Hi everyone, I am so excited to bring you this blog post about my recent trip! It features many different aspects that you requested on my Instagram: story time, itinerary, dog friendly suggestions, places to eat etc. It was incredibly jam packed but I wouldn’t swap it for the world! This is going to be a long one.. don’t say I didn’t warn you!! So go and grab a drink, something to eat and prepare to be amazed and inspired over the stunning beauty of the area! 9 different counties, 3 days, we’re in for a hell of a journey! If you want to see more photography from my trip head over to my instagram! I’m gonna stop talking now and get started, stay tuned till the end for a special offer! 😉
Day 1: The Cotswold’s
Our journey starts in my home county – Kent. It’s 6:30am, my dog is barking and I’m incredibly tired! The car is packed up and of course I’m late – ending up leaving at 7 instead of 6:30!
Stop 1: Snelsmore Common
Our first stop is the incredible Snelsmore Common Country Park in Newbury. A lovely place to stop off and oh my word the wild ponies!! There were loads of them!! They are so darn cute and so tame! I’m not gonna lie and say it wasn’t the main reason for taking the slight detour – because it definitely was! But let me tell you that I am so glad I decided to go there – it has everything from disabled access trails to picnic places. You can walk your dog for miles and even if you don’t have a furry friend it’s so worth it! The weather was cloudy (typical Britain!) but that didn’t matter, the gorse shone bright and the mist made the scene look moody! Even better, it’s totally FREE! Like free everything, free entry, free parking etc – brilliant for all you budget watchers out there!
Here is their website for all the information you could possibly need: Snelsmore web (it is well signed however I would recommend a Satnav for ease!)
Stop 2: Donnington Castle
Another freebie!! Your savings will thank me in the long run!! This castle is located only 9 minutes drive away and it’s great for a little photo stop! The castle is run by English Heritage, has free parking right next to the castle itself, and is open any sensible daylight hours. It doesn’t take more than 10 minutes but the ruins house spectacular photo opportunities! Sometimes the underrated places are the best! So here you go, here are some of my shots:
Stop 3: Bampton
This is the start of the Cotswold’s part of my trip and I couldn’t be more excited to be in Bampton! I walked my dog round the quaint streets and had already pre-researched some of the filming locations for popular series Downton Abbey! I was inwardly screaming recognising these places and walking in the footsteps of the cast!
But if you’re not a fan of Downton don’t write off Bampton – it truly is a remarkable village and the photography possibilities are endless! It’s great for a walk round and it’s only 50 minutes drive from Donnington castle!
Stop 4: Bibury
Situated just 30 minutes from Bampton, Bibury is an obvious destination to visit in the Cotswold’s. However I must tell you this was the busiest place of the day – so if you are following this as a dog friendly guide then make sure they’re comfortable around people. Bibury is famous for Arlington Row and it’s easy to see why!! A river and beautiful houses make it a haven for photography! Arlington Row is made up of 17th Century weaver’s cottages and is owned by the National Trust. There are plenty of walking options and a pub if you fancy a nice lunch by the river! (I took a picnic, because as I’m sure you can imagine puppy + food + tourists does not end well!) I just want to say that it is virtually impossible to capture the whole row without people in the foreground – you could try your luck early morning or late evening but it is really difficult!
Stop 5: Bourton on the water
So Bourton is located 20 minutes from Bibury and it is really beautiful but the highlight for me has to be the model village (as seen in Nativity 3.) Now this is my first non dog friendly activity, but I really recommend it if you have a travelling companion you can take it in turns with! The model village takes around 30 minutes but it’s well worth it – a great way to see the whole of Bourton if you’re on a time limit!! Parking is located at the entrance to the Old New Inn and costs £1 for an hour which I found was enough time to explore both the models and the river. The prices for entry themselves and all other information you will need can be found here. I promise you it’s a must see if you are in the area, if you can get past some of the strange looks about being alone with a massive camera! It’s really photogenic!The river itself is also worth a quick stroll, but probably no more than half an hour as it doesn’t go that far! However there are some quaint gift shops and lovely bridges!So I had no idea this little duck was in the bottom of my picture!! But yeah, there are some lovely wildlife in Bourton too!
Stop 6: Lower Slaughter
Upon arrival in Lower Slaughter there was filming in progress for Emma so photography wasn’t allowed in a lot of the village. However, you go there for the Old Mill and that was luckily past the cordons! It’s a stunning village situated on the river making for amazing photography!
Stop 7: Stow on the Wold
Okay so I’m aware that this may sound a bit ridiculous but hear me out!! Yes I went to Stow on the Wold just for a doorway! But in my defence it is a very pretty doorway and photographed a lot! Stow on the Wold is lovely but it isn’t really somewhere to spend a lot of time in if you want typical Cotswold charm. So go on.. you have my full permission and support.. go and park up near that doorway, snap your pictures and drive away feeling no shame knowing you’ve got a great photo! It’s also only 6 minutes from Lower Slaughter so it’s not like it’s a long journey! (PS.. if someone knows how to rotate WordPress images I’d be eternally grateful because this is really annoying!!)
Stop 8: Snowshill
Have we got any Bridget Jones fans out there?! If you are then this is the place for you: “Snowshill attracted much attention when it was chosen as the film location of the Bridget Jones family in the 2001 feature film, “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, starring Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant. The scenes where Bridget Jones visited her family at Christmas, were filmed in July 2000, which required the centre of Snowshill, including the village green, to be covered with artificial snow.” Sound good? Then don’t forget to add this picturesque village to your bucket list!
So that was my final day 1 stop! The whole day lasted from leaving at 7 to getting to the hotel at 7! So it is an incredibly long and tiring day but well worth it because you get to see all of the highlights of the Cotswold’s and the drive is also beautiful!
I decided to stay at a Travelodge near Bath which I understand isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it’s central (and located next to a Starbucks!!) It’s also dog and budget friendly, the staff were so friendly and it was a lovely stay!
Day 2: Bath
Day 2 was just as hectic as day 1 and trust me your feet will ache by the end of this trip but it’s so worth it! It’s making me feel tired now just thinking about it!
Day 2 started upon arrival in Bath at 9am (slightly more respectable than yesterday’s early start!!) The weather has said it would be cloudy but in true British fashion it decided to change and it was actually really lovely and made for some dream photography! It takes half an hour to get to Bath from the Travelodge and there are loads of places for free parking – I visited on a Sunday and lots of road restrictions don’t apply on this day!
Stop 1: Sydney Gardens
There isn’t a lot to say about this park, only that it’s very pretty and a great place to walk the dog! At 9am the only people really out and about were the locals so it was nice to immerse in the culture for a bit before heading on the tourist track. I would suggest taking your camera and looking for the unexpected, a quirky tree branch or a cool barge passing under the bridge makes for amazing photography.
Stop 2: Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney bridge is iconic and it’s only a 9 minute walk down another iconic street – Great Pulteney Street so you tick two things off your list in one! I’m going to talk to you about food now.. everyone’s favourite topic! To get to this amazing cafe you need to pass into the bypass signed riverside walk. From there you get incredible views of the bridge and river AND the best breakfast you could ever dream of! Now there is a catch.. it is £21 for two English breakfasts and hot and cold drinks each (there are other options, e.g. French or American breakfast.) The price is worth it, one: the food is gorgeous and two: just look at this view! You truly feel like royalty! Check them out here!
Stop 3: Bath Abbey
Walking just 4 minutes takes you to the architectural wonder of Bath Abbey! Take the time to explore the surrounding streets because it truly is a beautiful place! After breakfast you’ll feel more like exploring so go and run wild with your camera! Experiment with angles and just enjoy yourself! Here are some of my angles and photo spots if you need some inspiration:
Stop 4: The Roman Baths
This is again another non dog friendly one but if you can ask that trusted person once more it’s a must see in Bath! Just buy them some Bath Water in the gift shop to say thank you ;). My description won’t do the Baths justice so I really recommend going and getting an audio guide to have a professional tell you about it! (although I must say I was very tired on that day and it took me about 10 minutes to realise I had to turn the volume up to be able to hear!) Photography is allowed throughout and I recommend booking online for a discount! There is an option to take a free guided tour every hour as well if that’s something you would be interested in! Please take my advice, and do not leave without tasting the water, I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s lovely – it tastes gross! BUT, it’s part of the experience! https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/
Stop 5: Parade Gardens
A beautiful outlet to escape the business of the city, but there are no dogs allowed and a small fee is charged towards the upkeep of the garden, but when I found out there’s a dress made of flowers I had to go in! The cost is £2 or £1 for children which is a small price to pay for views of Pulteney Bridge and beautiful flowers. There also deckchairs for relaxing in when the sun finally decides to come out!
Stop 6: The Circus and Royal Crescent
A great spot perfect for Instagram! But beware, it’s popular with tourists so head there towards lunchtime when the cafes and restaurants are in peak time!
Stop 7: Prior Park
This has to be my favourite stop of the day! Located just 15 minutes out of Bath, this garden paradise is a perfect spot to enjoy the afternoon! It’s totally dog friendly and the man that welcomed us on the gate was so helpful, he spent ages with us pointing out a quiet route that the dog would enjoy – not to mention the map! I’m not even joking, the presentation of something as simple as a site map was stunning! There is no on site parking but, if you’re lucky there is a small road 30 seconds from the entrance that provides adequate free parking. It’s run by the national trust so there is a fee for entry but it’s a lovely way to spend time in Bath. For all pricing information and more detailed descriptions click the link here.
Stop 8: Sham Castle
This is the last stop for the day 2 itinerary and by this point the idea of climbing the hill up to the castle at 6pm was not appealing – I was ready to go back to the hotel, get sausage and chips and crash in front of the TV. But I am incredibly glad I did walk up there because it’s magnificent, there is parking down the bottom of the slope and takes around 15 minutes to walk up there and back and explore properly.
Day 3: Wells, Cheddar Gorge, Lacock, Castle Combe
The final day is definitely tinged with sadness but by no means did it involve a slower pace! If anything this was the hardest day in terms of legs hurting like hell and feeling tired all the time! But like I said, this itinerary was amazing and really worth it.
Stop 1: Wells
Upon parking at Waitrose, there was an hour to explore the wonderful city of Wells. Luckily I researched this trip to death and knew exactly where I was heading – the Cathedral and of course Vicar’s Close. Arriving early was a blessing as the tourists hadn’t yet arrived which meant uninterrupted access to photography at Vicar’s Close – a usual tourist hotspot. There were locals walking around the cathedral and the whole atmosphere was really quiet and relaxed!
Stop 2: Cheddar Gorge – Caves, Clifftop walk, Jacob’s ladder
I’m going to start off by saying that this is not for the faint hearted! But I’m getting ahead of myself, Cheddar is located 18 minutes away from Wells and is quite expensive so I recommend booking online to receive the discount – click the link here for ticket information.
Parking is an extra £5 and there are a choice of 3 car parks. You start your journey at the caves where you get your ticket that allows you access to all areas of the gorge. Then head into the caves (all of this is dog friendly and I didn’t have a problem with my dog in the caves.) There is an audio guide to give you lots of informative facts about the caves and history and photos are allowed throughout, including flash photography.
Next up is Jacob’s Ladder and the clifftop walk, and I’m telling you now it is not for the faint hearted! The steps themselves total 274, which may not sound like many but trust me it wears you out if you’re not used to climbing! Not to mention that the path at the top is then continually steep and rocky BUT it is worth the pain, because only half an hour into the walk you get to the main viewpoint and some cute mountain goats if you’re lucky! Then if you don’t feel up to the rest you can turn back which is downhill (I did this!) I promise you the views are spectacular though, just be informed before you go and take plenty of water! Also, don’t forget to make time for the lookout tower – It’s definitely a must see.
Stop 3: Lacock
Lacock is so beautiful that the whole village is owned by the National Trust! It’s known for many films such as Harry Potter and it’s Abbey is renowned. Lacock is a small village so I just recommend that you wander round the streets and then visit the Abbey (no dogs and for a small fee.) For pricing of the abbey click here.
Stop 4: Castle Combe
Castle Combe is a stunning example of a Cotswold Village and is a must see Cotswold Village! I decided to go later in the day so it was quieter and I was right to – the tourists had gone which just left pure and uninterrupted beauty! I think it’s a place that just speaks for itself!
Stop 5: Wootton Bassett
This isn’t a real stop, I just decided to stop off at the Cross Keys pub in Wootton Bassett for dinner before heading home! It’s cosy and dog friendly – I would recommend it if you love proper English food!
Thank you all much for reading, I hope you enjoyed seeing the photography and found it useful! Have you ever visited any of these places? Let me know what you think of them in the comments below! Until next time, have a great week! x
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