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.
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 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.
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.
The city of BATH makes a splash with us before
we bid farewell to Great Value Britain.