Travel Diary: Europe 2018 | The Cotswolds
Our Europe 2018 Itinerary:
The Cotswolds, England
Switzerland (Grindelwald and Lucerne)
Alsace Region, France
The "Royal Wedding Trip" - our month long family vacation to Europe started here in The Cotswolds! It is a gem of a place and we absolutely fell in love. We plan all our trips ourselves (so many people ask if we use a travel agent, and aside from some dear helpful friends and family who have helped us out with flight deals to itinerary ideas, we plan everything ourselves) and so it's always a bit tricky knowing exactly what a place will be like when you arrive but this trip and this place worked out perfectly.
We're so grateful our time in The Cotswolds and for how all the little details unfolded beautifully.
"The most beautiful village in England"
- William Morris
Oh, The Cotswolds. I've never visited a place quite like it.
And even though we spent a week there, we only saw and experienced a slice of it (partly because a chunk of our time was spent with The Royal Wedding festivities -- all of that coming in the next post!)
We stayed in Bibury for our entire seven days in The Cotswolds in a beautiful converted stone barn (see website here -- so many people asked for this when I posted about the trip on Instagram so I hope this is helpful. Our hosts were the loveliest couple and took great care of us!) It looked stunning online when I booked it, and it proved to be even more amazing in person. It feels like a house and was wonderful to have all the things we needed: 2 bedrooms, a washer, bathroom, a living room, TV, and kitchen (dishwasher, etc!) Super nice especially to have a washer and do loads of toddler laundry!
Bibury Holiday Cottages
Behind the barn is a lovely, charming yard -- Weston adored it and played out there morning and night. Our sweet hosts even brought him their grandchildren's toys! He had the happiest time.
And we could not get over how green it all was. A truly stunning place. I highly recommend Bibury and I would love to go back someday and bring more family.
Weston is such a little trooper -- so happy, even after a 7 + hour red-eye flight! He's truly the best traveler (better than his mama! lol I was struggling at this point ;)
Part of the reason we took this trip was to celebrate our third wedding anniversary! It was magical to arrive at our little converted stable home, rest well, and wake up in the enchanting Bibury, England, rejoicing in three years of marriage! Such a gift and a joy.
The buildings are all beautiful, unique, and historic. The thatched roofs and signature Cotswold Stone... ahh, I fell in love!
As we prepared and set off for this family adventure, Daniel specifically prayed that the Lord would allow it to be "Psalm 23" to us: leading us beside still waters and green pastures. It truly proved to be just that. God is so kind and merciful to us. And cares so much about the little details.
We took endless walks and picnics every day in these fields. Absolutely enchanting! I felt just like I was in the midst of one of my beloved Jane Austen novels. A dream come true.
Weston called the cows and sheep "Babies!" constantly while we were there! I'll always remember that.
These two. Their relationship. (His little hand!!)
Just a walk down the lane from our stable cottage is Bibury Trout Farm. It features a quaint, tiny outdoor cafe where we got coffee in the mornings. Lots of tourists poured in during the afternoons for a quick stop, photo, and back on the bus! It was interested to actually be there for an extended period of time, since most people just stop quickly in Bibury (it is small!) -- we felt like the locals! They'd close up shop in the early afternoon and the tourist buses would drive away. We loved exploring all the meadows and fields and streams, it was the perfect country landing spot for us during the royal wedding festivities (even though it was a bit of a drive the days we went, it worked out fine.) We enjoyed this small town.
There is a trout farm in Bibury and the man who runs it was so sweet to us. When he heard we were celebrating our anniversary, he gifted us a bottle of champagne and 2 freshly caught trout filets!
Everywhere we went those days before and after the royal wedding... Harry and Meghan were the talk of the town! It was such fun to be so close to all the excitment. Something I'll remember all my life.
Another self-timer family photo set on the stroller for the win! lol ;) (So many of you ask me how we get family photos while traveling -- I'll share about it on my Instagram soon. It's really just lots of self timer photos and lots of creativity and patience!)
Fields and meadows of green, green grass and all the dandelions a little boy could wish for!
He was one Cloud Nine the whole week in The Cotswolds. And, I love when he is on Cloud Nine.
My happy adventuring man.
The very best fish and chips are in England.
Spring flowers blooming.
After visiting Europe in the winter and the fall, and now the late spring -- it really is my favorite in the spring and summer! All the flowers, the sunshine, the warmth, the tourists not quite flooding the spots (since school wasn't out yet!) but tourist spots being open. It was nice to experience it in good weather!
We enjoyed afternoon tea time at The William Morris Tea Room in Bibury. A charming spot and darling couple who must have owned it all their lives.
( Look at this darling place! The beams, the chandeliers, all the little details that hold a story and mean so much to someone.
If I could, I'd spend every afternoon in a tea shop in England. Fits my little soul like a glove lol!
And look at this whole selection of tea pots -- goals!
We had dinner one night at The Swan Hotel down the road from our B + B - delicious food! And, I loved these little royal wedding menus they had!
The coolest Starbucks we'd ever seen.
This is just an iPhone snap, but man... the sunsets.
We took a picnic to the middle of this field one evening at sunset. (This little town was near Bibury, but we can't remember the name! So many sweet spots there. You can just drive through charming village after village.) Magic.
My very happy explorer boy!
Such a historic and beautiful place. (And yet, a confession: during our days here, I kept thinking, "Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black and Cameron Diaz!!" It was straight out of "The Holiday" haha!
Our little Englishman.
Daniel busked here for an afternoon! The people were so kind.
It warmed my heart and made me smile to see all the fly fishing in England. My dad is an avid, life-long fly fisherman ("A River Runs Through It" status. One of my favorite meaningful movies.) So I sent him pictures of trout farms and Orvis shops.
I'll never get enough of pastel, half-timbered buildings with a thatched roof.
This antique shop had a program from Princess Diana's royal wedding in the window!! If they'd been open (closed because it was a sunday) you know I would've snatched it up!
One of my favorite things to do in Europe is peruse antique shops. The history.... gives me chills! The shops are rich with stories. I have lots of English blood (like, mostly English) on both my parent's sides of the family (my grandfather was born and raised in England for part of his life and even has an English accent today) and being there.... I kept telling Daniel I'd never felt so "at home" in a place, besides home! It's hard to describe but being in The Cotswolds and especially in London area was very emotional for me and soul-moving. Finding this box of plates beside stacks of old books on the street in Bourton-on-the-water made my heart pitter patter.
Daniel busked here too! The tourists and locals were supportive!
Daniel's captive audience! These sweet ladies sat on the bench across the water the whole time he played.
I didn't get many pictures of this little gem, but we enjoyed our day there!
The Cotswolds in general... a magical place. And during our whole stay (in England) it only rained/sprinkled ONCE! We kept saying we felt like we were back home in Southern California haha! It was such a memorable, perfect, joyful week. This was only a slice of The Cotswolds. There's much more to see. Seems every place we visit in this great big world, we leave saying, "I wish we had more time!"
Up next: The Royal Wedding!