England Revisited – Minchinhampton, Stroud, Glocestershire

From rugged sea cliffs of North Devon to gentles hills in landlocked Cotswold, the landscape was quite a change indeed. Nonetheless Cotswold’s idyllic charm appeals in equal measure. I’ve been to Cotswold a number of times before and covered many of towns better known by tourists. Where to this time? The guiding idea was to experience a manor house hotel, and Burleigh Court Hotel made the cut due to availability, affordability and location.

It worked out perfectly. Burleigh Court Hotel is located on the outskirt of Stroud, Glocestershire, and within walking distance to Minchinhampton, a 17th century market town with a market house and town center that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years, and it has an excellent onsite restaurant.

The walks between Burleigh Court, Minchinhampton and Box are delightful, with typical Cotswold vista and glimpses of Stroud Valley along the way. The Commons here are immensely impressive, especially in springtime when the fields are covered in pretty little wildflowers, where people picnic or play golf, alongside herds of grazing cows, picture of pastoral bliss.

Here is the self-guided walking route that we followed:

Following this route, we passed Weaver’s Cottage where we ran into a couple working on their garden and learnt from them that this little corner used to be the “red district” of the town two/three hundred years ago.

Burleigh Court Hotel :

Minchinhampton town center:

Minchinhampton – Weavers Cottage:

Common areas between Minchinhampton and Burleigh Court Hotel:

England Revisited – Staying in an English Village

Where to go for first oversea vacation in 2 years? No brainer really, back to England of course!

At this point, dear Blog, I should explain about this hiatus of more than two years. We moved back to USA in Sep. 2020. Although that is not the only reason for the abrupt halt to my posts, I’ll spare you the details of vicissitude, and focus on returning to England for a holiday.

Living in London between 2015 and 2020 was truly the time of my life. Although I had been a fan and visited multiple times prior to moving to London, those five years afforded me the opportunity to explore further the British Isle in length and depth that I had not expected. I am now convinced that, despite its own host of issues and imperfections, the British Isle is my happy place. Interesting fact was that I didn’t come to the conclusion until after moving back to US. Sometimes one must step away to see the big picture.

Needless to say, it was exciting to be back. During almost three weeks’ time between May 26 – Jun 13, we stayed with a couple of friends in their village in Essex, took a road trip and finally spent a good portion of time in London. As a friend put it, “England is the best this time of the year”, I couldn’t agree more, I was reminded many times why I love England!

As much as I enjoy London the big town, I love the countryside too, and no visit to England would be complete without experiencing its countryside & village life, its heart and soul! Luckily, we were invited to stay with our dear friends Amanda and Ian in their village in Essex.

Having arrived at Heathrow Airport on May 26, we picked up our rental car from Enterprise, and drove towards Amanda and Ian. Heathrow, Enterprise, M25 and service areas on the way are formerly familiar stomping grounds, fatigue from the long flight swept away, and the excitement built, “Hello UK, I am back!”. As we left the traffic behind, entered the rural scene and along with it that sense of peace and quiet that I enjoy so much in the English countryside. Thus we began the first 4 days of our holiday.

Being close to London, our friends get the best of both country and town. Meanwhile, like many villages in UK, it boasts a long history and hosts a number of Grade II listed buildings. Although I have visited multiple times before, I still find it irresistible!! Take a little stroll with me through one of the walking routes, crossing wheat fields, picking on Elder Flowers, Dog Roses, and Sticky Grass while minding and avoiding Nettles, looking for the elusive manor house, which alas was completely concealed in greenery this time of the year, visiting Parish Church of St Mary dating back to 12th century, walking through high street spotting various old and new buildings, stopping at a war memorial, which is something you might see in every village of certain age and a way of reminding its residents how precious peace is, and watching a Saturday cricket match. And certainly, don’t forget delicious tea and cake at the end of the walk.