Slow Cotswolds

  • Last minute ideas for the Bank Holiday Weekend

    So you're driving home from a busy week at work, unlocking the front door and you haven't given the Bank Holiday Weekend a moment's thought. What bank holiday? The one that's starting - right now. This weekend.

    Nothing planned? Not even a takeaway pizza and a bottle of beer? Here are some last-minute options to have a great weekend, a fantastic day out or even to snatch an hour or two in the Cotswolds:

    Saturday: My money's on Malmesbury. Take a tour of the town for sure - there's a great circular walk outlined on page 276 of Slow Travel: The Cotswolds - but a must-see are the Abbey House Gardens (page 277-8). They are spectacular and especially at this time of year when the borders are a riot of tulips. You'll find knot gardens, topiary, sunny lawns and a wooded dell that slopes down to the old monastic fishponds and the River Avon. Tranquility personified.

    Sunday: It's got to be a Sunday bike ride hasn't it? If you don't possess a bike or you don't want to spend the time strapping them onto a roof-rack, it doesn't matter. You can hire one from Bainton Bikes in various locations - including Kingham Railway Station (page 169 - direct trains from London Paddington), Moreton-in-Marsh (page 124-5), Cirencester (page 194-7), Tetbury (page 266-8) and the Cotswold Water Park (pages 214-6). There are great cycle routes from all these destinations but one I'd particularly recommend is the Windrush Valley Cycle Route (page 170) which uses the quiet lanes of the National Cycle Network Route 47 to create a 17-mile wiggly cycle ride through through the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. It's a waymarked route and perfect if you're arriving by train to Kingham.

    Monday: To really find out what makes the Cotswolds tick, a visit to the Sheep and Wool Day at the Old Prison Cotswolds Discovery Centre (page 181) in Northleach is a must. This ia a great family day out that celebrates all things woolly - which is what the Cotswolds is all about! The day starts at 10.30am and goes on 'til 4pm.

    But, if you're after a lazy morning - and you happen to be in Oxford (see the Cotswold Gateways Chapter) - I'd head to The Rusty Bicycle (page 48) on Magdalen Road. They serve brunch on Bank Holiday Mondays from 10am to 3pm - with a tasty menu. The food is fabulous and the ambience - just right for 'one of those days'. By the way, they also serve amazing pizza and bottles of beer.

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