Venturing further afield with Go Cotswolds

Cottage in the back streets of Bourton-on-the-Water.

Cottage in the back streets of Bourton-on-the-Water.

Last week we received a special request from a Japanese visitor to Stratford-upon-Avon who was keen to see the North Cotswolds as well as a couple of other places a little further afield on the same day – Bibury and Lacock.

This is a challenge we took on!

From Stratford-upon-Avon we started by completing the morning section of the regular Go Cotswolds Tour, stopping at Chipping Campden for just over an hour, Broadway Tower and Snowshill. After a short stop in Snowshill we headed directly to Bourton-on-the-Water where we stopped for lunch, wandered around the picturesque village and watched the ducks play on the River Windrush.

From here we began our venture into the depths of the Southern part of the Cotswolds.

Arlington Row in Bibury.

Arlington Row in Bibury.

Bibury, a further 12 miles South of Bourton-on-the-Water, was our first stop. Described by William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England” Bibury has remained a popular tourist destination ever since. It is world renowned, in particular for the immaculate row of cottages called Arlington Row.

Bibury is included in the Japanese language Mapple guidebooks of England (www.mapple.co.jp/english). This ensures its popularity with visitors from Japan in particular.

After a leisurely stroll around the village we then set off on the 80-minute journey beyond Cirencester – passing the jumbo jet graveyard at Kemble airfield – to the Wiltshire village of Lacock.

Lacock Abbey and the village of Lacock (in almost its entirety) is owned and preserved by the National Trust. Lacock was donated to the Trust in 1944 by descendants of William Henry Fox Talbot, a pioneering photographer whose works can be found in Lacock’s museum.

Lacock Abbey cloisters - where Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets scenes were filmed.

Lacock Abbey cloisters – where Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets scenes were filmed.

But it is the Abbey cloisters which capture the imagination of the majority of visitors who take it in turns to tread in the footsteps of Daniel Radcliffe: scenes from the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed there.

I’m not a Harry Potter fan but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable experience being a tourist myself (it was my first visit to Lacock!) and helping an enthralled visitor tick off an item on her bucket list that she may have otherwise missed.

Located at the Southern end of the Cotswolds, Lacock is a beautiful village in itself (where, incidentally, scenes from the sixth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, were also filmed) and well worth a visit even if you don’t enter the Abbey or museum.

Next year Go Cotswolds plans to expand the number of day tours it offers, which will include a weekly trip to both Bibury and Lacock. Keep coming back to the website for updates! In the meantime if you’d like a bespoke private tour of the Cotswolds with a friendly local guide or if you’d like to join us on a scheduled tour then contact Tom on tom@gocotswolds.co.uk or by using the contact form on the homepage.

For non-National Trust members entry to the museum and Abbey cloisters is £8.50 for adults and an additional £2.70 if you wish to visit the first floor bedrooms. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock.

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