Woodstock in the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, England

We visited Blenheim (Churchill’s birthplace) on the way back home to Scotland after our trip to the Netherlands (more of that trip at a later date but if you want to see photos of a wonderful railway station have a look over at Jack’s blogpost here) and after seeing Blenheim we looked around the village of Woodstock which is on the edge of Blenheim estate. It’s one of two villages which are on its doorstep, the other one being Bladen.

Woodstock street 1

It was a gorgeous evening, perfect for showing that golden Cotswold stone at its best.

Woodstock street 3

It was getting on for our dinner time and touring Blenheim had given us a good appetite, so it’s just as well that we found the Woodstock Arms which turned out to be a wee Scottish oasis in the Cotswolds as it had a very Scottish menu with fare such as cock-a-leekie soup, smoked salmon, chicken stuffed with haggis and cranachan. The owner of the place is of course Scottish and I must say that the food was very good.

Woodstock Arms

The village stocks are now only for show so folks like me can take photos of them. These ones don’t seem too bad as it was obviously only your legs which were locked into them, sometimes it was your head and arms too.

The house below is called Chaucer’s Cottage and it was lived in by Thomas Chaucer, Geoffrey’s brother, Thomas was Speaker of the House of Commons. I’m sure the house wouldn’t have had wooden louvre shutters on it in his day, they spoil it I think.
Chaucer's House 1

But the doorway is very attractive.

Chaucer's House 2

I had no idea that Coleridge had based his Ancient Mariner on a real person, apparently one Simom Hatley who lived in Woodstock.

mariner's house 1

In fact, this is the building which he lived in.

mariner's house 2

These ancient houses are still being used as family homes, there should be plenty of echoes of the past going on in them, but I always wonder if they have been gutted with all the history removed from them or are they still recognisably old internally.

We didn’t have enough time to see everything we wanted to see while we were in that area so we’ll be going back again. I’ll have photos of Blenheim on here soon though.

Evesham and Chipping Norton

When we went away for a few days recently there were only a few places that we definitely wanted to explore but when we looked at the map we realised there were so many towns nearby that it was daft not to take the opportunity to visit them while we were so far down south. Evesham was one of the places we spotted on the map. A hop and a skip from where we were, unfortunately it was raining heavily by the time we got there and it isn’t the sort of place where you can go into a department store to dry off. The photo below is of The Almonry, a 14th century building, and I managed to snap it in a lull in the downpour.

Evesham is in Worcestershire, apple growing country and I realised that we would be there at the perfect time for the blossom but unfortunately it wasn’t possible to stop the car whenever we saw the trees in bloom. They looked very pretty, even through the rain.

Driving out of Evesham towards Chipping Norton is quite a climb for a car and you can look down at the Vale of Evesham which I imagine is a good view on a clear day.

I had heard people raving about the beauties of the Cotswold hills and you travel through them to get to Chipping Norton but I have to say that they didn’t seem much to write home about. Mind you I was brought up in the west of Scotland and I don’t think you can beat those hills for beauty anywhere in Britain – well that’s my opinion anyway!

One lovely thing though was the colour of the Cotswold stone, it’s a really lovely warm golden honey colour. There are villages with all of the houses built of Cotswold stone and they must look very pretty when the sun is shining on them, if it ever does.

These two photos are of the main street in Chipping Norton you can read about the town here. It’s quite a bustling place with a few bookshops, second hand and new and it’s very historic and worthwhile having a look at if you’re in that area.

aStreet 1

There are just a few buildings of Cotswold stone here.

aStreet 2

We managed to visit quite a few English counties that we hadn’t been to before. I now have a mental list which I’m ticking off as we go. This was Worcestershire and Oxfordshire, the next visit will be Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire.