Nestled in the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is a village in Gloucestershire that is well known for its outstanding beauty. Before we paid this slice of heaven a visit, I honestly had not heard of it (or thought of it as a mini-break kind of destination) but Gareth had been when he was younger, had many fond memories and wanted to go back. And so, we did!
On Saturday 12th August we got in our car and made the three hour trip, blessed with sunshine and blue skies.
Day One; Kingfishers, ice cream and a model village
As I mentioned in my previous post, we had some Tesco vouchers to spend on a hotel room for the night, a trip to Birdland and a meal at Zizzi’s- so this was a bit of a budget break. That said it was surprisingly packed! Our first port of call was Birdland, which you can read about here!
Birdland is actually in Bourton-on-the-water so once we had finished up there we decided to explore the picturesque village. The river Windrush winds through the village and understandably is quite the focal point. As we had picked one of the hottest days of the year to visit it wasn’t surprising to find that the place was packed with families, all picnicking and eating ice creams on the bank. A row of beautiful stone buildings lined the street, with vendors selling delicious ice cream.
Across the river we were incredibly lucky to spot a Kingfisher sunning himself in a tree. I have never seen a Kingfisher in real life before but have spent many dreary moments waiting to spot a flash of one; so this surprise sighting was very exciting! It was also in this moment that I cursed my zoom lens for being inexpensive and kind of crap. I would have loved a proper close up of this guy.
After the excitement of spotting the Kingfisher we decided to get ice creams. Knowing that we would be eating out later we didn’t really want anything too heavy for lunch. I opted for a Rhubarb Crumble ice cream and it was wonderful. We sat by the river for awhile, just soaking up the sun and the surroundings. It really is such a beautiful spot in the world.
Ice creams finished we headed off to the model village. I am a sucker for miniatures and I adore model villages; there’s just something so cute about them! So I was really excited to see what the model village of Bourton-on-the-Water would be like. Entrance was very cheap, just £3 per person (well within our budget!)
As expected the model village was incredibly cute and so fun to wander through. I particularly liked the model village within the model village…which had a model village within that!
One of the things I really loved about this particular model village was all the attention to detail. If you peeked in the shop windows or bedrooms you could spy teeny tiny goods and possessions. In particular I liked the miniature greenhouse complete with small gardener and tiny plant pots!
The model village also had a miniatures exhibition running in a separate building. To view this exhibition you had to pay an additional pound but I definitely think it was worth it. The room was dark with black painted walls lined with glass cabinets. Each glass cabinet was illuminated and contained a fun scene that had been lovingly created. It was so much fun to peek in to these tiny worlds and drink in all the detail.
When we had finished exploring the model village we headed to our hotel in nearby Cheltenham. Obviously no mini break would be complete without a crappy film (Uncle Buck) and a bit of daytime napping. In the evening we took the bus to Suffolk Square in the Mont Pellier District for our meal at Zizzis. I was incredibly surprised and amused to discover that this particular branch of Zizzis had been built in an old church! I wish I had some proper photographs to share on my blog but really taking a camera to dinner was too much for me. (But head over to my Instagram if you want to see some cheeky phone snaps. You have to see it to believe it!) Later that evening we went to a converted fire station for drinks, I guess it was an evening for unusual building conversions!
Day Two; Stratford Upon Avon
On the second day of our trip we decided to visit the historic Stratford Upon Avon, another first for me. If you didn’t already know, Stratford Upon Avon is considered the birth place of Shakespeare and everywhere you look his presence makes itself known. From shops filled with his works to the place he called home as a child, everywhere you look there are reminders.
But asides from the historical draw of the place, Stratford Upon Avon is just really lovely. The buildings are mostly original and are a pleasure to look at, there are so many interesting shops to peruse as well such as a Victorian Christmas shop (and a Lush.) One thing I particularly enjoyed was the beds of flowers almost everywhere you looked, it definitely makes a difference to see such a splash of natural colour.
As Gareth’s parents live not too far away (around an hours drive) we decided to meet up and spend the day together. I haven’t seen them for a little while due to how busy I’ve been so it was really lovely to see them again and have a catch up.
With the sun shining down on us we decided to head to the local park and take a stroll by the river Avon. The river winds all the way through the park and is dotted with pretty canal boats and plenty of swans.
As Gareth’s parents had Arden (Arden is the dog!) it was a good excuse for a walk. At lunchtime we ate in the park.
Our visit to Stratford Upon Avon was quite short but sweet. We definitely didn’t get to see all the areas of interest such as Anne Hathaway’s cottage, however we had a lovely time and I really enjoyed our walk along the river (and I think Arden did too, but you’ll have to ask her to be sure.)
All in all I had a wonderful mini break and I know I’ve already said it but I can’t reiterate it enough; it was so needed. I am off on another mini break this weekend, this time to Dorset. Not sure if I should blog about it or vlog about it…we shall see!