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Bath and the Cotswolds

· Travel

Some 16 years ago now, we left our 14th century home (below) in the heart of the Cotswolds, England and started on our new life in America. The usual reaction when we tell our US friends that our home was 700 years old is pretty much astonishment. Yet, when we were living there, we barely gave it a second thought, as there are literally thousands of similarly aged homes all over the area. Clearly these magnificent stone houses were built to last. We've started to realize recently that the Cotswolds and the beautiful city of Bath to the South are really perfect destinations to combine with a London visit. Not too far to travel, but giving travelers a real glimpse into deep history and an area of unrivaled beauty in southern England. So this weeks top 5 is where to stay if you'd like to visit our old stomping grounds.

TOP 5 BATH AND COTSWOLD HOTELS

1. Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter (above)
A gorgeous hotel in a beautiful village, close to the well known spots of Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold. Also a great area for gentle hikes and the hotel kindly provide welly boots for you by the back door, hopefully not needed in the summer!
2. Dormy House, Broadway (below)
Just 12 miles north of Lords of the Manor, this is a rural boutique hotel set in a 17th century farmhouse, but with a distinctly modern feel. If you stay here there is no escaping the complimentary full English breakfast. Oh my, it's good.

3. Bath Priory, Bath (below)
Bath was often our weekend treat for shopping, and sometimes a one night escape to one of the many fine luxury hotels. It's a Roman city and is steeped in history. Set in a grand 1835 Georgian manor, so fairly young for the area, Bath Priory is an elegant 5-star hotel about 3 miles form the center of Bath. The Michelin starred restaurant uses ingredients from the walled kitchen garden.

4. The Slaughters Country Inn, Lower Slaughter (above)
So we've moved to Lower Slaughter from Upper Slaughter and this place gives you the charm of a traditional village inn and not quite so many of the luxury touches. Think wellies again, log fires and good honest pub food, such as bangers, mash and a pint.

5. Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath (above)
At the dead center of this must-see street in Bath is the wonderful 5-star Royal Crescent Hotel. Our family has rather a deep connection to the place. My brother worked his way up in the kitchen here, and as a family we stayed here many times. I can't begin to describe how serene and magical the place is, and I know they continue in the same vein to this day.

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