Despite coach loads of tourists being dropped off on the hour, every hour, there is simply no denying that Bibury, situated in the Cotswolds, is absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you look is another picture perfect postcard shot waiting to be taken. Plus it is one of those rare English places that actually gets better in the Winter. As the days get shorter, the evenings longer and the outside air gets colder, the want to hibernate inside one of its many cute cottages or typical countryside pubs, becomes more and more legitimate. My husband and I visited last weekend having gatecrashed a romantic weekend away that my brother had planned for his wife.
The husband and I live close enough just for a day trip, but the area is not short of places to stay (though many have a two night minimum - especially at the weekend.) My brother stayed at one of the few places that allow you to stay for just one night - an historic pub and inn called the Catherine Wheel that happily housed me for a few hours on Saturday afternoon too. The pub serves good ale (I am told as I was the designated driver), excellent fizzy water and great bar snacks alongside heartier grub. When the cold got the better of us, we sampled one of its stone baked pizzas which hit the spot for me exactly where it needed to. Our only quibble was that the pub did not have Sky so my rugby loving husband was in danger of missing an Autumn international at Twickenham. However, through the use of modern technology, an Ipad, Wifi and a SkyGo account, we managed to watch the game.
Part way through the match, my sister in law and I left the pub to explore what downtown Bibury had to offer. You can walk around the village in about 10 minutes, but it takes a lot longer when you stop every couple of steps to look at the view and take a snapshot of it. We meandered down to Arlington Row (one of the UK's most instagrammed spots), along the river Coln up to the church near Bibury court and then down back round to the Swan and Bibury's trout farm, which was a three minute walk from the pub where we started.
Back in the Catherine Wheel, my brother and husband were a couple more Butcombe Ale's down and England were a few more tries ahead, so there were smiles all round. At the final whistle, our party debunked to the Swan Hotel and its bar for a game of Cluedo and what turned into a couple of bottles of Malbec for the drinkers. I should have therefore won both the matches we managed to fit in before leaving for our dinner reservation, but only managed an embarrassing one out of two. The Swan is a stunning pub and hotel so it was another perfect backdrop to our afternoon. We didn't eat there, or even try the bar snacks, but the food that was brought out to other customers looked delicious.
After deducing that it was Colonel Mustard in the Lounge with the lead piping, our party poured ourselves back into the car before traveling about twenty minutes away to a restaurant or Gastro pub in Ewen called the Wild Duck. Just south of Cirencester, I'm so very happy to say that this eatery is not far from my front door as the food we had was sublime. The menu offered hearty grub that was served in a wonderful atmosphere, full of buzzy diners and locals, with friendly service. It's part of the Lucky Onion, a chain of hotels and restaurants that I look forward to working my way through slowly. I can't recommend this outpost enough.
I loved my day in the Cotswolds and look forward to exploring even more of it over the coming months. Please let me know of any recommendations dear readers!