Our very first trip as a family was north to the Cotswolds and Oxford. We stayed in Oxford, at the Macdonald Randolph Hotel, directly across from the Oxford campus. The weather this weekend was very English...overcast, cold and rainy. But, it made the Cotswolds more old and magical because it looked dewy from every point and added to the incredible charm.
We rented a car and drove all over the Cotswolds (even getting completely lost, per the general recommendation) until we settled on exploring the Upper and Lower Slaughters...as you can see, it was amazingly gorgeous and totally picturesque. We walked up and down hills, through mushy green fields, and saw sights that are hard to capture because they are just too perfect and too beautiful. The greenery and flowers were stunning-- it seemed as if these homes, gardens, hotels and churches had been here forever.
We drove on to Chipping Camden, a town that dates back to Roman times and has some buildings to prove it! We walked down the totally charming high street and explored back roads and courtyards, taking the beauty in as much as possible, every turn a new sight to see. I believe we might have witnessed more varieties of flowers in this one place than we have in our entire lives!
This trip would have been close to impossible without Elle...she pushed strollers, cheered on the kids, and lugged baggage all over London to make a train that we were sure we were going to miss. My girls look up to her so much.
Of course we found an old cemetery by an equally old church and had to explore the headstones, trying to find the oldest one in the lot. There is something so fascinating about reading headstones and trying to imagine the lives these people might have led. But, seriously, doesn't this graveyard look magical? That old building in the background is what is left of an old Roman fortress (read: VERY old!). Next stop: Oxford!
There are actually 33 colleges in Oxford, but there's really only one you've heard about. We went on a walking C.S. Lewis tour of the town- we saw where he spent his first night, where he lived, where he dined and pondered with JRR Tolkien, and where he studied and converted to Christianity. It is an amazing and inspiring story!
From the words of CS Lewis during his time at Magdalen College:
Blackwell's is a famously massive and very old (1879) bookshop.
Walking the streets of Oxford makes one feel smarter.
My very captive audience ;)
Views from the top of the University Church in Oxford provided stunning 360 degree views of the city. Houses of every color prompted a new nightly question from Tessa, "which house was your favorite color today?"