’ve noticed a lot of cultural nuances that slip by me in other countries.

  5. The Cotswolds look beautiful! I’ve lived Edinburgh and I’m ashamed to admit I left a lot of the country unexplored! It’s nice to experience it through your blog and hopefully I’ll make it there one day – however, with my luck it’ll probably be raining 😉

  6. You’re pictures are increasingly beautiful with each post. I love checking out every new post and looking at the pictures, as well as reading the story. You have opened up traveling for me and allow me to enjoy new regions of the world, before I have the chance to travel there. Thank you for such a great blog Kate!

    I especially enjoyed this post because I love England. The landscape around Cotswold looks beautiful and I cannot wait for an opportunity to travel there, or at least near there!

    Once again, thank you for bring the world to me through your blog, and I hope to experience it for myself very soon!

  7. I loved reading this and I especially enjoyed the photos. What an amazing day you had with blue skies and perfectly photogenic clouds. I’m planning a visit to the Cotswolds next summer so I’m scooping up all the information I can and the hotel looks like perfection.

  8. I loved the Cotswolds! We explored via bus, which was not the easiest way to get around, but we were able to make it to a few of the different villages. If you go back you should find Snowshill Manor. It is in the little town of Snowshill and the old house is full of random junk that the eccentric owner collected over decades. There is a whole room full of old bicycles. It was so interesting and so picturesque.

  9. The Cotswolds are beautiful! As my grandparents came from that area I have been there a lot. I’d definitely recommend Broadway where you can walk to nearby Broadway Tower and the gorgeous villages of Stanton and Snowshill (featured in films including Bridget Jones Diary). Bourton on the Water is lovely as well with Upper and Lower Slaughter within fairly close walking distance. Notice a theme here; the Cotwolds are meant to be walked however there is local bus service as well. A car is the best way to get around although I am too chicken to drive on the left! Painswick is pretty as well as Nailsworth. Well I could go on and on. Cream teas, charming little shops…definitely worth a visit!

  10. What an amazing area and hotel. However, I have to agree that the door knocker is a little freaky, lol. I would love to go here and relax, maybe try some gin and some of that wonderful dessert. Thanks for sharing you story and the great pics.

  11. I love how the distillery tasting room looks like someone’s living room. I could get cozy in there for a whole day with a good book and that special espresso gin. Delicious.

  12. Oh yes indeed! The Cotswold is one of England’s prettiest places. In fact, a lot of England is enormously pretty or cuts you to the core emotionally, like the Yorkshire Dales! I’m English, I know!

    But a G& T? No need to ask twice!
    P.S. I really like the Queen Elizabeth door knocker, although it looks more like Queen Victoria lol!

  13. It’s such a beautiful spot, as the English would say ‘its quaint, little village’! It was my favourite place back when I visited back in 1995! When I was a solo female traveller and a spring chicken at just 20 years old!

  14. Looks like we have been to the Cotswolds around the same time 😉 I really loved the countryside and the little villages, too. Especially with all the Autumn colors. I enjoyed going through your photos and exploring the Cotswolds a bit more…at times very different from my photos: http://synke-unterwegs.de/steinkreise-von-avebury/

    I imagine visiting the distillery was a highlight, I am also a big fan of this kind of activities to see how things are actually produced and how a good produces product tastes. I will put it on my list for my next visit there 😉

  15. I’ve lived in England for close to five years now and I always feel bad for not having seen a lot of that beautiful country!
    Love the look of the hotel room though, very adorable!

  16. Gorgeous photos Kate!
    I’ve been meaning to go to England to experience their country style manors and hotels.
    It looks like the perfect destination for some serious relaxation 🙂

  17. My wife and i have already a reservation in moreton-in-marsh next mai. We won’t visit as many villages as we thought. Bus is not very frequent. Regards from Québec!

  18. One of my favourite regions of the UK. I loved walking between upper and lower Slaughter and hiking to a neolithic burial chamber, Belas Knap, in the Cotswolds countryside.

  19. I think it’s time to take a page from one of your last posts, and go live a little and try new things. I’ll have to go try that gin now, and see for myself if I’m diving headfirst into diabetes with that meringue because it looks sinful.

  20. I actually skipped Moreton-in-Marsh in favour of Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold and LOVED both. The cream tea was amazing and the whole Cotswolds area is just so damn cute.

  21. I live between Bristol and Bath so got dragged around the Cotswolds a LOT on long muddy walks by my parents when I was growing up! I now appreciate the beauty of these places much more than I did as a child! If you’re ever anywhere in the area again I’d be more than happy to drive you around, in exchange for the infectious appreciation ‘foreigners’ have for our pretty villages and countryside 😉 Would also be happy to show you the much less pleasant parts of the southwest, which have their own charm!

    1. Hi, just saw your comment offering Jane a drive around the Cotswolds.I am American and my daughter and I want to tour for the day.We would come from London and get off at Morton-on – Marsh station.Looked into a tour but seems restrictive.Would you want to taxi us?
      Eva Murdock

  22. I just loved this post. Due to my work; I travelled most of the cities in the UK. I had no idea about this beautiful place. I must say that the photos are captured really well. I would love to visit the Cotswolds in my next trip to UK.

  23. I studied in Cheltenham, with the Cotswolds on my doorstep, for 5 years. I would recommend Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Broadway Tower, Winchcombe, and – of course – a day in Cheltenham itself. It is a lovely part of the world for sure. And as for driving, I really miss driving down those tiny lanes 😀

  24. Sounds like a great intro to the Cotswolds! I’ve read quite a lot about this area and it just seems like that ideal English country scene. The villages look so beautiful and charming. I would love to visit.

  25. So The Cotswold is one of 6 designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. Bourbon-on-water, the Venice of Cotswold tends to be the most popular, but my favourite is Stow-on-the-Wold on account of discovering a treasure in the form of an old bookstore. Bibury and Upper Slaughter are just as picturesque. And you have to love the names of the villages, themselves! Love how there is so much history in this area.

    I had the good fortune of visiting the 2 other national parks as well, Peak District (nestled between Sheffield, Manchester & Birmingham), and Lake District (northwest England, just north of Lancaster), which tend to be less visited since you definitely need a car to move around those parts. Suffice to say, they are exquisite! Windermere in Lake District is especially popular because it was a holiday destination for Beatrix Potter, and the town is a veritable shrine to her.

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