Visit Britain’s Gem
I might be slightly biased, but as a Brit-who-lives-in-America-who-is-visiting-the-UK I find the Cotswolds still one of the most charming and delightfully English places of all.
But I don’t really know it properly; I haven’t discovered it all and there is much more to it than I am aware of. So I was over the moon to discover that there is a totally new tour of the Cotwsolds that shows you all the hidden nooks and crannies and gems of the area, and it’s aimed at showing American tourists the wonders of the land – so kind of perfect for me!
The tour is actually a full day tour of Cotswold villages that includes an invitation into a private home, The Secret Cottage, for morning coffee, a buffet lunch and a traditional cream tea. Can you get more Englishy-English than that? No you jolly well can’t!
The idyllic Secret Cottage
Every day throughout the year a six hour guided day tour of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire north Cotswold villages, combined with intervals at a private thatched cottage shows tourists these beautiful places in the countryside. I have to admit that on this return journey I am becoming more partial to the British countryside. It’s captured me!
Becky, the tour guide, drives a minibus to outstanding hidden villages that are inaccessible by public transport. The unspoilt villages that she has selected are made up of thatched cottages, clipped lawns and dusty lanes, which perfectly illustrate what life was like in the 16th century. Having lived in the area for twenty-five years, her local knowledge is invaluable to visitors.
What gave Becky the idea for starting the tour was that every tourist yearns to see inside these cottages and to see how the English conduct their daily lives? Well she lives in a pretty thatched cottage and though ‘I’d love to show people what I experience every day.’ Though she doesn’t dress in 16th century clothes, just so you know.
Becky’s home is called ‘Secret Cottage’ and is quintessentially perfect for guests to explore and experience how the English live in the Cotswolds. Inside everything is old and quaint, there are three inglenook fireplaces which are open log fires used to heat the cottage, the winding stairs and floors are made from original elm planks and the heavily beamed listed cottage is nearly 500 years old!
During the tour of villages, Becky periodically returns to Secret Cottage to serve morning coffee and pastries, a buffet lunch and in the afternoon you can see the scones being baked in the Aga, which are essential for the traditional English Cotswold cream tea.
All of the tourists are overwhelmed by the experience of being invited into a private home with many of them describing it as fairyland. Becky excels when it comes to deciding which route to take for the day, she’s brilliant at assessing what the different nationalities would like to see and consistently delivers a bespoke memorable tour that is guaranteed to please everybody with plenty of surprises.
With only seven passenger seats in the Mercedes minibus, guests are guaranteed that their tour is personal and can choose when they’d like to stop and take their pictures.
I tell you, American friends, and British friends too if you want to experience and really see the Cotswolds properly, you have to do this. Already, TripAdvisor has Ranked Secret Cottage #1 of 18 ‘Best Attractions in Moreton-in-Marsh’ and #2 of 91 ‘Best Activities in the Cotswolds’.
The tour was recently been part of a television series with a whole episode dedicated to Secret Cottage, this was organised by Visit Britain, Virgin Atlantic and Cotswold Tourism. Fancy that!
I adore the Cotswolds. And I’m seeing it all again through new eyes and appreciating it even more.