Wednesday, June 15, 2016

JOURNEY TO GREAT VALUE BRITAIN...DAY 4




 
There's so much more to Great Value Britain than just London. Having grown up reading Enid Blyton's stories, the English countryside came alive for us when we set foot in The Cotswolds. Rolling hillsides known as 'wolds', quaint English villages, picturesque river valleys and woodlands dot the pastoral landscape which sent us shutterbugs into a snap-happy frenzy!


Much as we were reluctant to leave the dreaming spires of Oxford, a short train ride on the Great Western Railway from Oxford Station whisked us off in a blink of an eye to Moreton-in-Marsh, one of the principal market towns in the northern Cotswolds, situated on the Fosse Way. 

 
 
Typical moody grey and rainy English weather heralded our arrival to the town but our spirits were quickly lifted by the sight of a florist shop filled with a profusion of beautiful blooms. From bulbous tulips and violets to roses and daffodils, our little group went gaga over the wide assortment of flowers in the shop. The owner was gracious enough to allow us to take some photos.
 
The charming little town grew up in the 13th century as a market town with a wide main street, narrow burgage (conditions under which land or property were held in return for service or rent) plots and back lanes. 


 

 



Most of the buildings in these counties were built using local honey-coloured limestone known as 'Drystone' (refer to pic of wall above). Many Drystone walls were built in the 18th & 19th centuries - the stones were skillfully stacked together without any cement!

Although Moreton-in-Marsh only had a main street, our brief walkabout revealed some charming shops stocked with interesting merchandise. 

After browsing through an old-fashioned toy shop (it looks like something out of an Enid Blyton's story books), we popped into Tilly’s Tea House (4 High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0AF, tel: +44 1608 650000) – a beautiful Cotswolds tearoom for brunch.

I wish we had time and tummy space to try everything on the extensive menu but alas, it was impossible. Instead of lunch, I succumbed to Tilly's famed cream tea and it proved notable. The warm, buttery fruit scone with real clotted cream and strawberry jam was just divine!


After pinching a bite or two of my dining companions' sticky toffee pudding, Cornish pasty, salmon quiche and choc cake, I daresay they were the bee's knees too. No wonder the tearoom did roaring business as hungry visitors and locals came for their fill of cakes and to buy a selection of jams and chutneys.

Moments before our bus arrived for our next stopover which was Bourton-on-the-Water, we spotted The Cotswold Cheese Company across the road. Being the crazy foodies that we are, Jennifer and me couldn't resist dashing into the shop, just to feast our eyes on the vast selection of English cheeses and goodies in there.

We were reluctant to depart for the neighbouring village of Bourton-on-the-Water but pressed for time, we had to resist the urge to shop. Any misgivings were soon forgotten the minute we stepped off the bus as Bourton-on-the-Water was too pretty for words!
I won't bore you too much with long-winded descriptions...look at the scenic snapshots and you'd see the fairy tale setting of Bourton-on-the-Water. Bubbling brook, weeping willows by the river embankment, honey-coloured and ivy-wreathed stone houses and cosy little shops, trimmed hedges, little winding side lanes...it's truly reminiscent of an Enid Blyton story!

 

 

We even joined visitors thronging a local flea market which had some worthy buys but bearing in mind our baggage restrictions, again we had to curb our shopping impulse. 
  
  
For shopaholics, I'd recommend lugging back these interesting handcrafted miniature English cottages and some wine-scented candles or buttery shortbread in commemorative tins.
Unfortunately for us, the occasional shower soon turned into a major downpour when we reached the train station. Since it was the Easter hols, we all had to huddle in a small shelter as the rain and wind battered down after we disembarked from our bus. Sigh...suffice to say we had never been more relieved to board our train from Moreton-in-Marsh back to Oxford and onwards to Bath.
Nevertheless, it was a splendid day well spent. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and given a chance, had no qualms about returning for a repeat visit to the Cotswolds.



Travelling from Malaysia to the UK on a budget? Discover GreatValueBritain now via http://www.visitbritain.com/malaysia or visit CIT Malaysia http://cit.travel/europe/united-kingdom to plan your VisitBritain itinerary.
COMING SOON! 
The city of BATH makes a splash with us before 
we bid farewell to Great Value Britain.

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