Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

25 May 2018

Cotswolds Highlights

Before we move to the East of England we have decided to pack the last month at our current location, with visits to places towards the West, focusing on the Cotswolds. On our first visit to some friends who recently moved to Burford, we realised that this area would need further investigation. So with my roving reporters hat firmly in place, off we set. 

Because I took too many photos just for instagram, I thought a whirlwind Insta visit to some of the things I found and loved. 

On our last visit we stayed so long at Daylesford Organic Farm, that we are kinda wishing it was on our doorstep, but it ate into our day so we came back for more. The staff are so friendly not only at the farm but also at their gastro pub The Wild Rabbit, where we were welcomed so warmly and so incredibly impressed with the flavours of the organic food, supplied by the farm. 

Not to be said for all of the stops on our trip, where some gastro pubs were decidedly frosty, and despite 'awards' served the most underwhelming plate of cheese, I can't even call it anything else, it was just cheese on a plate.  I mention this because I was desperately trying not to fall into too many tourist traps, where the wisteria covered stone building lulled you into a false sense of trust and welcome.

And so the Grade 1 listed church, with yew trees around the door ...

First I have to tell you about this magical door between two trees, it's in Saint Edwards church at Stow On The Wold. Overall, Stow, is obviously a tourist spot, as the town has more tea shops per capita than I've ever seen, all bursting to the seams with visitors. Our main purpose was, however to see the church.  Don't get me wrong, the town is super pretty, with wonky buildings and, of course, like everywhere here built in that fabulous Cotswold stone. 

Practically every little town we stopped at was gorgeous. There are great antique shops and centres (like Station Mill) everywhere, lovely pubs and cafes and of course the countryside between. 

Our absolute top favourite though, and the main reason for this post, is most definitely Chastleton House. A Jacobean wonder near Moreton In Marsh. Unlike a lot of National Trust properties, this is a place where you can really see how the last occupants lived during the 400 years of their stay. It has a mixture of furnishings from all periods, it's tatty, and full of charm. Probably one of my favourite houses yet to see. Famous for having a Long Gallery with barrel vaulted ceiling, a place where ladies could exercise by parading up and down the 72 foot room. 

yes I always wear a ruff to visit Jacobean houses

The house has been conserved rather than restored, and the belongings of the family who lived here make it all the more interesting. Some parts have been used in the filming of Wolf Hall and the Seymours. 

I was a bit disappointed that they had the lights on in many of the rooms, they were so much more photographable without the yellow tinge, and I'm afraid I freaked out one of the guides by switching them off to take a shot, but then I'm ruthless in my quest for natural light.  The wooden panelling is so warm and worn, and there are lovely tapestries, as once all the rooms would have been hung with these. Where time has marched on, remnants of Victorian wallpaper, 1930's gadgets can all also be found, transporting you to a time when this was a home. 

The garden at Chastleton also needs another visit as we got there a bit late, so I think we could be heading back that way again. We liked the way it was planted out and might be looking at it for inspiration for the landscaping at our new house. In true English fashion, there is tea and cake served in the churchyard next door, as the house doesn't have a cafe. This makes it even more appealing to us, a cuppa and a slice of sponge cake among the grave stones was simply perfect. The car park is a bit of a trek from the house, so please take comfy outdoor shoes, as you will need to negotiate an inclined field. 

Everything that is touched by the Daylesford magic is stunning. Please do look into all the different arms of their estate, the Wild Rabbit modern pub, the organic sustainable farm and shop, their ethos and their products. I would love to stay at one of their cottages, maybe a short holiday at another date. It is such a credit to this area and to my mind should be the centre of your investigations around this part of England. 

So I leave you down in the cellar kitchen at Chastleton, oh I wish we could organise an insta meet here!

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