A Weekend in the Cotswolds


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:

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”

Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with tremendous difference that it really happened…. Does this amount to a belief in Christianity? At any rate I am now certain (a) that this Christian story is to be approached, in a sense, as I approach the other myths; (b) that it is the most important and full of meaning. I am also nearly sure that it happened….
— C.S. Lewis

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?"