A fastinating Journey

Cheltenham to Andoversford

This captivating journey begins at Cheltenham Royal Wells Bus Station. It’s a Bus Station, like no other with only a few bus stops and a picturesque green, with beautiful blossom trees in the middle and fabulous regency buildings as a backdrop. A stone’s throw away is the famous Promenade which dates back to 1818, when the avenue of elms and horse chestnut trees were first planted.  

The bus winds its way out of the City Centre close to the shopping centre and past small boutique, independent retail outlets, including a great bookshop and lovely restaurants winding its way up Royal Well Road.

 There’s a few twists and turns as Cheltenham begins to be left behind, with the architecture always very varied and historic, with plenty of large Regency town houses overlooking more blossom trees in Spring dominate the landscape as the bus travels down St. Anne’s Road. 

Look out for Sandford Park on the right with its delightful fountain and plants around it. The Meadow Café is also on the right as the bus makes its way past the Sandford Park Ale House, which looks very enticing.

It’s down London Road for several miles now, past the quaint Holy Apostles Church on the right with its effervescent grounds and mock Tudor Church Hall next to it. The bus enters Charlton Kings which is a thriving location with lots of independent shops, including a lovely hat outfit, wine bar and a shop selling decorative items!

Beautiful, lush fields with trees either side of the road dominate the horizon, with gentle undulating hills on the left. A large reservoir emerges in a tree-lined enclave. The bus arrives in Andoversford with views of pretty cottages, bungalows, a lovely yellow sandstone brick houses with lovely barn doors and the River Colne. This is the first glimpse of classic Cotswolds décor. Meanwhile, look out for the bus stop with a fabulous diamond jubilee mural in the bus shelter opposite the cram-packed parish community notice board! This kind of board regaling all the many eclectic activities that constitute Cotswolds life are omnipresent around the small towns in the Region and worth perusing!

Andoversford to Bourton-on-the-Water

A glimpse of the delights of Andoversford can be really enjoyed as the bus makes its way towards Moreton-on-the Marsh up Old Gloucester Road. The former Country Police Station looks really quaint and a throwback from another era and there are some great 

yellow sandstone buildings as Andoversford is gradually left behind. 

This is by now the most rural of journeys, with fields either side of the road, a classic Cotswolds perfect picture postcard setting of sheep and cows grazing, the latter together when rain looks imminent. It’s not just an old wives tale! 

The scenery really is beautiful as the bus ventures up the hill in Hampnett, with farmland both sides of the bus. Houses appear, surrounded by perfectly manicured hedges and neat-looking gardens. 

The beautiful River Windrush emerges on the right and Hillview Landsdown Church on the left as Bourton-on-the-Water comes into view, the most paradisical of settings as the bus stops right in the heart, surrounded by amazing, small and pretty independent shops, such as Mrs Rolls Tea Room, as well as the Cotswolds Distillery. 

The Willow Pub is striking, as it is a lovely green stoned building, fitting in perfectly with the entrancing setting either side of the bus. The river gushing right through the heart of the delightful green which is alongside where the bus stops and with a backdrop of classic, enticing country pubs and more quaint tea-rooms and shops behind and just to the right, the Motor Museum, which even though we prefer buses to cars, we certainly would recommend a visit! Look out for the car covered in dark green foliage outside the main entrance!

Bourton-on-the-Water to Stow-on-the-Wold

It’s a shame to be leaving Bourton-on-the-Water as it’s so delightful and you can spend the whole hour between buses literally taking photo after photo, without leaving the bus stop!

This journey of delights isn’t finished yet and as the bus makes its way out of this paradisical setting, there’s a lovely mock tudor building on the right and yellow brick houses on the left. Not far on and the Pulhams Bus Depot comes into view, surrounded by near semi and detached residences and more blossom trees. It’s a funny looking depot, in that it is in such a rural setting, the rows of proud-looking Pulhams buses fit perfectly in the Cotswolds landscape.

Fields with horses emerge in Lower Slaughter, then sheep grazing on the left in Fosseway and a pretty farmhouse and cottage. The bus makes its way up a slight gradient and there are distant views of Norton Down Golf Course, behind charming stone cottages, juxtaposed with pleasant modern houses, which have a traditional bygone Cotswolds feel about them, even though they have not long been built. Past a cemetery the bus goes as Stow-on-the-Wold approaches and the bus turns right into the High Street and this small town that is a haven for those who love Cotswold Stone and a pint in a lovely setting such as the Old Stocks Inn or The Stag which appear on the left. Stow-on-the-Wold certainly doesn’t disappoint – many suggest it is the jewel in the Cotswolds crown, which isn’t an unreasonable suggestion, but alongside the other great places on the 801, it really helps create the most memorable of trips.

Stow-on-the-Wold to Moreton-in-the-Marsh

There’s a real hustle and bustle in the centre of Stow-on-the-Wold and classic Cotswolds coffee shops with delicious eclairs and cream teas. The bus makes its way out of the town, with the church in the background and turns right at the main square past Cotswolds Gallery Fine Paintings and Work of Art. This great town certainly is a work of art in its own right and the view from the window continues to captivate as the bus passes the enticing Lucy’s Tea Room, a quaint police station, the attractive Queens Head Inn and then the Organic Shop, which is testimony to the Cotswolds’ passion for natural, locally produced food.

The bus leaves Stow-on-the-Wold on a country road with lovely views of hills either side, more horses grazing on the left in Fosse Folly and fab views of the Cotswolds straight ahead. Yellow fields of abundant crops, neat hedgerows dominate the skyline in this remote setting as the bus passes Fosse Way Garden Centre on the left and not too far away the Inn on the Marsh pub and a charming pond with a wall around it and more blossoming cottages. 

Moreton-on-the-Marsh emerges, and the stone cottages are sumptuous to look at, with flowers and trees aplenty. It’s a picturesque setting with the Swann Pub and beer garden looking particularly aesthetically pleasing – there’s Union Jack and St. George’s flags flapping in the breeze and adding to the colour and sense of occasion as the bus approaches, so too the striking traditional looking old bank of yesteryear – long closed down but with a demeanour fitting of a bygone era when banks stood boldly at the epicentre of every town. 

The views of this great place are fab and the bus then makes a very slight detour into Moreton-in-the-Marsh railway station, a sleepy looking halt on a beautiful but key line connecting Oxford and Worcester, where a sojourn on the train offers another delightful insight into this incredible part of the UK.

Moreton-in-the Marsh to Chipping Norton

From Moreton-in-the-Marsh, the bus departs for the final stage of this Cotswolds extravaganza, leaving the charming Crouch Coffee shop behind, as well as the lovely Bell Inn and many yellow sandstone buildings which are synonymous with this fabulous town. The prominent St George Monument is resplendent in all its glory, surrounded by an invigorating range of small independent shops and restaurants. 

Look out for the undermentioned tolls, as well as Asty House Fine Art and the very grandiose council offices. The pub scene really is great too as the bus passes the Black Bear Donnington Ales.

The bus is back onto London Road again, with its renowned big, detached houses and cottages, tree-lined fields of corn and classic Cotswolds views. 

Approaching Little Compton, Chastleton House can be discovered, through a turning on the right and short walk from the 801 route, set alongside ploughed fields. Green trees, hedgerows, fields breaking through the dense shrubbery and then the road ahead seems expansive and very open at the top of a hill, with views of tractors in the fields, sometimes even crossing the road. 

Warwickshire is left behind and the bus crossed into West Oxfordshire and not far beyond, the Greedy Goose Bar and restaurant on the left, with stunning views of fields, as far as the eye can see, at the peak of this summit, before the bus descends, ever so gently and meanderingly so down Cross Hands Hill. There’s a pretty church on the left and the setting is photogenic as it’s set in the middle of a field with a tiny smattering of houses close by. 

Slightly down the hill in Farthings is The Black Horse Pub as the bus turns to the right then left slightly – as it heads towards Chipping Norton with the remote Salford Mill farmhouse on the left, Salford Mill.

This really is a topsy turvy journey and approaching Chipping Norton, the bus now ventures slightly up a hill. Spring really is a great time to visit and there are yet more pretty pink trees, 

Toy Lane on the right, famous building with chimney down below on the right, green hedges, and Greystones cemetery. 

The bus then passes the famous and unusually ornate Bliss Tweed Mill, built in 1872 by George Woodhouse. Its large chimney was a smokestack for the steam engines that once powered the mill’s machinery. The last working mill in the area, it closed in 1980 and was converted into residential apartments.

Elmsfield Farm is on the left and the bus then crossed the river, close to more yellow houses, past the very pretty Chipping Norton Baptist Church, many more hedges and a lovely residence with a wrought iron balcony.

The bus has arrived at its final denouement, climbing up the hill into Chipping Norton with its main street of hotels, plush brasseries, cosy pubs, as well as quirky antiques shops.  As the bus turns right into the centre of this delightful market town, the majestic Town Hall proudly stands, overlooking the bustling life around it.

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