This is the spectacular place where you will feel like royalty

One of the most fulfilling and fun things for us is discovering new places, especially those that are right under our noses and just waiting for someone to tell their story.

He is exactly like that The Cotswolds (Cotswolds) – the rural area in England which was defined asArea of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty (in free translation: “Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty”) and is a short drive from London. Head west from the English capital and get on the freeway M40 Go straight to Downton Abbey or one of Jane Austen’s books, which, as you already understood, will also provide you with “extraordinarily” beautiful sights.

Beyond the sights of houses, which no matter how clichéd we try to be, the word that best describes them is really “picturesque”, lavender fields, green meadows that end in the horizon of the cloudy sky, sheep grazing in a bright green meadow, low hills, castles, mansions and wooden English pubs, you know The area also offers a kind of time travel to life in England of hundreds of years ago.

25 million tourists visit the area every year and although there are days when walking down Oxford Street in London feels like shopping at the Seven Stars Mall, very few Israelis come to this area and it’s a shame.

So beautiful that it already seems like a cliché. The Cotswolds|Photo: PJ photography, shutterstock

Downton Abbey style vacation

The Cotswolds region includes several major cities such as Bath with its hot springs and Oxford with its famous university but we rented a car and decided to settle in Barnsley (Barnsley) The small one between Oxford and Cheltenham (Cheltenham) and Gloucester (Gluccester) the bigger ones.

Unlike the stars of the British books and series who lived (well) on an annual allowance or land ownership without doing too much, you will probably have to pay for all this goodness. Some? The area offers a room for every type of traveler and every budget – whether you are one of those looking for a basic room to rest your head in at the end of the day, or whether you are one of those who would like an impressive and well-designed historic mansion that offers a burning fireplace, drink a glass of wine next to it and a Michelin restaurant to end the day with – the Cotswolds has it all.

On the recommendation of a local relative, we chose theBarnsley House (4 stars and Google rating of 4.7). The historic house offers 18 designed boutique rooms surrounded by well-kept and meticulous gardens, the kind that have been written about in books and used as a setting for movies, including a vegetable garden from which the food straight to the plate in the hotel’s restaurant was harvested. In addition, the hotel has a luxurious and intimate spa with a heated hydrotherapy pool in front of mesmerizing meadows, tennis courts and even a cinema room for private screenings (with popcorn).

A historic house from the books. Barnsley House|Photo: Two Flying Boys
Barnsley's garden (Photo: Two Flying Boys)
Beautiful and well-kept gardens|Photo: Two Flying Boys
Barnsley House (Photo: Robin Bradshaw)
You can go for a walk around the house|Photo: Robin Bradshaw

We’d swear that as the car drove down the driveway we heard the Downton Abbey theme song playing in the background. The time travel to Victorian England begins during check-in, when we discovered on the reception desk a historic bell box that used to be in the servants’ quarters and showed which of the house’s rooms the masters rang the bells to call them. From there we were taken to our room – a spacious suite called “Davina” after the daughter of the former owners of the place, which has a large rustic bedroom and a lounge designed like a British living room. Naturally, the hotel does not have a lobby, but from the entrance there are three changing rooms, warm sitting areas, a burning fireplace, a bar and an exit to the magical gardens.

It seems that only two adaptations were made on the spot over time: one is in the service – if you imagined a tight-knit and face-stamped British officialdom then you were wrong. The staff are warm, friendly and smiling. The second is in the dress code – morning suit, evening suit and strict dress are no longer required. You can sit by the fireplace and read a book even with a faded t-shirt, a spa robe or the colorful boots (called wellies)which the place lends for hiking on the wet trails in the area (at the reception there are some suggestions for beautiful hiking trails from the hotel).

The cost per night starts at 430 pounds (about NIS 2,000), but the hotel offers three nights for the price of two, so we paid, for accommodation at peak time (Easter), a sum of about NIS 4,000 for three nights including breakfast. Those who also have this amount “greater than him” will be able to spend the night atBoots – A tastefully decorated English bar with wonderful food owned by the hotel just across the road, offering six beautiful rooms from £180 per night.

Barnsley House Spa (Photo: Robin Bradshaw)
Barnsley House Spa|Photo: Robin Bradshaw
Barnsley Garden House (Photo: Robin Bradshaw)
A place to sit for a picnic|Photo: Robin Bradshaw
Wallis (Photo: Robin Bradshaw)
At the reception you will be given boots for walking in the wet area|Photo: Robin Bradshaw

The most beautiful villages in the world

The Cotswolds region offers countless reasons to come to it and the interesting ones we will list right away. Due to the brevity of the page, we will briefly mention that, as befits the English countryside, in the area there are spectacular bicycle routes, horse riding lessons, golf courses, polo games, cooking workshops, theater performances and even a shooting school for those of us who find the action in the Middle East insufficient and would like to spice up the vacation His shooting clay pigeons.

Beyond all these and the main reason why millions of people come to the region every year are the villages that are considered the most beautiful in the world. We took the car in the morning and went to Bourton-on-the-water. The small village, defined as a must-see for visitors, is known as the Venice of the Cotswolds due to the small bridges that connect the two banks of the stream that runs through it and only add to the captivating charm of the place characterized by narrow streets, small shops and colorful cafes. from there continue toUpper & Lower Slaughter – Two twin villages between which a stream flows and the walk between them provides unforgettable rural, green and peaceful sights of houses, hills and fields. Two points not to be missed are the manor house andThe Slaughters Country Inn He has a huge garden on the banks of the river where you can have lunch (or “just” drink a beer on a bench in the sun) and enjoy the view and the people. By the way, the upper village won the title Double Thankful Village Due to the fact that none of its inhabitants fell victim to the two world wars.

Burton on the water (Photo: Two Flying Boys)
Burton on the water|Photo: Two Flying Boys
Upper Slaughter (Photo: Robin Bradshaw)
Ash Slaughter|Photo: Robin Bradshaw

When we reached the next village, Broadway, we had the feeling that in a moment someone would dress us in a cloak, the director would say action and we would be extras in a Game of Thrones scene. The perfect castle in the middle of a huge meadow against a blue sky horizon made one of us run up the path towards it and fill our lungs with the fresh air and the other immediately took out a drone to capture the perfect sight. If the weather is less welcoming and you are a fan of fashion and cuisine, we will actually recommend a tour of the village itself, which is known for its good taste. One of the more beautiful places on the trip that we came across “on the road” was the cemetery in the churchyard of the village.

Broadway (Photo: Two Flying Boys)
The Castle on Broadway|Photo: Two Flying Boys
Broadway Cemetery (Photo: Two Flying Boys)
Broadway Cemetery|Photo: Two Flying Boys

From fish and chips to Devonshire duck

After eating fish and chips, pea soup, shepherd’s pie and a host of other typical English dishes in the local pubs during the vacation, we spent the final evening in the area, as is our custom, at one of the six Michelin restaurants located there.

the restaurantDining Room Located in the hotel Whatley Manor which in itself is a beautiful classic English manor well worth a visit. On top of that, the restaurant boasts a Michelin star, plus a green star indicating sustainable cuisine (it turns out there is such a thing).

The eight-course meal began with a cocktail at the hotel bar, continued with two courses at standing tables placed in the sparkling clean and well-arranged kitchen, and ended in the restaurant itself. But not only the Sting was original. The dishes did use products from the vegetable garden and from the region (like the Devonshire duck that was presented to us before it was cut up) but with cosmopolitan twists such as Japanese sauces, miso whipped cream for dessert and caviar. From us, the restaurant received an extra star for the fact that the hotel manager herself tried waists and assisted the waiters in serving the dishes.

The cost of the pleasure – at least 3 hours of your time and 175 pounds per diner (about NIS 800 without wine). Quite a bit, but as long as you are looking for the ultimate romantic treat in the most prestigious settings – this is the perfect place for you.