Leaving London

Our drive from bustling London took us west via Oxford and into the Cotswolds on the A40. We turned north at the appropriately named village of Northleach, and into the heart of the this area of incredible natural beauty.

When I think of the English countryside, I think of the Cotswolds. It's the sort of place that makes you take a deep breath – and reminds you of another way of life.


The village of Bourton-on-the-Water (a name which I absolutely adore) is renowned for its picturesque High Street. The River Windrush runs through heart of the town centre, and a series of foot bridges connect the two sides.

We parked at Mousetrap Lane and walked into town, passing the Library, Motoring Museum, Model Railway and Mary’s Tea room.

When travelling, we always try to send postcards to family back home. It's a bit silly, because they take weeks to be delivered to South Africa, but we enjoy this little tradition nevertheless. We found a lovely old postcard shop and bought a few airmail stamps to post home.

After a picnic lunch on the banks of the river we continued our drive north.

The undulating landscape is simply breath-taking. Between villages, overgrown trees line ancient roads as they cut their way through the hills.

After a few wrong turns – one of which had us driving into a family's country manor to ask for directions – we arrived in Broadway.


Known as the 'Jewel of the Cotswolds', this civil parish is home to some 2500 people. The Broad Way is a grass-fringed high street lined with red chestnut trees and honey-coloured Cotswold limestone buildings.

We had booked to stay at the nearly 500-year-old Lygon Arms Hotel. The first reference to The Inn occurs in the parish register of 1532. Oliver Cromwell stayed here before the decisive Battle of Worcester in 1651, and King Charles I used The Inn to meet his supporters in the region during the Civil War.

We had dinner at the Hotel's restaurant, The Great Hall. It offers a stunning dinner room, complete with barrel-vaulted ceiling and polished oak panelling, and award-winning cuisine. Highly recommended!

We set off the next morning to visit my friend Fraser Speirs in Greenock, Scotland.