Gloucester, Candlemas Cottage, Cirencester, Lower Slaughter, Bourton on the Water

Valentine’s travel feature with photos

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- Tim Saunders  Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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How are you going to woo the love of your life this Valentine’s?

A romantic break in the Cotswolds should score highly…

Cosy getaways are available at Homeaway.co.uk. Try sandstone coloured Candlemas Cottage nestled in the quaint village of Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire.

The freshly painted 19th century property makes for a fantastic base. This charming property has many original features including exposed Cotswold stone and wood panelling as well as modern touches such as flat screen televisions as you can see from the video at travelwriter.biz. You’ll enjoy snuggling up in front of the fire with your loved one.

The master bedroom is large enough to also fit a travel cot as my wife Caroline and I discover. Comfy beds provide a good night’s sleep.

Bourton on the Water is also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds because of the five bridges over the river Windrush that runs through it. This village is home to a number of unique independent shops for that last minute gift as well as pubs. There is a lovely community feel.

Have no fear for what awaits you at the outlying village of Lower Slaughter, even if its name might suggest otherwise. This is a supremely picturesque village, nestled on the banks of the river Eye. Records show that it has been inhabited for over 1,000 years. Today, it is home to The Slaughters Country Inn, an imposing and grand 17th century luxury hotel. This charming house, which will really appeal to lovebirds, has had many incarnations and was formally a Crammer School for Eton College, certainly some great characters have been here over the years. Traditional beamed ceilings, stone mullioned windows and the magnificent fireplaces combine with the more contemporary styling. Cuddle up on a comfy settee with a bottle of wine next to the open fire and peer out of the window towards the picture postcard landscape. Sample a pint of Hobgoblin ale, brewed in nearby Wolverhampton by Marstons. Good quality dishes include minted lamb pie, salmon or fish and chips with homemade tartare sauce.

You should visit Cirencester, if for no other reason that it is the capital of the Cotswolds while the Regency splendour of Cheltenham is only 20 miles or so from Bourton. Here there is an array of restaurants. Try TGI Friday’s, the all American style diner that has a great party atmosphere and really appeals to courting couples. There is always that Friday feeling. The menu includes a Classic American 7oz burger, a Chicken Finger BLT or a BBQ Smokehouse Aberdeen Angus – all very tasty.

Not far away is the cathedral city of Gloucester, which used to feel like the poor relation to Cheltenham. But in only a few years the Gloucester Quays regeneration programme has radically transformed the fortunes of this town and city. The multi-million pound venue is home to a host of good quality brands including luxury leather retailer Osprey, London and shoe specialist L.K. Bennett all offering stock at greatly reduced rates. Window shopping certainly makes you hungry and so it is pleasing to find a selection of restaurants here, too. A most warm welcome awaits you at Pizza Express with its exemplary service from waitress Jo Martin. But be warned this results in you spending the best part of the afternoon there.

Indulge in a romantic three-course meal. For starters it’s difficult to decide whether to try the Dough Balls “PizzaExpress” or the New Recipe Bruschetta Con Funghi. Jo recommends the New Polenta Chips, too. Those watching their weight will be pleased to learn of the Padana Leggara pizza with goat’s cheese, caramelised onions, spinach, red onions and garlic that doesn’t exceed 500 calories. If you’re not bothered about your figure then choose from Il Padrino pizza with chicken, roasted tomatoes, chargrilled vegetables, mozzarella with a tomato and pesto base to the American pizza of pepperoni, mozzarella and tomato - on the menu since 1965. Or perhaps the Fiorentina with spinach, grana padano, mozzarella, tomato, garlic oil and black olives. Awkward customers, like my wife… like the fact that the restaurant will change or replace any ingredient if necessary. Add a Peroni or a glass of Italian red wine to compliment. If after that little lot a dessert is too much then give the Dolcetti or mini puddings a whirl. It means that you should be able to find room for that delicious Chocolate Fudge Cake with coffee after all.

What a delightful break and when you have fallen in love not just with your partner but with the picturesque Cotswolds why not discover more by travelling in a Marquis Majestic 180 six-berth motorhome? It comes complete with everything including the kitchen sink as you can see from the video at travelwriter.biz. This means that you can park up by a quiet roadside, cook a meal, have a shower and a comfortable night’s sleep and not be tied to a particular destination.

With best wishes for a happy Valentine’s day and good luck.

Fact box:

Watch the videos at www.travelwriter.biz

Diary

Saturday
Arrive Candlemas Cottage, Bourton on the Water

Sunday
Country walk to Lower Slaughter

Monday
Savour the Regency splendour of Cheltenham and shop in the boutiques

Wednesday
Browse for art and antiques in Morton in Marsh and Stow on the Wold

Friday
Buy an engagement ring from Gloucester Quays and then book your wedding at the cathedral…

Watch a video tour of Candlemas Cottage at http://www.travelwriter.biz



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Tim Saunders is the former Business and Motoring Editor of the Bournemouth Echo in the UK.

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