Gloucestershire Things to Do Tips by toonsarah Top 5 Page for this destination
Gloucestershire Things to Do: 40 reviews and 119 photos
The only real street in Adlestrop
– This is for me one of the loveliest of Cotswold villages, made all the lovelier because very few people seem to know it or come here, despite the fact that it features in a well-known English poem (see next tip).
As well as the poet, Edward Thomas, the village has a connection with the novelist Jane Austen, who is known to have visited at least three times between 1794 and 1806 when Rev. Thomas Leigh, her mother’s cousin, was vicar, living at the Old Rectory. Austen is thought to have drawn inspiration from the village and its surroundings for her novel Mansfield Park. The rectory is now known as Adlestrop House and is just by the churchyard – although it’s not open to the public we were able to peer through the gates and get a sense of the lovely views it commands.
Apart from this and the church, covered in a separate tip, there is perhaps not much of note in Adlestrop, but that is part of its charm. A sleepy village street, lined with chocolate-box-pretty cottages; a thatched village shop still surviving when many in the country have sadly closed; a small green and a cricket pitch. This is the England that someone who has never been here might conjure up from old movies, thinking that most of us live in just such a place (although in fact only 80 people inhabit this tiny village). If you have an image of a perfect English village in your head and want to bring it to life, Adlestrop could be the place for you.
Directions: Just off the A436 a few miles east of Stow-on-the-Wold – the turning is signposted. There is a car park on your left as you arrive at the village, with a box for donations.
Bus shelter, Adlestrop
Adlestrop was immortalised by Edward Thomas, one of my favourite poets, in a poem first published in 1917. The poem describes an uneventful journey Thomas took on 23 June 1914 on an Oxford to Worcester express.
Like several other poets, he is closely associated with the First World War period, but unlike them he wrote mostly, not of the war, but of the England for which he believed the soldiers were fighting. This is possibly a rather idealised picture of a pastoral idyll that was already being changed by industrialisation, but even today pockets of his England remain, and unspoiled Adlestrop is one of them.
Today a seat at a bus stop near the entrance to the village bears a plaque with the poem’s verses, and above it is a sign from the railway station that inspired them:
Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
Directions: Click here to listen to a YouTube clip of Thomas’s widow, Helen, reading the poem.
St. Mary Magdalene's church in Adlestrop sits on a knoll at the end of the village street, which here turns into a track. The tower is the first thing to catch the eye. This is 14th century, and consists of three stages, with the lowest serving as the church porch. Much of the rest of church was rebuilt between 1750 and 1764, though so sympathetically that the building retains much of its earlier feel.
The oldest part is the 13th century chancel arch, on either side of which are two 18th century memorials set high into the wall. These are to members of the Leigh family, relatives of Jane Austen’s mother, and other reminders of the same family can be found elsewhere in the church, including gravestones set into the floor of the chancel and memorial windows.
Talking of windows, many of them have lovely stained glass (photo 2), and were looking especially good on the sunny day when we visited. Look out too for the 15th century font.
The peaceful churchyard has some 17th century chest tombs, a cast iron entry gate and lantern which commemorates Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and a sundial built to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Elizabeth in 2002. A rare Elizabethan memorial (from 1594) is built into the exterior south wall of the chancel (photo 3). From this churchyard you can look past Adlestrop House, where Jane Austen once stayed, to the beautiful rolling hills beyond.
The website below has many more photos of the church, including several of the stained glass.
Directions: At the end of the one street through the village - you can't miss it
Old stocks, Stow on the Wold
Stow-on-the-Wold is one of the best known (and consequently most visited) of the small Cotswolds towns. It is also the highest of the Cotswold towns, standing exposed on a 700 foot hill at the junction of seven major roads, including the Roman Fosse Way.
At its centre is a vast Market Square, a sign of the town’s former importance at the height of the Cotswold wool trade. In those days this was the venue for huge annual fairs where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time. At one end of the square stands the ancient cross, and at the other the town stocks, shaded by an old elm tree. As you’ll see in photo 2, Luciano was not too keen on these, but he took his “punishment” well ;-)
Around the square are a number of beautiful Cotswold town houses, many of them now hotels, pubs and shops but still retaining most of their character. Many alleyways run between the various buildings into the square; these were once used for herding sheep into the square to be sold.
We stopped here late in the afternoon, and even on this beautiful July Saturday, with the town busy with visitors, we were able to quite easily park in the centre and find a tearoom with a table for three and, on the menu, the object of our visit – a traditional English cream tea.
This town would make a great base for a weekend or longer visit to the area (and indeed Chris and I stayed many years ago at the atmospheric Old Stocks Hotel right in the Market Square). It’s also a good spot for shopping, with several good antique shops.
Lower Slaughter scene
This is one of the most popular destinations in the Cotswolds, perhaps understandably so, given its almost unbelievably pretty setting either side of a little stream, the Eye. In fact, there are those who consider it to be not just the prettiest village in the Cotswolds, but in the whole of England. Personally, I prefer to spend more time in some of the other villages, which are almost as picturesque and a lot quieter, but you really do have to see Lower Slaughter if you’re in the area.
Apart from strolling by or sitting by the stream, the main draw here is the 19th century mill, last used commercially in 1958 and now converted into a museum and craft shop, but still with its original water wheel. You can also walk across the meadows to nearby Upper Slaughter, which is a little quieter – this is a very pleasant walk, though we had run out of time to do it on this occasion.
The name “Lower Slaughter” sounds a bit gruesome, but it has nothing to do with death and morder; it comes instead from the Old English name for a wet land, “slough'” or “slothre”.
Directions: Just off the A429 about four miles south of Stow-on-the-Wold. Parking is difficult, but coming late in the afternoon as we did meant we were able to get a kerb-side spot on the road leading into the village
More Reviews (6)
toonsarah's Related Pages
Gloucestershire Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "A day in the Cotswolds"
- "The Cotswolds"
- "The Honey-Coloured Stones of the Cotswolds"
- "A few days driving around the Cotswolds"
- "Photos of Lower Slaughter, the Cotswolds"
- "THE COTSWOLDS"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Gloucestershire
- Hotels in Gloucestershire
- Transportation in Gloucestershire
- Nightlife in Gloucestershire
- Restaurants in Gloucestershire
- Shopping in Gloucestershire
- Warnings and Dangers in Gloucestershire
- See All...
Explore the World
- Mamie Hotels
- Weil der Stadt
- Mandeville North Hotels
- Sierra de Ancares Hotels
- Unaften Hotels
Badges & Stats in Gloucestershire
- 11 Reviews
- 25 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 0 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (98)
Have you been to Gloucestershire?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Gloucestershire
Photos in GloucestershireSee All Photos (25)
Top 10 Pages
- London Intro, 172 reviews, 476 photos, 13 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Newcastle upon Tyne Intro, 98 reviews, 211 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination New York City Intro, 77 reviews, 226 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Gubbio Intro, 52 reviews, 204 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Galápagos Islands Intro, 49 reviews, 197 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Quito Intro, 45 reviews, 172 photos, 1 travelogue
- Berlin Intro, 52 reviews, 155 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Bergamo Intro, 42 reviews, 161 photos
- Lisbon Intro, 42 reviews, 144 photos
- Krakow Intro, 34 reviews, 140 photos, 8 travelogues
FriendsSee All Friends (159)
Top Gloucestershire hotels
- Cheltenham Hotels
- 111 Reviews - 243 Photos
- Gloucester Hotels
- 78 Reviews - 246 Photos
- Bourton on the Water Hotels
- 64 Reviews - 195 Photos
- Tewkesbury Hotels
- 27 Reviews - 105 Photos
- Cirencester Hotels
- 36 Reviews - 110 Photos
- Broadway Hotels
- 93 Reviews - 148 Photos
- Chipping Campden Hotels
- 53 Reviews - 133 Photos
- Moreton in the Marsh Hotels
- 26 Reviews - 46 Photos
- Stow on the Wold Hotels
- 10 Reviews - 41 Photos
- Bishops Cleeve Hotels
- See nearby hotels
- Birdlip Hotels
- 6 Reviews - 25 Photos
- Winchcombe Hotels
- 16 Reviews - 48 Photos
- Teddington Hotels
- See nearby hotels
- Stroud Hotels
- 2 Reviews - 9 Photos
- Lechlade Hotels
- 6 Reviews - 17 Photos