After a week-long hiatus in London, my great British road trip is back underway. And there’s no place I’d rather kick off the second half of the journey than Gloucestershire. My boyfriend and I are going to spend an autumn weekend in the Cotswolds, and I can’t wait.
Autumn Weekend in the Cotswolds
After visiting the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Chester, Wales, Wiltshire, and London, we drive our camper van back west to Gloucestershire to spend two days in the Cotswolds soaking up the season.
We start our trip where many of our trips to the Cotswolds start: Painswick. We’ve fallen in love with this village and The Painswick hotel over the last few years, and arriving feels a bit like coming home.
Being here in autumn is particularly special, as we get to enjoy watching the sunrise over the rooftops without having to wake up early. It’s also nice because there are fewer people around the village, making photography easier.
Above all, we love that it’s really, really pretty here.
In addition to Painswick, we can’t resist a trip to Sapperton. It’s another village we’ve come to adore over the years, and it too looks beautiful in autumn.
From the turning leaves on the trees to the creeping vines on the local pub, the season has begun to grace the village with its classic hues.
From Painswick, our autumn weekend in the Cotswolds takes us somewhere we haven’t been before: Owlpen Manor. This spectacular Tudor house is nestled in a valley down a narrow dirt road, making us feel like we’ve arrived in an enchanted kingdom.
Terraced gardens surround the house, and everything from topiary yews to box parterres awes us as we make our way around. We’ve arranged a special tour of the inside, too, and discover a Tudor hall with a fireplace big enough to house a small family and a chamber with exquisite 18th-century painted cloth wall hangings.
From Owlpen Manor, we make our way to the highlight of our trip: the Westonbirt Arboretum. This is where the real autumn magic happens, and we’ve arrived just as the leaves are starting to look their brightest.
We spend hours wandering down paths, across fields, and through wooded glades, taking in the colors and enjoying the seasonal sunshine.
I’ve long heard talk of Westonbirt Arboretum being one of the best places to see autumn leaves in England, and now that I’m here I believe it. The Japanese maples alone could keep me entertained all day, and knowing that they’ll only get better and bolder in the coming month makes me want to come back every day between now and November.
But I can’t, because my road trip is taking me north. And that’s okay, because the season is underway across the UK and I’m sure I’ll see a lot more foliage as I go. The next stop is Nottingham, and if the legendary Sherwood Forest is any indication, I’ll find some pretty trees there. Stay tuned…
How about you? What would you do with an autumn weekend in the Cotswolds?
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