From woodland walks to moreish roasts, recharge with a break in this rural idyll.
Visit gorgeous Cotswolds and its stunning blue cornflowers fields while sipping on the local flora at the Distillery shop.
Splurge on florals
The area is home to vast fields of stunning blue cornflowers in summer – and you can sample the local flora in spirit form at the Cotswolds Distillery shop in pretty Bourton-on-the-Water.
Its No 1 Wildflower Gin, £34.95 a bottle, blends cornflowers, lavender and orange – and is summer in a glass (Cotswoldsdistillery.com). Meanwhile, seek out floral motifs and gems from Oxfordshire jeweller Libby Rak in Woodstock (Libbyrak.co.uk).
Around the corner, pick up cotton shirts in starfish, palm tree or pineapple prints, £39, from local brand Sassy & Boo (Sassyandboo.online).
Walk off lockdown
The Bourton-on-the-Water to Lower Slaughter two-hour loop walk takes you along swan-filled streams, across pretty pastures and into honey-hued Lower Slaughter village on the banks of the River Eye.
Pop into the ancient Old Mill for a cone of handmade strawberry ice cream (Oldmill-lowerslaughter.com). Or pull on your hiking boots for the hilly three-and-a-half-mile Snowshill Manor to Littleworth Wood walk, which climbs up through magnificent woodland and lavender fields.
Reward yourself after with a pint of Cotswold Gold at the Snowshill Arms (Snowshillarms.co.uk).
Scoff pub grub
Come Sunday, book a table on The Kingham Plough’s terrace, near Chipping
Norton, and order Cotswolds chicken with honey-glazed carrots and cauliflower cheese, mains cost around £20 (Thekinghamplough.co.uk).
Or kick back at a covered picnic table at The Lamb near Witney
for beer-battered fish and chips, £15 (Lambpub.co.uk).
In the village of Northleach, the tables in The Wheatsheaf Inn’s walled garden are interspersed with blooming shrubs and herbs – a lovely spot for a Portobello mushroom, truffle and pecorino pizza, £12 (Cotswoldswheatsheaf.com).
Visit a palace
Explore the spectacular grounds of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, entry £18.50 (Blenheimpalace.com).
And the 90-minute Mysteries at Minster Lovell loop walk takes you to the romantic ruins of a 15th-century manor house and dovecote, with ample riverside picnic spots, entry free (English-heritage.org.uk).
For something different, peek into St Mary’s in Swinbrook to see the six statues of jaunty 17th-century gents looking ready to chat (Burfordchurch.org/st-marys-swinbrook).
Hit the hay
ISLE BE SAFE
Stay safe and sound with a trip to the Canary Islands this summer
With panoramas across stunning Windrush Valley, three-bedroom cottage
“Beautiful Cotswold View” on Fluff’s Farm in Bourton-on-the-Water is perfect for R&R.
Three-night stays start from £489 for six people sharing (Sykescottages.co.uk). Sip wine from the second-floor balcony while wildlife spotting, and wake up to incredible views from the main bedroom, with its floor- to-ceiling windows.
For a delicious seasonal menu made with locally sourced ingredients, wander down to The Mousetrap Inn. We loved the red-wine-braised
ox cheek with roast cauliflower and horseradish mash, £18.50, while the
elderflower panna cotta with blackberries, white chocolate and honeycomb, £6.50, was heaven on a plate (Themousetrapinn.co.uk)!
Cotswolds is said to mean “sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides”.
It’s England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Want to get away ASAP? Find your dream pad at Sykescottages.co.uk/last-minute-cottages.html.
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