The Great UK Road Trip

As I said in my last post, we didn’t want to bother Annelies while she was working, so we took a “little” road trip up to the UK.

I am the family travel planner. Because Hubby is such a good sport about letting me decide where to go, what to see, and how to get there, I usually try to avoid stuff I know he will HATE and include stuff I think he will enjoy.

I wanted to see the Cotswolds in England.

Are you wondering about this “Cotswolds” thing?

It’s actually a region in England known for its beautiful setting and honey-colored limestone villages. And sheep or, more accurately, wool. Which, of course, comes from sheep. My friend, Janet, had visited there last year, and the pictures she shared of the villages enchanted me. I’m a sucker for cute and colorful villages.

The area is pretty rich in history, too. And Hubby loves old stuff. Plus there’s tons of castles, manor houses, and cathedrals, so I knew we’d find something that he would enjoy.

Zaffelare, Belgium to Bourton-on-the-Water, in England


Google maps said this route was about six and a half hours and a little over 300 miles. After studying the map and seeing that we would be going past Oxford, I got an idea. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Initially, I thought we’d take the Channel Tunnel over to the UK, but I didn’t want to buy the tickets in advance in case the weather turned crappy and we nixed the trip. Then, the night before we were to leave, we discovered that a Chunnel ticket (you drive your car onto a train which carries you through the tunnel) would cost about 139 Euros ONE WAY. That’s about $175. Yikes!

Then Annelies started looking into ferries and discovered we could get a round-trip ticket for about 50 Euros or $64. The ferry took longer, but that was a pretty big price difference. Plus, I love ferries and am slightly creeped-out by long-ass tunnels. So the ferry it was.

We had to drive into France to reach the ferry terminal. My, what a busy place.

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Hi, ho, hi, ho, a ferrying we go.


The ferry was HUGE. I’d been impressed by the Washington State ferries. These were far bigger.

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DFDS Seaways Ferry


I love boats, so I couldn’t stay below deck while we sailed. Unfortunately, it go foggy pretty quickly, so I didn’t get to see much.

At one point, I noticed something odd peeking through the fog on the horizon.

My first thought, honestly, was, “Is that a glacier?”

Not that I really thought that would even be possible, but that’s what it looked like through the haze.

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What the heck is THAT!?!


It was the famed white cliffs of Dover. Now, if I’d done more reading about the ferry crossing, I would have expected that. Anyway…

Canterbury, which was our first stop, was only about a 20-30-minute drive. (I covered that visit in yesterday’s post.)

We spent much longer than we’d expected admiring the cathedral, so we had to hurry a bit to reach our next stop before the business day ended. And that meant we didn’t have time for a proper meal, so we just grabbed some road snacks.

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Chocolate-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies for Hubby


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Caramello-looking Cookies and a Flapjack (like a soft oat cake) for Me


Oxford was our next stop. Since we were going to be in the neighborhood, I thought it would be fun to visit a certain little paint shop.

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We found Cowley Road.


It was quite a lively little neighborhood.

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Busy Oxford Street


As for the paint shop… you know the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® I prattle on about? Well, her shop is in Oxford. I thought it might be fun to stop in

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THE Annie Sloan Shop


Plus I knew it would make Janet’s day. It have been even more fun if Annie had been there, but she wasn’t. It was still really cool to see her shop. It’s where that magic paint began.

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ToadMama at Annie Sloan’s shop.


It’s a tiny little shop, so we weren’t there for long. Besides, by then, we were starving. Since we’d already paid for the car park (aka parking lot), we decided to grab dinner in Oxford. We actually found an adorable little cafe right down the street from The Annie Sloan Shop.

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The Tick Tock Cafe got two thumbs up from us.


It had a colorful, fun, funky interior, which you know I loved.

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Inside the Tick Tock Cafe.


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It also had really good paninis.

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Yummy Paninis


We still had a couple hours worth of driving to do, so we didn’t linger long. Getting out of Oxford during rush hour was a bit trying, but we made it. And, soon enough, we were in the Cotswold countryside.

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Rolling hills in the Cotswolds


It was just as lovely as the pictures I’d seen made it appear.

The narrow roads with unusually high speed limits were interesting, to say the least, but Hubby did a great job with the driving.

We managed to reach Bourton-on-the-Water, our final destination, JUST before dark. We hadn’t made reservations in advance (I didn’t want to be slave to any real agenda). I was getting a bit worried after all three of the hotels we’d tried didn’t have a room for us. Luckily, The Dial House had a vacancy.

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Small but super-charming room.


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Tea Supplies (instant coffee, too)


After unwinding for a bit, we went for a night-time stroll along the river that runs through town, hence the name Bourton-on-the-Water.

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Romantic Nighttime Stroll


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Romantic Nighttime Stroll


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Two Pints of Stella


What better way to end a LONG, hectic day that with a couple of pints, enjoyed at an outdoor, riverside pub?

Ah, England…

4 Replies to “The Great UK Road Trip”

  1. What a great day. How cool you found the paint shop.

    You would have had Brad’s attention with the Stella.

    And I haven’t had Cadbury Biscuits since we lived in BC, yumm!

    1. Those biscuits were like Twix cookies. YUM. It was fun seeing THE chalk paint store.

      Those Stella’s were big. We don’t get pints in the US.

  2. On the first solo trip I took (remember when I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?) I met this British couple who were positively tickled to have met someone from Maryland. They kept asking me about Mary-land cookies and I had NO idea what they were talking about. Who would have thought they were just talking about enhanced chocolate chip cookies? đŸ˜‰

    Your romantic nighttime stroll (and nightcap!) looks seriously awesome. And pretty.

    1. Shan, I remember you telling me that story! I think Maryland is the cookie brand, we saw other varieties, but only saw the stuffed chocolate chips once. Much to Dad’s dismay.

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