After a fun two days with my sister in London, I headed back to Somerset on an early train so I could spend a few hours exploring Bath Spa. It seems late October offers no rest from tourists, as the town was packed with us. Such a beautiful place! The Roman Baths historic site was very interesting. More than just ruins, it’s a well-presented museum filled with artifacts and information which give visitors a wonderful sense of what life was like in this Roman town. After a bit more exploring and a nice cream tea, it was back to the train station and on to Frome.

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Pulteney Bridge, the iconic view of Bath.

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Bath Abbey, a site of worship since 757 AD, with an Anglo-Saxon monastery making way for a Norman Cathedral, and the Abbey as it stands today.

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A perfect summer’s day… in the middle of October!

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The mineral-rich hot springs below the town still feed the ancient bath.

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It’s easy to see why Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – every building reveals the historical story, from Celts and Romans to present day.

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Detail of the intricately carved wooden door of Bath Abbey.

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The centre of town was decorated for Day of the Dead. Many brightly-coloured skulls accompanied these garlands.

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Sweet Little Things, a very pretty tea house in Bath. Many cream teas consist of two scones, which I didn’t really understand, as one was usually plenty. And, as I love my scone to be piled high with cream and jam, I use it all up on one. The second scone made a nice snack the following day.

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View from the tea house door.

My beloved sister was also visiting the UK in October. As we don’t live close to each other, I took the opportunity to spend a couple days with her and her partner in London. We had a wonderful time exploring the city, eating and shopping. The weather was summer-like and perfect. Here are some of the highlights:

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This intrigued me. I think it is in Soho.

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So many gorgeous hotels.

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Lunch at The Crypt, in St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square.

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I loved all the layers of history and architecture. This is the Liberty building. The animatronics above the clock depict St George and the Dragon.

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Beautiful Tower Bridge. I stayed not far from here.

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Leaving Camden Market for a walk along the canal.

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Last look at the Camden Canal, near St Mark’s Church. Many narrow boats were moored at it’s edges.

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We enjoyed a remarkable dinner at Nopi in Soho. This was the most succulent Burrata with peaches and crunchy coriander seeds with a delicious dressing.

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The Regent’s Park roses still blooming in abundance, in the middle of October! This one smelled particularly fine.

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The Triton Fountain in The Regent’s Park.

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The Regent’s Park has waterways and a boating lake.

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We watched this gentleman feeding the birds. They were all eating from his hand. The grey goose to the right of him was looking at him so lovingly, and patiently waiting his or her turn for a handful of seed.

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Sunset over the Thames, viewed from the bridge on Narrow Street, district of Limehouse, East London.

After our week in the Cotwolds, we traveled to Somerset to the charming village of Mells. Situated alongside the Mells River, the village holds a rich past from Mesolithic flint workshops, Roman occupation, a Saxon village, a 16th century Manor House, wool trade in the middle ages, to more recently an Iron Works and Quarry. The Village amenities include the beautiful Talbot Inn, a lovely café attached to the Village shop and post office, the Walled Garden with it’s seasonal café, walking and cycling trails, and a general sense of serenity.

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Sheep and stone, with beautiful autumn colour.

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Green in every direction.

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The glimpse of St Andrew’s Church from the Walled Garden.

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Through the gate in this stone wall was our river-side sanctuary; the loveliest cottage.

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The Mells River ran directly alongside the patio of our cottage. The sweet and gentle sound was the first to greet me each morning. In the green space across we saw many pheasants, and the view of the stars at night in the dark village sky was spectacular.

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The stone bridge near our cottage which is one of the main roadways into the village.

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The path along the river through deciduous forest.

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A small waterfall along the riverside walk.

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An abandoned building from the old Fussells Iron Works.

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Old walls in various states of ruin are all around the area near the old Iron Works.

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A half of Guinness and some sketching on a rainy day at the Talbot Inn.

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A sweet little jam closet next to a cottage, open most days selling delicious preserves, plants and fruit. I brought home a jar of Strawberry-Rhubarb-Rose jam!

From Chipping Campden, we took a local bus to Broadway, crossing over the county line into Worcestershire, and then walked back into Gloucestershire for about an hour to our second National Trust property, Snowshill – immediately heading to the café for a cream tea to help recover from the last long hill!

Another spectacular place, filled with awe and wonder. Charles Paget Wade, architect and collector, purchased the estate just after WWI, and gave it to the National Trust a few years before he died in the early 1950s. The grounds are beautiful: simple walled decorative gardens near the manor, orchards of apples, and pasture for sheep. A tenant farmer still raises sheep on the property, and the apples from the orchard are used for delectable treats in the cafe. Next to the manor is a small priest’s house where Mr Wade lived while he filled the manor with his collections, which are vast; a passion he acquired as a small child.

The walk from Broadway was very pretty, although a bit treacherous on a narrow country road. The cream tea was calling and we persevered!

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The grounds were so lovely, with apples and flowers, a miniature harbour village, and a magical stormy sky all around.

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The collections: everything from bicycles, to musical instruments, to kitchen items, to prisoner-of-war bone carvings, to religious items, to over 2000 pieces of costume, and on and on.

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We ended the adventure with a drink just around the corner in Snowshill Village at the Snowshill Arms, before walking back to Broadway to catch a bus home.

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My first English pub experience. I had a small sherry!

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I am a bit behind on my posts! This week has been filled with adventure, but that will have to wait.

While we were in Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, we visited two National Trust properties. The first was Hidcote. Our walk took about an hour and 45 minutes, but we did stop to take lots of pictures. We wished we had done more research about the public footpaths, as apparently there is a route away from the roads.

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The garden was created with many arts and crafts garden design principles, with formality giving way to wilderness the further away from the house you wander.

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And even in October, there was much colour to enjoy!

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I am incredibly impressed with the work of the National Trust. The scale of what they take on with historical properties is enormous – each is so unique with its own needs and challenges. Hidcote runs with a team of gardeners, and a magnificent array of volunteers. I was amazed to find that the café tailors its daily menu based on what produce is available from the vegetable garden, and that historical research is ongoing. I would love to visit Hidcote again.

Read all about the fascinating history of this magical property here.

 

 

DetailChippingAs I sit in our next beautiful cottage, listening to the river just outside our door and the rain, I am thinking back to the wonderful seven days we spent in Chipping Campden. There were so many lovely details within the architecture in this picturesque town – I could post at least 50 pictures of door knockers alone!

Chipping Campden has existed since the late 12th century, but the current look of the village dates from the late 17th century when many of the wood-frame buildings were re-fronted in the honey-coloured limestone found in this part of the Cotswolds. Here are a few of the details I found most charming:

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Love at first sight is the correct description of how I feel about this village in Gloucestershire. Our cottage is on a small lane, just off the high street. As I am writing this I can hear the clip clop of horse’s hooves just outside on the lane. There are birds everywhere, mostly jackdaw,  magpie, carrion crowns and wood pigeon, as well as a few robins and the occasional pair of pheasants scuttering along the hedgerows. The village is beyond charming, perfectly situated in the midst of lush rolling pastures. Everyone we have met has been so kind and friendly. Here are a few pics I took on Saturday:

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My first walk of the day, at about 8 am. This is St Catherine Catholic Church, just on the corner of our lane.

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Many doorways on the High Street lead to private courtyards, or hidden shops.

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St James Church.

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The walk up to St James.

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Chipping Campden High Street in early morning light.

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On our afternoon walk we find this gate which leads into the lovely Ernest Wilson Garden. Mr Wilson was born in Chipping Campden and was an important plant collector of the early 20th century.

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These unusual rose hips were interesting.

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A lovely, quiet place.

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The view from St James.

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View back towards St James from a public footpath through a field.