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This next stage of our journey through England we continue the theme of ‘classic’ ‘old’ quintessential Englishness, and follow, partly at least, in the Elizabethan footsteps of our famous bard, and literary genious – William Shakespeare.
‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ and Jean-Marc and myself were certainly endeavouring ‘to be’ and to enjoy the marvellous tranquility of The Cotswolds, right in the heart of England, and the celebrated and renowned, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Yes, I have personally been through this beautiful part of England many times with family and friends, and enjoyed its picturesque embrace – its rolling countryside, ancient and historic buildings, characterful, medieval houses, and immaculate, colourful English gardens. I chose the route especially to give Jean-Marc further ‘taste’ of true, historical Engand, and some of its traditional village delights.
Jean-Marc and I journeyed from our sojourn in The Wye Valley through Ross-on Wye, Great Malvern, and Evesham (wonderful countryside here), and then into the heart of The Cotswolds where we rested in a classic, English village called Broadway.
Originally a 16th Century Cotswold coaching inn, The Lygon Arms is situated in the historical high street of the beautiful village of Broadway, which is perfectly placed for touring the surrounding Cotswold villages, Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare Country.
Gazing into a huge and ancient log-burning open fireplace, you can easily drift back in time to a very different England. The Broadway parish register has the first reference to The Inn in 1532. In the 17th century, it served both sides of the Civil War – Oliver Cromwell stayed here before the decisive battle of Worcester in 1651, and Charles I also used The Inn to meet his supporters.
We enjoyed an excellent walk down the high street, and around the village, gazing at many of the fascinating, ancient houses and colourful gardens, before aluxury of a refreshing swim in the Lygon’s indoor pool, and a good traditional English meal in the restaurant. After all the travelling and miles of walking we had done during the previous week, we certainly deserved it!
After a great night’s sleep, and an English breakfast inside us we headed off to Stratford.
Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, steeped in culture and history, is set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the river Avon, it is one of the most important tourist destinations in the UK.
A literary man, Jean-Marc has read quite a bit of Shakespeare (unusual for a Frenchman from the Roannais!), so it was a delight for him to visit this famous part of England. We had a good wander, and visited Shakespeare’s original house, and the church where he is laid to rest. No chance of seeing any of his plays being performed, I’m afraid. Although when we popped into a speciality cheese shop we found that they new all about Maison Mons cheeses from the Roannais, and even had some of their excellent quality products on display – it’s a very small world!
Part 5 of “Our Man from the Roannais” series will continue next with our stops at famous Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, and the amazing Yorkshire Sculpture Park.