As many of you know, when I’m England I love to visit the Cotswolds. It is only about an hour from where I grew up but quite different and distinctive. Charming little towns spreading across Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, built mostly from the local, golden Cotswold stone. Each one distinctive in character which for the most part has been carefully preserved. Visiting there this time I was reminded of Provence, honey coloured buildings of varying styles and age necklaced along the narrow streets. Delis and bakeries offering homemade organic and artisan produce peppered with boutiques. Being England there is also a plethora of enticing antiques shops begging to be explored, treasures small enough for me to be tempted by, taking a little part of my home back with me!
Burford sort of tumbles down a steep hill with a varying assortment of crooked roof tops which seem to melt into each other. It is quite delightful little place with properties such as these which I can instantly imagine wanting to decorate or at least be invited in for tea!
Ancient inns and pubs abound such a perfect setting for the Christmas Season.
Circencester, a short drive away has a rich heritage dating back to the Romans! A prosperous market town whose center is dominated by a grand Cathedral which when we arrived was splendidly lit up as crowds gathered around a Yultide market, clutching hot drinks and listening to Carols as the twinkling display of the town’s lights were officially lit.
The following morning the market and sparkle of ‘Christmas Present’ seem to have evaporated but only on the streets,
for deep within the enfolds of the antique center ‘Christmas Past’ was beckoning.
The author, Bill Bryson and his wonderful tales of English eccentricity, particularly with regards to names, sprung to mind when I spied these signs, only in England!
‘Witches Knickers’ actually sold ladies purses and fashion accessories, not a cauldron or broomstick to be found, but its name made us peek!
And on closer inspection this book retailer seemed perfectly normal to me!
Tetbury is probably most famous for its close proximity to Highgrove, the official home of Prince Charles.
Although neither he nor Camilla were to be seen gathering their Christmas shopping there was much to purchase, at ‘their shop’ which goes to benefit ‘The Prince’s Trust’.
In the center is a market building very typical of many Cotswolds towns. One can imagine a bygone day where animals were gathered here to be sold and market stalls, selling all types of local produce jostled with each other for custom.
Christmas filled the shop windows,
and the post box caught my eye, so iconicly British, as I thought of all the cards and small packages which would be posted into its small mouth in the coming days.
The distinctive, regional character of the local architecture made me realise why Prince Charles talks so much about preserving it, he actually has a point!
This building, to me, was so quintessentially English and quite appropriately it sold Court regalia, uniforms, tartans and incredible formal attire for occasions which one would think had long since ceased to occur, but clearly do! Who gets to be invited I wonder, not me!
This tattered, battered and clearly much loved rocking horse was amongst the treasures for sale in the antique shop.
Around its neck hung a Christmas card with this message, what a shame it wouldn’t fit into my suitcase!!
We sat here for a final tea and cake towards the end of the day
Christmas, my favourite time of year, I felt so happy to have experienced a little of it in England before returning to my home to create my own seasonal magic albeit so far away.