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[personal profile] handslive

From London, we went to Bath and stayed there in a lovely B&B.  Reasonable walking distance from downtown Bath, lovely rooms, nice people running it.  [livejournal.com profile] purplejavatroll and I wandered around a bit our first night there.  We came to Bath on our first trip to the UK, I think, so it'd been quite a while.  We spent more time in Bath on this trip, too.  I took probably 45 photos, and the 10 I've put in the set are all that are worth keeping.  Bath served as our base of operations for visiting various places around the Cotswolds.

I was impressed with the Roman Baths museum.  When we went the first time, several sections that are now open were mostly still being dug up and researched.  They had some walkways setup for the tourists to keep us away from the actual work.  Now, it's amazing inside and there was a lot of really great info.

Also, the water in the Roman Baths?  I've had worse pump water in rural Alberta, but it was still pretty horrid stuff.

[livejournal.com profile] purplejavatroll hired a driver for us online for the Cotswolds portion of the trip and he was worth it.  He was a good driver (which you'd expect), a good conversationalist (which you'd hope for), and very knowledgable about the area (which was why we'd hired him).  I took almost 580 pictures in this part of the trip.

Our first day, we planned to visit Hidcote Manor.  We stopped briefly in Bibury for a view of the river, which had swans, ducks, and the occasional fish.  We also stopped at a small Saxon church at Coln St Denis.  Hidcote Manor was very impressive.  The grounds are huge and varied with interesting transitions from close views to far views, lots of carefully trimmed hedges, topiaries, and stone walls.  It drizzled on us a little towards the end, but we had very nice weather there for the most part.  On the way back we stopped in Chipping Campden.  We walked around the town a bit and stopped off at a Guild Craftsmen Hall that was hosting a display and had some items for sale, although we didn't buy anything.

On the second day, we visited Bourton House Garden.  For formal gardens, this one was a real favourite, with some of the best topiaries and hedges.  After some lunch, our driver suggested that we go to Snowshill Manor.  This property was once owned by Charles Padget Wade, an architect and member of the Arts and Crafts movement.  He's apparently best known for his collections, but the whole property is like an ode to eccentricity.  It was easily my favourite stop of all the places we visited while in the Cotswolds, and not someplace I'd have looked into if our driver hadn't suggested it.

On the third day, we visited Dyrham Park.  If you include the park itself, the grounds here were the most extensive.  In addition to everything else in the grounds, the attached church of St Peters, and the rooms of the house, there's a well preserved kitchen of the period that you can visit, and an orangery.  One of the rooms had samples of the maps and other papers that William Blathwayt, who had the house built in 1692, would have had.  After that, we stopped at Painswick and walked around the outside of St Mary's parish church.   Finally, we went to Gloucester to see the cathedral.

Gloucester Cathedral was impressive, but they were also in the middle of putting up sculptures for an art show that was going to be running over several months there.  Some pieces weren't complete and many were clearly intended to be controversial and were placed carefully for the purpose.  [livejournal.com profile] purplejavatroll and I went up to the top of tower, while her mom and the driver stayed below.  After, we grabbed some food and came back to Bath.

[livejournal.com profile] purplejavatroll's mom hadn't seen the Roman Baths before, so we had the driver drop us off on the main strip and went.  As I mentioned above, the changes to the museum since our last trip there were amazing, so I'm really glad she asked to see it.  Sadly, none of the photo
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