Episode 18: London Destination Guide

You know, I am not really a huge fan of cities. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them, or enjoy them, it just means that I prefer the smaller little towns and villages over cities. However, London, I just LOVE. And I don’t really know what it is! I love that there is so much to do, I love all the pubs and restaurants, I love walking along the river, I even like the weather (most of the time).

Audriana and I have both spent loads of time walking around London and doing as much as we could possibly squeeze in, and it feels like I could go back once a year and still not see and do everything I want to in London.

Today’s episode is all about London; things to do, a little bit on how to get around using an Oyster Card, as well as some day trips out of the city if you’re planning to explore a little more of England.  

listen below!

London Destination Guide: Neighborhood Breakdown, Must-Visit Museums, Markets + How To Get Around

Things to do:

There are SO many things to do, it’ll make you want to stay up all night and get up early to try and fit as many activities and sights in as possible! Here are a few of our favorites, and some which are at the top our list for the next visit.

see a show

London, particularly the area known as the West End, is known for its shows and musicals. There are several areas in London where you can find all these productions; head to the areas of Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square and you’ll find an incredible amount of theaters to get your fix in!

You can see all the major productions like, Harry Potter, Wicked, Les Miserables, the Book of Mormon.

Tip: If you’re on a budget there are plenty of smaller theaters in Leicester Square where you can see musicals and plays for less than 20 GBP AND there’s a walk-up window where you can get last minute tickets to the bigger shows. There was a huge line outside of people trying to get Harry Potter tickets and a couple people got lucky and scored some cancellation tickets.

drink wine at the park

Best Parks in London

Is there really anything better than having a picnic in a park? You go to the local grocery store and pick up some good cheese and bread and make yourself a nice little charcuterie board. Add some wine in the mix, and you’ve got yourself a proper picnic. Our favorite place to do this is at the massive Hyde Park, where you can find a corner of grass and have it all to yourself.

Explore the gardens and parks

Kensington Garden

Kensington Palace sits on the West Side of this park and the Gardens extend all the way to the edge of Hyde Park. It’s a wonderful place to go for a walk and admire the perfectly manicured gardens of the Palace. There’s a pond in the middle of the gardens and plenty of people sitting around watching the ducks and geese on a nice, sunny day.

The surrounding neighborhoods are wonderful, too! So, if you’re having a relaxing day, head to Kensington Gardens and then continue on walking to explore the fancy neighborhoods of Notting Hill and Kensington.

St. James’ near Westminster

This park butts right up to Buckingham Palace on the West side, and 10 Downing Street on the East side. It’s smaller than many of the others in the city, but it’s right in the thick of all the activity and sights of London. Even if you don’t intentionally go to St. James’ Park, you’ll probably just kind of end up there at some point because of its proximity to those other big attractions.

Battersea Park

Located right on the River Thames, Battersea Park is gorgeous and full of a ton of activities. If you are not the type of person who just wants to stroll around the green open space, or have a picnic, then head to Battersea Park — but you can do all those things here, too! If you have kids, they will love all the activities available as well.

There are fountains, play grounds, flower gardens, an Asian style Pagoda, a place to rent bikes for adults and children (it’s called London Recumbents), a children’s zoo, a rope’s course through some trees, a lovely lake where you can rent boats, and areas where people get together and play sports!

Hyde Park

Best Parks in London

Hyde Park is one of the most well known parks in the city as it is massive and extends pretty much all the way from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace. There are a good amount of events which take place inside Hyde Park, such as concerts, and there is just a ton of things to check out inside the park.

Of course, you can explore the palaces that bookend the park, and within it, there are other things like, a memorial fountain for Princess Diana, there are galleries with modern art, architecture, and design exhibits, you can also swim or rent a little boat in Serpentine Lake in the center of Hyde Park.

And if you’re not up for a walk, or exploring the museums, it’s really just a fun park to grab some cheese, crackers and wine and spend the afternoon having a picnic and enjoying the city!

The Hill Gardens + Pergola in Hampstead Heath

People come from all over the world to get married here! The grounds are gorgeous, there are reflecting pools, and wonderful walkways, with trees and greenery all over the place. It’s kind of a little slice of calmness where you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city! If you happen to be in London when the weather is particularly pleasant, there are also a few open air swimming ponds in Hampstead Heath Park where you can swim. They are open year around, if you’re brave enough to get in when it’s cold out, it is free to do so. Swimming in the summer will cost you about £4 - £7, depending on how long you want to stay for.

Lavender Gardens at Vauxhall Park

The Park itself is not really anything spectacular, but they do have lavender gardens there, which are always a hit. Lavender season is typically from May to September, so if you’ll be in London during this time, it would be a great activity!

Chelsea Physic Gardens

This garden is the 2nd oldest botanical garden in England. It was established in the early 1600’s to grow plants for medicinal purposes and to this day, it holds about 5,000 plants which are edible and medicinal! You can join one of their guided walks around the gardens and greenhouses, or you can simply browse through at your leisure.

Opening times:

Winter Season

Monday - Friday 11am - 4pm

Adult Entrance Fee: £6.50

Spring Season

Monday - Friday 11am - 4pm

Adult Entrance Fee: £10

Walk through boroughs, neighborhoods and Mews

The Coolest Neighborhoods in London

I know this doesn’t really sound all that exciting, but some of these neighborhoods, and boroughs are seriously really beautiful. There are gorgeous roof-tops and lovely entrance ways covered in ivy, complete with doors of every color. Here are a few of my favorites that you’ll be pissed if you skipped them!

Chelsea, Kensington + Belgravia

Best Neighborhoods in London

These three neighborhoods are right next to one another and it’s easy to walk through them all. This area is were many of London’s wealthiest live and they are very close to Buckingham and Kensington Palaces. The homes are gorgeous; some of them are in the Classic Georgian architecture, or have the colorful doors and lovely entranceways you’ve probably seen all over Instagram.

There are also some good museums in these areas, like the Victoria & Albert museum and the Natural History Museum.


If you’re looking for a trendy neighborhood, head to Shoreditch. It’s known for it’s plethora of very cool street art + there’s a younger crowd hanging around. There are also great vintage and thrift shops, trendy cafes and a fun, alternative atmosphere there.

Fitzrovia + Covent Garden

These two neighborhoods are adjacent and are kind of similar. Here you can find all those wonderful classic British Pubs, plenty of Art Galleries, Markets, plenty of theaters, the Royal Opera House, shopping, and lively streets with artists and performers.

The Royal Mews

This is where all kinds of things that have been used by the royalty over the years. So you’ll find things like royal carriages that have been used for momentous occasions, like coronations and weddings.


There are a plethora of markets in London and there’s something for everyone. We’ll break down our favorites below.

Borough Market

Here you’ll find delicious food from all over the world. Walking through the market, you’ll be pulled in every direction all at once; there are vendors selling cheese wheels, tempting smells of Thai food, and chocolatey desserts everywhere you look.

The Borough Market also has several pubs surrounding it. If you happen to catch a nice, clear day, it’s always a good idea to head to the pubs and sip on your beer in the outside area and watch the hustle and bustle go by.

Opening Times:

Monday - Tuesday, 10AM - 5PM (Limited Market, meaning not every vendor will be there)

Wednesday - Thursday, 10AM - 5PM (Full Market)

Friday - Saturday, 10AM - 6PM (Full Market)

Sundays, Closed

Camden Street

Best Markets in London

You can find anything your little heart desires here. Whether that’s food from all over the world, sweet vintage clothes, or name brand designers, Camden Street Market kinda has it all. The great part of this market is that there are always different vendors, so even if you went every single day during your stay, it would pretty much be a brand new market each of those days.

Opening Times:

Everyday, 10AM - Late

Portobello Rd. Market


This is the funkier of the markets, but definitely worth a visit. Unlike the other markets listed here, Portobello Market is basically like a street market where different shops have pop-up stores.

You’ll find vintage clothes, antiques, produce stands, Bric-a-Brac (a lovely English term for trinkets) as well as some hot food stands.

There are different stalls on most days, here is a breakdown of them.

Opening Times:

Monday - Wednesday, 9AM - 6PM (Clothes, Produce, Bric-a-Brac, Hot Food)

Thursday, 9AM - 1PM (Clothes, Produce, Bric-a-Brac, Hot Food)

Friday, 9AM - 7PM (Clothes, Produce, Bric-a-Brac, Hot Food, Antiques)

Saturday, 9AM - 7PM (Clothes, Produce, Bric-a-Brac, Hot Food, Antiques, Arcades)

Sunday, Closed

Old Spitalfields Market

This covered, Victorian market is open 7 days a week and has an eclectic combination of food vendors and shops. There’s skincare vendors, furniture shops, vintage clothing, jewelry, handcrafted shoes, and SO much more!

Opening Times:

Monday - Friday, 10AM - 8PM

Saturday, 10AM - 6PM

Sunday, 10AM - 5PM

See the Main Sights

Listen, you probably already know all these main sights and you will easily find them as you walk around London. I’ll just list them here because a guide for London would remiss without mentioning them!

Cruise down River Thames

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey + Palace, Big Ben

London Eye

Shakespeare’s Globe

Tower Bridge

Millennium Bridge


London has some incredible museums. If you don’t get busy doing allllll the other stuff, make some time to see a few of them.

Tate Modern

Visit the Best Museums in London

This museum focuses mainly on modern and contemporary art. It’s located right on the River Thames, next to the Millennium Bridge and it’s open late.

Opening Times:

Sunday - Thursday, 10AM -6PM

Friday + Saturday, 10AM -10PM

Entrance Fee:

FREE, for many exhibits. If you want to go see special exhibits, you will have to pay for that, but the majority of the museum is free.

Victoria & Albert

The V & A museum is world class and houses just about everything. There’s medieval art, textiles and fashion, European art, photography, pottery, jewelry and everything else you can think of. It’s the perfect museum to visit if you are, like me, not particularly interested in anything in specific.

Opening Times:

Daily, 10AM - 5:45PM

Friday, 10AM - 10PM

Entrance Fee:

FREE, but just like Tate Modern, if you want to see special exhibitions, you’ll have to pay for those.

Natural History Museum

The Best Museums in London

Right next door to the V & A, in the fancy neighborhood of Kensington, you’ll find the Natural History Museum. If you were Ross from Friends, this would be where you would be every day. It’s full of dinosaurs, and wildlife photography and the interior is gorgeous and it’s worth it to go to just see the inside!

Opening Times:

Daily, 10:00AM - 5:50PM

Entrance Fee:


Tower of London

There’s a ton to do at the Tower of London, including seeing the Crown Jewels! As far as exhibits go, this museum always has something new and interesting happening. In addition to viewing the Tower itself, there are also things like; checking out the medieval armor exhibit, checking out the fortress and armory, and taking tours through the various parts of the Palace.

Opening Times:

Summer Hours:

Sunday - Monday 10:00AM - 5:30PM, Tuesday - Saturday 9:00AM - 5:30PM

Winter Hours:

Sunday - Monday 10:00AM - 4:30PM, Tuesday - Saturday 9:00AM - 4:30PM

Entrance Fee:

Adult: £24.70

You can buy your tickets online here (cheaper than in person): Tower of London

How to Get Around:

Getting around London is safe, easy and fairly inexpensive. If the weather is nice, it’s lovely to walk around. As it is a pretty big city, you may want to focus on different areas + neighborhoods each day you’re there; this way you’re not criss-crossing over the city for your entire day. In terms of types of transportation, there is, of course, The Tube which is the underground Metro which takes you to every corner of the city as well as to the outer regions of London. There are buses as well — we took a couple night busses for super cheap to get back to our AirBnB outside the city. As not all lines of The Tube run 24hrs, this is a great option for if you want to stay out late in the city and aren’t staying somewhere where it’s easy to walk back home.

Oyster Card

This was incredibly handy to have and it’s basically just a pre-loaded card with however much money you want to put on it. You swipe your Oyster Card when you go through The Tube Station and swipe again when you are exiting at your stop and you are charged the right amount for that ride.

You can buy your Oyster Card online before you arrive, or you’ll see them at shops around the city, and you can also purchase them at the Tube Stations.

If you’re going to be in London for a significant amount of time, they also have an app where you can top up your card. This way you can do it on the fly and don’t have to stop at a Tube Station and add more money to it for the day.

Taking the Tube

How to Take the London Underground

Ah the beautiful London Underground. It’s the classic way to get around; quick and easy to make your way to every corner of London and it’s fairly inexpensive to use. It’s everyone’s favorite way to get around in the city, so you’ll see everyone on there — people heading to and from work, and tourists out for the day exploring.

Since we last were in London, The Tube has gotten some updated hours so you can stay out extra late on the weekend! Of the 11 total lines, there are now five lines which run 24 hours, on Friday and Saturday ONLY! So if you’re whooping it up on a Tuesday and expect to hop on The Tube at 3AM to get your butt home, you’re going to be pissed. In this instance, you’re gonna want to look into those Night Busses I’m going to talk about next.

Here are the 24 hour lines:

Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly

The remaining Tube lines run from 5AM to Midnight, everyday.

If you want to check out maps of where The Tube goes and all the lines, head here: Official Visit London 

Busses + Night Busses

These are the iconic double-decker busses we all know and recognize. The Night Busses run from the time the Tube stops running to the time the Tube opens again in the morning.

How to Take Busses in London

Night Busses are inexpensive (£1.50 for a single fare), if you are ONLY using busses to get around for the day, the maximum fare is only £4.50 as long as you are using the same ticket, or Oyster Card.

Tips: You cannot pay a bus fare with cash; it must be contactless payment (Oyster Card, Apple Pay, or if your bank card has the contactless pay feature).

Children under 11, and those in wheelchairs ride for free.

Night Busses stop ON REQUEST only — so don’t stand there like dummy, like we did, when you see your stop coming up and then miss it because the bus driver doesn’t stop unless you tell them to.

Here are all the maps for busses + rail and everything else: London Transport

Day Trips:

If seeing all these things and more in The Big Smoke wasn’t enough for ya and you have a few more days to explore some more of England, here are our fav side trips. I almost enjoyed some of these more than London!

The Cotswolds

How to Visit The Cotswolds

If you have a few extra days to explore more of England, we cannot recommend The Cotswolds highly enough. They are the quintessential villages in the English countryside that are so damn cute, you probably won’t ever want to leave.

We made a 3 day guide for The Cotswolds, you can check it out here: Cotswolds Guide


Stonehenge Day Trip From London

This is about 2 hours away from Central London, but if you are interested in visiting this historical site, here is some information to get you started.

You can take the Overground Train from one of the bigger stations like Waterloo or Victoria.

You’ll take the Train to the stop Salisbury, which is still 9 miles from Stonehenge. From there, you’ll need to catch the Stonehenge Tour Bus which leaves hourly from Salisbury; it costs £15.00 for adults. You can purchase tickets on-board, or ahead of time online here: Stonehenge Tour Bus

Don’t forget that you’ll also have to pay an admission fee once you arrive to Stonehenge, which is £17.50 for advanced purchase and £19.50 for walk-up price.

Blenheim Palace

If you’re heading out to The Cotswolds, you can hit Blenheim Palace on the way out there. There are sprawling grounds and the 17th Century Palace to explore, as well as a gardens, a lake, a butterfly house, a two-mile maze of trees, and State Rooms full of Baroque sculptures and art work.

Entrance Fee for Adults: £27.00 for the Palace, Gardens, Park or £16.00 for just the Palace and Gardens.

How to Get There: Take the train from London to any of the following stops: Long Hanborough (closest to the Palace), Oxford Parkway, or Oxford. The one way ticket costs around £20 and takes just over an hour.

Even if you get the train out to Long Hanborough, you’ll still be about a 45 minute walk away from the Palace entrance, so you’ll need to hop on a bus from the Long Hanborough stop. From there you’ll take a bus to the Woodstock stop and then you’ll be there!

For bus information, visit: Stagecoach Bus

For more info about getting a train there, check this out: Great Western Railway

Tip: If you take a train or bus there, show your ticket at the admissions counter for 30% of your entrance fee!


If you’re into the Royal Family, you can visit the Queen’s Residence at Windsor Castle. The grounds are stunning and there are tours available.

Entrance Fee for Adults: £22.50

How to Get There: There are trains from many of the major rail stations in London to the nearest stop to Windsor Castle, Windsor & Eton Central. The one way ticket costs around £11 and takes about half an hour.

You can book your rail tickets online beforehand here: National Rail Enquiries

London has an incredible amount of things to do, and if you don’t get around to doing evvverrrything, it’s equally as nice to spend a few afternoon hanging out as some of the perfectly picturesque pubs and strolling along the river.

Have you been to London? And if so, what was your favorite thing that you would add to this destination guide?

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Saturday Session 03: Lane From Paris Off Script

Today’s guest is Lane Rosenthal from Paris Off Script. Lane runs her own small-group tours several times a year in Paris, with the intent of showing her guests a unique side of the city not everyone has the chance to experience.

I’m SO excited to chat with Lane today about one of my favorite (if not all time favorite!) cities in the world. I have had a bit of an obsession with France in general for quite some time and have had the opportunity to visit Paris and some of the countryside on my two visits there.

Paris is unique in that you think about it loooong after you’ve left. And I feel it’s either a place you can’t stop thinking about, or a place you don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

So, let’s get in here with Lane and have her talk a little bit about why she began Paris Off Script and give an introduction!

Listen Below!

Paris Off Script

I’d love to hear about your first experience in Paris. I don’t think it’s possible to land in the city and not feel...something. And I love to hear people’s gut reaction to Paris. Did you arrive and just immediately know this was a place you HAD to get to know inside and out?

Lane: It was what I call…love at first sight. It was incredible, I will never forget the first time I saw Paris.

It was almost a shock, I didn’t know what hit me, what chord it struck inside me.

It took me a long time in my life to get there, I did not go during college, I was a poor graduate student, and after that I was married and I had a career, I had a family and life marched on. So, it was a big birthday that got me there for the first time.

There are SO many ways to experience the city, and in fact, I think you could go back endless times and have a completely different experience each time. What you are hoping each of your guests can experience on your tours? And are there certain spots, neighborhoods, patisseries, and cafes you take each of your groups to?  

Lane: It’s a matter of perspective. To me, Paris is like an onion with a ton of different layers and it’s a city we can never quite get our arms around. It’s whatever we need it to be; if we are in love, it’s the most romantic city in the world, if we are looking for inspiration, there is creativity everywhere.

And if we need to be alone, it provides solitude without isolation.

I know you do something different on each of your tours, and they seem to be based on what’s going on in the city during that season. How do you make each of these tours special and give a good taste of the city during each season?

Lane: I always arrive well in advance of a trip. I belong to organizations…the library, the museums…but the other thing that makes my trips special is that I have developed relationships with local people.

People get a dose of authenticity, or reality, and it makes it special.

There are, of course, the cookie cutter tours of Paris. There will always be the must-sees in the city like The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. But, why is it important to you to show a different side of Paris?

Lane: I see travel as cultural engagement rather than tourism. Particularly where there are opportunities for that engagement. I have an insatiable curiosity and I think travel is an opportunity to broaden your perspective, and to break stereotypes.

It’s important for me to offer people this service, this opportunity, this experience.

There are lots of trips as travel for tourism, there are fewer for cultural engagement.

You do each of your tours in the off-season, presumably so your guests can experience Paris without the masses of visitors. Do you have an absolutely favorite time of the year in the city, or a favorite event that you feel really embodies Parisian life and history?

Lane: One of the most fascinating things about Paris, is that it was not bombed during World War 2. It is intact, and it’s an old city. It’s over 2,000 years old. The sense of walking in the footsteps of our forebears, and standing on the shoulders of those forebears.

There is a story on every corner.

In April, if you time it just right, you get to see the Japanese cherry blossoms, and the wisteria is achingly beautiful. And actually, it was last February that sticks in my mind. I was there for the month. When it snowed at the beginning of the month, it felt like we were all in our own little snow globe, it was wonderful.

There are certainly elements of every trip that make it unique and special. Whether it’s exploring the local markets, or a specific dish that will change your life, there are always those things during a trip which you’ll remember. What do you think are the essential pieces of a great experience in Paris?

Lane: It’s an open mind.

Go with an open mind, adopt the habits of the country.

And also, remember that you are a guest in someone’s country, just like you’re a guest in someone’s house. The French are actually unfailingly polite. And I think if you remember your manners, and go with an open mind and sense of humor, you’ll have a great time.

I am always on the lookout for the best bakeries in Paris. I know it’s hard to choose just one! Do you have an absolute favorite patisserie, or a few you make a point to stop into?

Lane: Au Petit Versailles du Marais, in the 4th arrondissement. It’s my absolute delight to stop there for a little something…after yoga. They have been designated a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, a very prestigious award, given every 4 years and for life. It’s an indication of an extremely high level of craftsmanship.

It’s such an incredible experience to have the opportunity to speak with someone who genuinely loves a city and has resolved to show other people that specific corner of the world.

Thanks so much for listening to our Saturday Session with Lane from Paris Off Script and we will see ya on the next one!

“I revel in a different rhythm when I’m in Paris”

Lane From Paris Off Script

Lane Rosenthal

Paris Off Script




Episode 11: Plan Your Trip to The Cotswolds in the English Countryside

The Cotswolds are essentially a perfect little slice of the English countryside, with charming villages, walking trails, rolling hills, castles and all that good stuff. This region is known for its stone buildings which get this sort of golden-y glow when the sunlight hits the stones.

Listen Below!

How to Spend 3 Days in The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are about a 2 hours drive away from central London and they are in a larger region which has the designation of an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), which is just so perfectly English. There are day trips with some tour companies from London, but we think driving around there yourself and spending a solid chunk of time exploring is a better option than a dumb day trip.

Cotswolds Itinerary

There’s much, much more to England than London. I know you probably know that, but perhaps you need a little persuasion to visit these other areas of England on your next trip.

The Cotswolds region recently became one of our new favorites. And while this area is not somewhere to go and expect for there to be a ton of activities to do, there’s just somethin’ about moseying through the English countryside.

Whether you have just one day to do some exploring, or a couple days to really immerse yourself in the region, there’s plenty to see!

Both Audriana and I went on separate trips to The Cotswolds and rented cars to explore the area. These are our favorite stops and things to do in some of the towns and a suggested 3 day itinerary.

Day one

Pick up your rental car somewhere in the city that’s not going to be an absolute nightmare to drive out of. Have you ever driven in one of the most popular cities in the world, gotten stuck on the same stretch of road for two hours, been late to your increasingly irritated AirBnB host and nearly lost your cool in traffic?! I certainly have. To make your life easier, reserve your rental car near a location you can easily reach via public transportation, and you can drive it out of the lot and not into horrible traffic!

London to Oxford

Drive time: 1 - 1.5 hours

The University of Oxford

Oxford is pretty freaking great. There are shops, places to have High Tea or a cold pint, Christ Church University (the inspo for The Great Hall in Harry Potter) and if you’re into anything literary, there are tours, shops, museums and more to satiate you.

There’s even a pub called The Eagle and The Child where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis used to share pints every Tuesday.

If you leave early enough from London, you’ll have time to make a pit-stop in Oxford, do some exploring and continue on to The Cotswolds.

Oxford to Chipping Campden

Drive time: 1 hour

Things to do in The Cotswolds

Chipping Campden is pretty much at the tippy top of The Cotswolds area and is great place to begin your road-trip; it’s a perfect base to explore the Northern part of The Cotswolds for the first few days before heading to the Southern portion on the third day.

After arriving from London, and an optional pit-stop in Oxford, you can spend the afternoon in this quieter, old market town of Chipping Campden. There are some unique & fun things to do here, and our recommendations are below.

Cotswolds Lavender

If you’re going during the right time of year (mid-June to end of July) this is a wonderful way to see those rich, purple lavender fields Southern France is typically known for. The peak of the season and best time to visit is early to mid July, as they begin harvesting the lavender from the end of July to early August.

Their website is here: Cotswold Lavender

This Lavender field is actually located in Snowshill, only a 10 minute drive from Chipping Campden, and totally worth it if you’re there during peak season.

St. James’ Church

This church is right in the center of Chipping Campden and well worth a visit. It is open daily and they welcome visitors for both attending services and pop-in visits.

Road-trip Through the Cotswolds

Hidcote Boyce

Located just a short distance out of town are the Hidcote Manor Gardens -- a National Trust Botanical Garden. The gardens are wonderfully maintained and spending an afternoon walking the extensive, lush grounds is an ideal day, any day.

Visiting will cost you about $14.

You can pre-purchase your tickets here: Hidcote National Trust

Dinner at The Ebrington Arms

This is a wonderful, perfectly cozy pub where we’re sure you’ll have a quaint evening. It’s a tad on the pricier side, but a great place to splurge for the evening. There are plenty of locals pulled up to the bar and getting a table can be kind of tricky as it only has a few table and it’s crazy good.

It’s also a bed and breakfast, so staying there will bring you that much closer to the goodness!

We recommend either making a reservation, or having dinner early.

See the menu & make your reservation here: The Ebrington Arms

Day two

Chipping Campden to Stratford-upon-avon

Drive time: 25 minutes

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon

Head out early (I got there at like 6:30AM and it was fab) to explore Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon before the crowds arrive. The town itself is one of the larger in The Cotswolds, with plenty of great shops and sights to check-out.

If you’re purely going to see Shakespeare-related sights, you can see the home where he was born and raised in, his wife’s (Anne Hathaway) home, his mother's farm and several others. The opening times to visit vary by season and day, so planning around that is key.

Buying tickets online beforehand will save you a few bucks.

You can even book your tickets for his birth-home and every other Shakespeare activity here: Shakespeare Tickets

There are usually street performers hanging around in the main square, and you can spend a few solid hours here walking the cobblestone streets, and checking out the Shakespeare sights. If you’re not really that into that stuff, a quick stop for an hour or so would be plenty.

chipping campden to Stow-on-the-Wold

Drive time: 15 minutes

Things to do Stow-on-the-Wold

Stow-on-the-Wold is another one of the more popular and busier villages. There’s loads of cute shops and streets to explore, as well as the medieval St. Edward’s Church which has wonderful, old Yew Trees growing on either side of the entrance.

The main Market Square is full of shops and bed and breakfasts. There is a Huffkins Tea Shop there as well, so pop in for a morning cuppa and lardy cake!

stow-on-the-wold to Upper + Lower Slaughter

Drive time: 10 minutes

Top Things to do in The Cotswolds

While these two may have a rather ominous name, the word “slaughter” is simply an Old English word meaning, “muddy place.” These two teeny-tiny villages are just a 5 minute drive from one another. Or, you can take the lovely 20 minute walk through the rolling countryside that connects the two towns.

Upper and Lower Slaughter

Situated right on the River Eye, these two villages are perfectly picturesque. There’s not much of a downtown area to speak of, in fact, Lower Slaughter pretty much has one shop and is just a place to walk around and day-dream about living there. While there isn’t a whole lot to do in each of these as it’s mainly homes, here’s our suggested things to do:

The Old Mill Museum

Feel free to come here for the museum alone, or grab a seat along the river and have some afternoon tea! There’s also an ice cream parlor in the front part of the building, and many people skip the tea room simply because they don’t know it’s there!

Take a walk

One of the loveliest walks in The Cotswolds is here; the trail connects Upper and Lower Slaughter. It’s nothing too rigorous, just a fairly flat walk through the countryside.

upper + lower slaughter to Bourton-on-the-Water

Drive time: 10 minutes

Things to do Burton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the bigger (still not THAT big), busier and more popular villages. Running right through the center of town is the River Windrush and there are lovely weeping willows and stone arched bridges that go over the river. This town does have a pretty good amount of shops to wander around and a lovely bakery called, "Bakery on the Water."

It’s really nice to just walk along the canals, and check out the homes and shops.

You can stop for lunch here, or we recommend holding your appetite until you reach the next town of Burford.

bourton-on-the-water to Burford

Drive time: 18 minutes

Things to do in Burford

A beautiful town settled right on a river, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing the wonderfully preserved high street. Pop in for an afternoon tea and check out the little boutique shops full of interesting nic-nacs and antiques.

Things to do in Burford

This is another very small town, with basically one main street. Don’t expect to spend a whole lot of time here! The only reason I spent a good chunk of the afternoon here is because it’s a really fun place to take pictures of, so if you’re into that, then a couple hours will work just fine!

At the bottom of the street, you can find small parking areas alongside the Windrush River as well as a trail that runs alongside the water.

Again, while there’s not many actual activities to do, as the town is fairly small, you’ll have to be content with walking the lovely high street, window shopping, having tea or lunch and taking some photos. Here are a few of the main sights in Burford:

The Parish Church of St. John the Baptist

The church is open everyday from 9AM - 5PM, but they do close the church to visitors during services, so be sure to check out when their services are held.

They do offer free tours of the church on a daily basis, and if you’re traveling with a group and want to pre-arrange your tour, you can do so here: Burford Church

If you opt for this choice, you can also ask to have some tea and cakes at the Lady Chapel, which is full of stained glass windows after your tour!

There is also a very cool cemetery alongside the church to walk through.

Afternoon tea at Huffkins

Huffkins is kind of a Cotswolds establishment and has been around since 1890. It’s the perfect place to grab a seat by the window and enjoy tea and cakes on a chilly day.

Things to do in Burford

With room for only 65 people, it’s a good idea to make a reservation if you are visiting during a busy season! Here you can get a proper afternoon tea with you choices of warm scones, finger sandwiches, cakes, clotted cream, coffee, and tea, of course! It’s perfectly proper and so much fun!

You can make a reservation with them online here: Huffkins Burford

The Cotswold Arms

Pick up some lunch here, they have typical pub food and drink. If the weather is nice, they also have a beer garden.

Tolsey Museum

If you want to learn some more about the history of Burford, a stop at the Tolsey Museum would be perfect! It basically covers the origin of the town and does a good job of depicting working and social life in Burford.

The museum has kind of odd hours and is open Tuesday - Sunday from 2PM - 5PM, so plan accordingly if this is one place you want to stop.

burford to Bibury

Drive time: 15 minutes

Things to do in Bibury

Ohhh Bibury is just the teeny-tiniest, adorable village! Again, there’s not a whole lot to actually DO here, so a quick stop will be just fine!

The most famous section of homes is called Arlington Row (pictured above) and is definitely the most photographed part of Bibury. The row of homes if perfectly picturesque, set right on the banks of the River Cohn, and full of the beautiful, trademark yellow stone that The Cotswolds region is known for.

As far as actual things to do (if eating and drinking tea count as things to do) while you’re there, here’s our list:

The Swan Hotel & The Gallery Restaurant

Located on beautiful grounds, you can stay in this small hotel. We personally have not eaten at the attached restaurant, but have heard mixed reviews of it. But, the building itself is very picturesque and you can’t miss it, as it is one of the few business in Bibury.

The Catherine Wheel

Here’s an option for lunch; they have kind of…classy pub food? The inside of this 15th Century building is certainly charming, with exposed wooden beams, and a small outdoor seating area. They also have a few rooms, if you’re enchanted by Bibury and want to stay the night.

Walk Arlington Row

That’s the set of homes pictured above. And when we say “walk” it, you can walk end to end in about 30 seconds. It is just a set of beautiful homes set together that are particularly picturesque.

St. Mary’s Church

Another church!

Overnight in Cirencester or Burford

Day Three

burford to Castle Combe

Drive time: 1 hour

Things to do in Castle Combe

If you’ve made it this far in your itinerary and have see all of these beautiful English towns, get ready for Castle Combe because it has been dubbed, “the prettiest village in England.” How is that even possible?! All of these villages on the list will just about make you rethink all of your life plans and force you to plot ways you can move to England.

You’ll still find the iconic yellow stone that the Cotswold region is known for. And because it is so darn picturesque, it’s been a popular filming location for several Hollywood movies, such as Steven Spielberg's “War Horse.” This perfect little town has changed very little since the 15th century, in fact, you’ll still find no street lights in the town and the whole village certainly holds it’s historic charm.

Here are a couple things to fill your visit:

The Market Cross

Castle Combe is another market town and has had an economy based largely on wool and weaving. The Market Cross is the centerpiece of this small village and is a medieval structure that was built when it was deemed that the town was worthy of such a feature as a market town. From what I understand, the Market Cross was used as the place to validate purchases during the market -- so, basically you can think of it as the check stand at any store!

St. Andrew’s Church

As in pretty much every other little town in the Cotswolds, there’s always a church to stop in. St. Andrew’s Church is the one you’re going to want to stop in on a visit to Castle Combe. If you’re into very old churches (heck, even if you’re not really) it’s a perfect pit-stop and how many opportunities do you have to walk through a 10th century church!

For best times to visit, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s open everyday, free to walk around, and it contains one of the oldest clocks in England -- so, if you’re a horologist (someone who has an obsession with timekeeping devices) it’s the place for you! And you’re welcome for some new vocabulary!

Town Bridge

This is the main bridge leading into Castle Combe and one of the most photographed parts of town. It’s just a wonderful stone bridge passing over the river which runs through town, By Brook.

Castle combe to Bath

Drive time: 30 minutes

Things to do in Bath England

Bath is one of the more well known and larger towns and there is considerably more to do here that you can easily spend a solid two days wandering around.

Sally Lunn’s

I listened to a podcast ALL about Sally Lunn Buns, okay. Literally, the entire episode was all about this Sally and the way she made her buns. And she was kinda a badass, so go check out Sally Lunn’s! It’s a tea-room and a place to get some of these famous semi-sweet breads. She basically brought brioche bread to us, so let’s pay our respects for those delightfully rich buns and God bless that Sally Lunn.

Roman Bath’s

This is one of the things you kinda have to go to while you’re in Bath. Because Roman Bath’s and the city is called Bath, because….Roman Bath’s, ya know? Not to diminish how cool these, are, because they’re pretty dang cool. The Roman architecture is wonderful, there are multiple thermal baths to check out as well as a museum with optional guided tours, and all that.

It’ll cost you 15 Pounds to get in. Keep in mind you can’t actually swim IN the Great Bath (the one you’ll see in most photos), but there is the Thermae Bath Spa which uses the same water, but it is filtered so you can actually go in it.

Thermae Bath Spa

This definitely doesn’t fall into the same category of ancient-ness as the Roman Bath’s. But, if you had your heart set on going to a bath in Bath, this is for you. There are thermal waters and a rooftop swimming pool. It’s also a spa, so you can get a massage, facial, and of course, the have tea as well.

Bath Abbey

This is an impressive Gothic Abbey with lovely stained glass windows, and massive arches. It’s free to get in, but they do suggest making a donation if you visit.

The Royal Crescent & Royal Victoria Park

The Royal Crescent is just curving street of Georgian-style homes that have been converted into a fancy-shmancy hotel. The lead-in room, the most basic of them is a cool £330 a night, and if you’re wanting to live like Royalty, the Garden Villa , “is available from only £1,940 per night,” but it does come with a complementary breakfast, so totally worth it.

And the Royal Victoria Park is nearby, which has typical park things — like well-manicured lawns and a Botanical Garden. It’s just a nice place to go for a walk, have a picnic and hangout on a sunny British day.

One Day Itineraries

It is entirely possible to take just a day trip out the Cotswolds. It’ll be lots of driving, and you’ll have to pick and choose some towns that are close by to each other to hangout in for a few hours, but it is do-able. We wouldn’t do it, because once you arrive, you won’t want to leave. But hey, do as you please.

Day trip option 1: Stratford-upon-Avon, Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold

Day trip option 2: The Slaughters, Burton-on-the-Water, Burford, Bibury

Day trip option 3: Burford, Castle Combe, Bath

The Rambling Gals Podcast

Have you been to The Cotswolds? What was your fav little town, or one you think should be on our list?!

3 day itinerary to The Cotswolds

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