Sunday, 7 June 2015




Barnsley House

We lived in Cheltenham for two years at the end of the eighties and I took to English life like a duck to water.  I had always loved all things English and I put it down to all the English books I read as a child.  The hedgerows, names of flowers and English life have always somehow been familiar to me.

Our return visits to England have been more restricted to  London and close surrounds and it was our garden itinerary that took us back to the Cotswolds.    So much of our garden tour has been nostalgic.  I had almost forgotten how beautiful the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire are.  We loved the hills and dales,  majestic trees,  stone walls and hedgerows, and of course,  the beautiful stone buildings.   The gardens - both public and private are extraordinary.  

Our stay at Barnsley House was very pleasant.  The hotel staff are very friendly and welcoming and I always find that this makes such a difference.   Rosemary Verey's garden is still lovely but perhaps a little untidy and in need of a little TLC.    The hotel has become very popular lunch destination for locals and the food is good.    Barnsley House is also in demand as a wedding venue and the iconic 'cupcake' topiaries are now draped with fairy lights!  The building itself is a beauty and the terrace outside is a wonderful place to sit when the sun is shining. 

I love the lumpy, bumpy topiary.

'The Potager' at breakfast


I think my favourite village was Broadway.  It was still quiet, as the season hasn't really got going and  we were able to stroll down the high street without seeing any buses or too many tourists.  It was all very pretty with not an ugly house or building in sight.  Mr R-I thought it was a good idea to walk to Broadway from the Dormy House where we were staying.  May I add that it is a 3 mile walk, most of which is on a steep downhill.  Those of you who've had hip replacements will attest to the fact that walking downhill can be uncomfortable! It was also quite a hot day and I have to say that it was not my finest hour!! 

The Broadway Deli, selling good produce.

This dapper gentleman has been selling ice-creams in Broadway for over thirty years!  The vanilla-bean in a small cone was delicious and it went a long way in restoring my humour after that steep walk!  

The Broadway Cookshop

A very old Wisteria spanning three buildings

Look at the age of this Wisteria.  It is chained to the old stone walls.  I have seen photos of the climber in flower and it is a wonderful sight!  Great colour choice for the door.
Our stay at Dormy House (above)  just outside Broadway was great.  A great deal of money has been spent on updating this hotel and it shows.  

This delicious salad was a favourite choice.


Visiting Daylesford was a highlight.  Although we have been to Daylesford in Pimlico many times,  it was our first visit to the Oxfordshire Farmshop.  Being a fan of all things organic and healthy,  I felt so at home here and we were impressed by the quality and variety of  the produce. We had lunch at the Farmshop and ordered roast chicken which was delicious.  The service was warm and friendly,  and I look forward to future visits!  The Haybarn is their Wellness centre and is filled with the beautiful Bamford body products, candles and more.  It smells heavenly in there and if only I had had more time,  I could have had one of their treatments.

On another day, we had lunch at the Wild Rabbit in Kingham which is also part of the Daylesford experience.    How could I resist roast beef and Yorkshire pudding?  So tender and delicious and served with home made horseradish sauce.

Fresh flowers and plants outside the Farmshop

The front entrance to the Wild Rabbit.

Our final night in England,  was spent in Oxford at The Old Parsonage Hotel.  We enjoyed a delightful dinner with friends at Gees.

Another very old Wisteria in the courtyard at The Old Parsonage.
Gees - which is in housed in an old greenhouse.  Surrounded by 'walled gardens'  it was a delightful experience.  The photo above is not my own.  The next stop is Boussac in France and then on to Gordes where we are meeting all the family.  

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