Just over a year ago, my family spent a weekend away in the hugely picturesque Warwick. We took a long weekend off and slowly meandered our way up to Warwick from London via the Cotswolds. If you are thinking of taking a mini road trip to the Midlands, I would highly recommend these two places, particularly the Cotswolds if you are looking to explore quaint, typically English, villages.
First stop: Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold
Stow-on-the-Wold is a gorgeous, small town that’s definitely worth visiting in the Cotswolds. It has an idyllic town center with quaint boutiques, antique shops and a wonderful selection of cafes. A short, 14 minute drive from there is Burford – an equally gorgeous medieval town situated on the River Windrush. It is often referred to as the ‘gateway’ to the Cotswolds and is a beautiful place, right in the heart of the countryside.
After an hour or so drive from Surrey, we stopped off for a coffee and piece of cake at Huffkins, Burford. The staff were really friendly and welcoming and we enjoyed a selection of cakes between us. It was a great pit-stop on our way to Warwick and we enjoyed strolling around the little sidestreets afterwards and picking up some cheese and chutney from an indie cheesemongers (check them out here).
Burford top-picks: Explore the cobbled streets, cute boutiques and indulge in tea and cake at Huffkins (well worth every penny).
Stow-on-the-Wold top picks: Stop by for an afternoon pick-me-up in one of the many lovely coffee shops (would recommend the Coach House Coffee in particular) and visit St Edward’s Church and see the famous door that was the inspiration for the Doors of Durin in The Lord of the Rings.
Wondering around Warwick
Just a short, 40 minute drive from Stow-on-the-Wold is Warwick. This beautiful town is situated on the River Avon, in England’s West Midlands. It’s perhaps best known for the medieval Warwick Castle, which was founded by William the Conqueror. Whilst the Castle is well worth a visit there are so many other great places to see and explore around Warwick. (If you are thinking of visiting the castle, you can save quite a bit of money by booking ahead of your visit, take a look here).
Visit Lord Leycester Hospital
We stumbled across this sight late afternoon and so didn’t have enough time to go around this. We did however, have time to stop into the tea-room which was stunning- with old beams across the ceiling and very attentive staff. We indulged in tea and scones with clotted cream and jam – one of our favourite stops of the long weekend! Definitely worth popping into if you get the chance!
Market Hall Museum is located in the Market Hall, a landmark in the very heart of Warwick. It’s been recently refurbished and tells the story of Warwickshire, and how the shifting natural and human landscapes have shaped the county to the present day. Entry is free and they are open Tuesday to Sunday (Sundays from April – September). If you’re looking for a little pick-me-up then check out the Market Hall Cafe and it’s fabulous cake selection.
Final stop: Leamington Spa
The Royal Pump Rooms is home to Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, Leamington Library, Visitor Information and Assembly Rooms. Originally, the building contained Royal Leamington Spa’s finest spa baths but is now a culture and tourism centre. It’s situated at the southern end of the Pump Room Gardens and is a truly beautiful building inside and out. Definitely worth a quick visit if you are in the area!
Warwick/Leamington top picks: Stroll along the historic streets and take in the sights by foot. Mosey around Lord Leycester Hospital and catch a glimpse of the castle. If you are into art, be sure to pop into Leamington Spa Art Gallery situated in The Royal Pump Rooms.