Nancy had looked at some possible places to visit while we were in the Cotswolds and one of them was Bibury. I had never heard of the place but it turns out that this is one of the most photographed places in the UK. I guess I should have known about it but I didn’t. The photogenic area is a row of old cottages that are down near the river. We certainly took a look but we also wandered around the rest of the village which is pretty without needing the most visited sections.
The heart of the village is the church. It was a pretty nice looking building but surrounded by some places that were either not too appealing or were being rebuilt and were covered in scaffolding. A little careful angling meant I could avoid the worst of the backgrounds. The graveyard was also an interesting place to look around and see just how old some of the grave were.
We did return to the most visited part of the village. Coach loads of people would show up every once in a while so we did our best to avoid them and find times when they weren’t filling up the view. Also, it was an effort to try and minimize the cars in the shot. When you live in an old home, you don’t have parking included. Therefore, you park outside your house. Perfectly reasonable for the homeowner but having colorful modern cars is not what you want when taking a picture of centuries old buildings!
I can certainly see why the place is so popular with the tourists. It really is about as typical of an English country village. No idea why I had never heard of it but now I have so all is good.
Our stay in the Cotswolds needed a base and Burford was the place we chose. It is Oxfordshire rather than Gloucestershire but just about sneaks in on the edge of an area that I don’t think has a hard boundary anyway. Burford is an old market town and looks just like you would expect a Cotswold town to look. The buildings are all Cotswold stone and fit your image of what you would want. Apart from providing a nice location and a great hotel, it also provided the opportunity to take some walks without having to drive anywhere.
One walk we took was a loop starting and finishing at the hotel. It was a lovely day for a walk (and not just because I could see Hercules and A330s flying from nearby RAF Brize Norton in the distance!). The sun also seemed to be attracting a large number of pheasants. Every time we came around a corner, there seemed to be more pheasants hanging out in our path.
The walk provided a variety of sights as we went. Some wide open hillsides which had been harvested so were easy to cross, wooded areas, small valleys with trees either side and riverside sections meant the outing was constantly interesting. We saw some very old churches, some long views and a selection of wildlife.
The river had swans and geese that were interested in our presence and one section of the footpath included some young cattle. They were not huge since they were young but young cattle are still pretty chunky. While they were busy eating, we appeared to be of no interest. However, once we got a little closer, they got curious and came to greet us. We took a little care since, while they were not going to harm us, they can push you around without realizing it.
The last part of the walk brought us back in through the village and to the hotel. Given how much we were eating and drinking on this trip, it was a good thing to get some exercise in at last!
Our UK trip included a stay in the Cotswolds. While we were there, we wanted to take a look at Oxford. It has been a long time since I was last there and my previous visit was an ad hoc trip so we didn’t really see all that we could. This time, we took a guided walking tour of the city center. The guy who took the tour, Jacob, was a local lad and a student at the university. He had plenty of information at his finger tips and I suspect most of it was true. How would we know?
The tour focused on the area in the center of the city around some of the older and more famous colleges as well as some of the university buildings. It was a lovely day and the city was very busy. Consequently, pictures taken were holiday snaps – no time to try and be too artistic. We did have a shorter second loop after the tour though so I could go back and look at some places in slower time rather than get hurried on to the next part of the tour.
It is an old city with some great architecture. The school is okay I suppose but there are better establishments of learning if you are serious about your studies! As the parochial cousins go, though, they do okay. It all ended up with us having a pint at a pub down by the river so it really could not be considered a bad day.