This was our only full day in England, and we were determined to make the most of it. We had decided to visit the Cotswolds region, a couple hours drive from London, on the advice of Sarah's brother, Jeff, and his wife, Ashleigh. We expected to be fighting rainy, gloomy weather because, you know, England. On the contrary, it was absolutely gorgeous and the landscape could not be more bucolic and picturesque. We loved every minute meandering through the countryside, except for those few minutes when we thought our fancy rental car might suffer an unfortunate fate due to being driven by Americans on the "wrong side" of the road.
We must have driven through half a dozen towns on our way to a tour of the Chavenage House in the town of Tetbury. Tours are only offered a couple days a week, as the family and their spaniels still reside here, so we were lucky to be here on a tour day. All tours are given by a member of the family, and ours was led by the adult grandson of the current patriarch. This is one of the best tours we've ever experienced! The family is warm and welcoming, and they have a wealth of fascinating and hilarious stories to share about this gorgeous home's history. You don't want to miss the story about how a helicopter once landed on the lawn so its occupants could make it to Princess Anne's holiday party in her nearby castle. Or the one about how a giant stuffed boar came to reside in the billiard room, courtesy of a live auction and a drunk dinner guest. These days, the manor is frequently used as a filming location for British television and film productions, some starring such notable actors as Eddie Redmayne and Jamie Dornan. We can't recommend this tour highly enough, and we plan to return someday to do it again!
The Chavenage House has been in the family for centuries, and sometime in the 1800's Royal License required the property owner to adopt the surname "Lowsley-Williams" in order to inherit the estate. Thus, poor George ended up with quite a ridiculous mouthful of a name, but dems da rules.
Our adorably British tour guide...
After the tour wrapped up, we wanted to thank him in person but he rushed off. (We also considered tipping him a few pounds, but then thought better of it since he's a member of a family that owns a castle!) When we inquired with his aunt about when he might return, she said, "I think he just went to wet his whistle but he should return shortly." Oh, how we love the Brits! He did indeed return shortly with hot tea in a mug that said, "I'd rather be hunting." Hirsh thought this was so very bougie (slang for bourgeois - you're welcome Baby Boomers) and so perfect!
We're thinking about blowing this one up and framing it...
We got back on the road and continued to the town of Bibury to see the much-photographed Arlington Row.
Annnnd a little more driving around...
We eventually made it to the town of Chipping Campden, our base for the night, and checked into The Kings Hotel. Our beautiful room was on the second story, just above the bay window.
We capped off the evening with a stroll around the small town and dinner at Huxley's, a pub just a few steps from our hotel. This is a really neat place. It's very old and cozy, with stone walls, a low ceiling, exposed beams, and a large fireplace in the corner. We had a wonderful meal and enjoyed eavesdropping on the other customers who were having an intense conversation about dog breeding. One had even brought along her beautiful solid black and immaculately groomed Cocker Spaniel.