As I got further away from London and began to see the countryside of the Cotswolds I immediately relaxed. I felt I could breathe again.
I’ve given you my impressions of London.
But this week I had a conversation with a woman working in a shop in one of the Cotsowlds towns about London.
She commented, “London has no soul.”
That was it!
She put into words what I was feeling during my time in London.
London seems a bit cold. Lacking soul.
And I believe that’s why I didn’t connect with this city like I have with other places.
Thankfully I’ve found soul here in the Cotswolds.
Rolling green hills.
Sheep bleating in the fields.
Cows munching on grass.
Charming towns and villages.
Flowers growing everywhere.
And kind people.
Now I wouldn’t say the people here are warm.
After all — they are still English!
They’ll never be the Irish or the Scots who have a special place in my heart.
But I have met some incredibly friendly folks.
Including this woman at the shop who gave me some advice on where to walk. I went back to thank her and she actually hugged me as I said goodbye.
My favorite part of the Cotswolds is simply walking everywhere.
There are public footpaths and other longer connected trails — including the Cotswold Way, the Heart of England Way and the Winchcombe Way — everywhere. It’s awesome!
And you see the signs everywhere for all these paths and ways and footpaths.
Many of them go straight through grazing land. So you have to share it with sheep and cows.
The sheep don’t bother me. The cows — well, I just don’t look at them. They’re much bigger than the sheep!
But I have loved walking in this agriculture paradise.
As it comes down to my last day here
I have to admit that while I’ve enjoyed it here, it’s still not the Highlands of Scotland or the less-visited areas of Ireland.
Don’t get me wrong as it is beautiful here. And it beats London by miles.
But there are also loads of tour busses coming into these quaint villages. As a result it can get overcrowded at times with too many folks.
Lucy here at Manor Farm took me to Burton-on-the-Water my first full day here. Granted it was a bank holiday here in the UK, but it was jam packed with tourists and loads of shops selling stuff you don’t need. It’s a beautiful town — truly picturesque as hell. But I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Winchcombe was a bit more real to me even though the Sudeley Castle is right there.
Chipping Campden and Broadway are 2 towns that are a mix for me. A bit touristy, but no as bad as Burton-on-the-water. I walked to both towns and did enjoy my time there.
Lucy took me by the little villages of Lower and Upper Slaughter, Snowshill, Stanton and Laverton. All are towns I would recommend stopping by. There’s not much too them, but they are gorgeous.
But I think the Cotswolds are a bit like Tuscany for me.
I love it but also feel as though the towns begin to look the same. And often they just get discovered then overrun with tourists and touristy shops.
I like when places are not so well-known and have a more local feel to them.
However that’s often hard to find these days.
So would I recommend the Cotswolds?
I’d say yes. But get out and walk them.
For me that has truly been the best part.
Walking through sheep fields and cow pastures and taking in views of the towns below or the houses on the hills has been the best part of my time here.
And yes, the towns are lovely and you do want to spend some time there.
But be sure to experience the true Cotswolds.
After all this is farm country.