Armchair Travels- The Cotswolds- Broadway Tower/Bilbury/Bourton-on-the-Water

There are so many things to do & see in the Cotswolds but with only 6 days to explore this area, we needed to be selective about where we would spend our time.

One of the things we have found to be very helpful when staying at a property, is to have a look at their guestbook.  Often, prior guests make wonderful recommendations of what to do & see in the area, what to maybe avoid & great places to eat!

Each morning we set off, venturing to one or more villages & towns.  Such interesting names they hold like Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Chipping Camden, Upper & Lower Slaughter, Stolt-on-the-Wolt, Burton-on-the-Water, just to name a few.

Although Blockley (location of our rental property) is not indicated on this map, it gives a good visual of the overall area.  As a point of reference, Blockley is located between Moreton & Chipping Campden.  You can read more about it here.

Stopping for a visit to Broadway Tower, we discovered it held a bit of a colourful  history. Originally built for Lady Conventry between 1798-1799,  its purpose seemed to be mostly one of amusement.  The story goes that Lady Coventry was curious as to whether her Cotswold estate was visible from her home located 35km away.  A beacon was lit to confirm that she could.  Imagine doing all of that work and she had not!

It then went on to house a printing press for a number of years, acquired by Sir Thomas Philipps in 1827, followed by it being rented as a country retreat to members of the arts community, most notably William & Jane Morris, who were known for the beautiful textiles.  There is quite a display of the Morris textiles in the towers, most of which have stood the test of time and would still be very fashionable in today’s decor.

In 1943, a bomber crashed during a training mission, which now holds a memorial site for the 5 crew members killed.

In the 1950’s it was used to monitor nuclear fallout in England, with a bunker being built 50 yards away from the tower.  It was manned continuously from 1961 & designated as a master post until 1991.

The Tower sits on a 50 acre estate and is now a popular destination for walkers as well as a tourist site.  On a clear day, it is said that you can see as far as the Welsh Mountains. Unfortunately it was quite cloudy the day we visited but worth the stop nonetheless!

Me approaching Broadway Tower

After touring the tower, we drove into the town of Broadway to stop for lunch & a little browse in some of the shops.  We found a great little fish & chip place just in time; we had barely sat down when it began to pour rain.  Enjoying a lovely glass of wine over lunch, our waitress informed us we could purchase the wine on site so of course we took her up on it. We bought 5 bottles, much to her surprise! 🍷😂

Another lovely village we visited was Bibury, known for its picturesque Arlington Row cottages.  Built in the 14th century originally as a monastic wool store, they were converted to weavers’ cottages in the 17th century and are now leased to tenants. You can rent cottage #9 if you are interested but I should warn you, there appears to be a steady stream of tourists wanting to photograph this beautiful row of houses so I am not sure your stay there would be very tranquil!

Arlington Row

Such beautiful gardens

Working our way back for a stop in Bourton-on-the-Water, we drove through Upper & Lower Slaughter, both very small & picturesque.  As we continued along, we came across this brilliantly coloured field of rapeseed.  Stop the car!  It was definitely worthy of a stop for a photo!

So vibrant against the blue sky

Arriving in Bourton-on-the-Water, we managed to secure a parking spot pretty quickly, which was a score considering how busy this little town is.  Sometimes referred to as the Venice of the Cotswolds with its lovely waterway & series of bridges, although very scenic, it is one of the most popular destinations in the area for tourists which means lots & lots of people!  We thoroughly enjoyed meandering in & out of the shops picking up a few things, but admittedly were quite happy to return to the quiet village of Blockley at the end of our day.

If you look closely, you can see the amount of pedestrians about, most likely 98% tourists!

A fun find for me in Bourton-on-the-Water, reminding me of our friend Margaret, suggesting people think if they put on green wellies & acquire a dog, they are from the country!

Little Forge welcoming us back

Such a wonderful day but so happy to settle back in to our perfect little cottage!

Next week I will share the last of our time in the Cotswolds, visiting Bleinheim Castle & Stratford-upon-Avon.

Hope you can join me!




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34 Responses to Armchair Travels- The Cotswolds- Broadway Tower/Bilbury/Bourton-on-the-Water

  1. Jane says:

    Beautifully written! Such wonderful memories to enjoy.

  2. Ally Bean says:

    How fun to travel with you through the Cotswolds. Your photos are beautiful and a delightful respite from our daily reality. I’m glad you had a good time while you were there. It comes through in your writing.

  3. Sheree says:

    Much enjoying your trip to the Cotswolds, an area which holds many special memories for me.

  4. Al says:

    Thanks for the virtual tour. Like a walk through history.

    • Lynn says:

      It’s funny Al, history was definitely not one of my favourite subjects but it takes on a whole new meaning when you have the opportunity to visit these beautiful countries! Thanks for visiting!

  5. Such a nice tour, Lynn. I can see why tourists want to photograph Arlington Row. It’s beautiful.

  6. restlessjo says:

    The Cotswolds are almost custom built for tourists, aren’t they? I imagine it’s been very peaceful there just lately but you did a grand job of dodging them, Lynn. Love the shot of Bourton and those picture perfect cottages 🤗💕💕

    • Lynn says:

      We sure try our best Jo! Don’t get me wrong, there are some “tourists sites” that are definitely worth visiting, we just tend to like to immerse ourselves in things with a more local vibe.💕

  7. Love the photos and description… It look so charming and picturesque! Particularly like the photo of you approaching the tower and the one of the gardens. Also the field of yellow… we saw that in Southern France and found it was rape seed flower, used to make rape seed oil. I wonder if it is the same crop?

    I also enjoy reading comments in a guestbook for getting ideas… always fun to take the suggestions of other that have been there before you! When we used to do home exchanges, most people have a guest book for guests too and it is used in the same way as in a bed and beakfast.

    Lovely post…


    • Lynn says:

      Thank you Peta. I think it may be the same plant in France as it is used for oil. So beautiful when in bloom!

      I totally agree, some of best experiences have been as a result of a suggestion someone made in a guestbook. Love reading about other people’s experiences & recommendations, often they lead you off the main path and lead you to things or places you would have never seen.

      Hope you & Ben are doing well!😘

  8. tinaor says:

    Such a pretty park of England. I love the villages and the cotswold stone .

  9. Sue Slaght says:

    Such a great idea to use the guestbook as an unofficial travel guide. Nothing better than getting personal recommendations. I chuckled at the surprise of the waitress at the 5 wine bottle purchase. Well it was a holiday after all!
    The photos of the yellow flowers looks very much like canola fields in Canada. I think in the UK they are still referred to as rapeseed.

    • Lynn says:

      Sue, we have sourced out some lovely out of the way places we would never have seen, just by reading where other guests have gone.

      Yes, the waitress was a little taken back😂. But really, a bottle is only about 2 1/2 glasses, right?

      I think it is the same plant as when I looked it up canola is one of the oils they harvest from this plant.

  10. Ann Coleman says:

    I love your photos! And I think you were wise to stay in a quieter town, and simply go visit the ones that attract more tourists. That way, you get to see everything, but don’t have to put up with crowds at the end of the day.

    • Lynn says:

      Thank you Anne! This is definitely our way to travel. We like to see the sights but prefer to stay in a quieter spot & take in some of the local flavour! It’s a win win.

  11. dfolstad58 says:

    Wonderful post. This trip is so enticing especially as I look at your pictures. I tend to want to go where there are palm trees, but I am tempted to rethink my holiday tendencies. ♥

    • Lynn says:

      There are so many amazing places to visit, each unique in their landscape. I look so forward to the day when we can once again explore! Cheers my friend 💕

  12. The countryside here is as pretty as it is in the whole world, I think. We would return in a heartbeat if we could. Thanks for great photos to make us remember what we loved so much about this area. Rusha Sams

  13. Gilda Baxter says:

    Lynn, I have visited a small corner of the Cotswolds back in 2017. Unfortunately, I have never written about it on my blog…not sure why, since my husband and I loved it there. Reading your post I feel that we need to go back and explore a lot more. I love that you have included the map.

    • Lynn says:

      We loved this area. When we originally were putting together our trip to England, it was because of a friend’s suggestion that we decided to spend some time in the Cotswolds. We were so glad we did!

  14. What a lovely place to visit. It’s probably a couple of hours from here, I’d love to visit some day.

    • Lynn says:

      You definitely should if you have the chance. Such a lovely area to explore & with not being able to venture too far with Covid, it might provide the perfect holiday! Thanks so much for visiting 💕

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