Friday, September 16, 2016

More Cotswolds

Day 12: Chipping Campden, Broadway Tower, Snowshill Manor, Chastleton House's gardens.

Another good sleep and another good full English, and we were off for our last full day in the Cotswolds.  First stop was Chipping Campden which was relatively far away.

We arrived to unsettled weather with no real plan on how to visit this town.  It was bigger than the other towns we'd visited but, from the car as we searched for parking, very pretty.  We parked in a lot by the Church end of town and wandered up to the church.  Gorgeous!  But nature being what she is, we decided to tour the little museum nearby first, and use the facilities.  This was the Court Barn Museum which is about the Arts and Crafts Movement and C R Ashbee who was the leader of the Guild of Handicraft. The museum tells his story through displays on him and other locally important artists.  It was very worth the 5 GBP entrance fee.  The helpful receptionist gave us a walking tour brochure of Chipping Campden that included the Hart and Gold Silversmiths shop which has been in existence from the early 1900's and is the last remnant of the Guild of Handicraft. We saw some of their gorgeous pieces in the Court Barn museum.

We visited the lovely 15th century St. James' church, marveled at the Jacobean gateway (to nothing really now), and wandered over to the main street.

We both just fell in love with Chipping Campden.  It was still a bit overcast and drizzly but the stones were golden; the Market Hall (1627), evocative; the streets, quiet; and Hart and Gold Silversmiths, welcoming.  We wanted to buy something but nothing called us; most of their work is done by commission.

We walked most of the main street then decided on cream tea at the cute Badgers Hall.  I "go to tea" at a fancy hotel in New Orleans two/three times a year and the scones with clotted cream are my favorite.  Husband has never been to tea but, after partaking of the delicious scones and tea, understands why I love it.  The staff were very nice and the place is really cute.  It was a delightful break.

Outside again, the skies were clear, the sun was shinning, and Chipping Campden was even prettier.  We took our time wandering back to the car, taking lots of pictures along the way.  We said we'd like to stay in Chipping Campden on a future trip (and if we had the money, maybe for years).

Next up was Broadway Tower.  We drove up, parked along the road, walked over to it, took a few pictures, decided against climbing it, and left.  Our next stop was Charles Paget Wade Esq.'s collection at Snowshill Manor which was included in our National Trust pass. 

Snowshill Manor is reached by a long-ish walk (or quick golf cart ride) through lovely wild, untamed gardens.  The grounds are just beautiful.  The house itself is a lovely Cotswolds manor of the same golden stones we'd seen elsewhere.  But inside, wow!  Stuff, on top of stuff, on top of stuff.  Mr. Paget Wade was quite the hoarder (he'd easily qualify for the show!).  Much of his collection was fascinating.  It was very varied.  He just liked stuff, any kind of stuff.  Husband's favorite were the Samurai suits of armor.  He said these were more complete and numerous than he saw in Japan.  It was a really cool display.  We tried on the hat and mask and boy were they heavy.  The room guides were very nice and answered our questions.  I think one said there were 25,000 items on display.  Mr. Paget Wade was married.  He and his wife lived in the chapel and rectory across from the house.  Those too were chock full of stuff.

After looking at everything and taking all of the pictures we could, we wandered back to the parking lot.  Next up was Chastleton House (National Trust).  According to the Rough Guide guide, it was open until 5pm.  It was on my list because it has remained "virtually unchanged" for 400 years.  The guidebook didn't specify that the last admission was 1 hour before closing and we got there about 415.  No interior tour for us, sadly.  But we did spend some time wandering the lovely grounds.   Everything looked really pretty in the warm sunshine.

Back to Burford and the Lamb Inn for the night.  We packed up and then just hung out in comfortable lobby by the fire.  We chatted with some other guests for awhile then had dinner right there.  It was very good.  A lovely way to end our time in the Cotswolds.

1.  Chipping Campden.  Love!
2.  There's hoarding and then there's Snowshill Manor.  A very unique sight.
3.  Verify latest entry to the sight you're interested in.  Closing time and last entry can be quite far apart.

Next:  Our last day: Minster Lovell, Blenheim, no Oxford, airport hotels

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