Peeping through the windows of this pretty chocolate-box, thatched cottage, I see a welcoming sight. A large refectory table is laid with blue and white crockery and fancy pastries abound. As I step inside the heat from the cooking range adds to the warm and inviting atmosphere. I’m at the Secret Cottage, the starting point of a unique Cotswolds tour, that’s easy to reach from London.
Early that morning I’d caught the train from London’s Paddington station and in less than two hours arrived at Moreton-in-Marsh. I was met by Becky, who lives nearby, with Robin in the Secret Cottage. The drive to their home took no time at all and soon we were all seated around the table tucking into breakfast.
Welcome to the Secret Cottage
This small group tour of the Cotswolds with a twist, was the idea of Becky and Robin. Having thought to themselves how visitors to the area miss out, never getting to see inside the traditional cottages that the area is so well-known for, they came up with the idea of this unique tour.
They live in an idyllic thatched cottage, built around 1580, with three-foot thick walls, open fireplaces and low, beamed ceilings in the heart of the Cotswolds. And its a real treat to be invited into their home where the Secret Cottage Tour begins.
A Tour of the Hidden Villages of the Cotswolds
Having eaten our pastries and had a quick tour of the cottage, Becky drives us to the first of many lovely villages that we see that day. These are places that you can’t catch a bus or train to. The only way to see them is to drive yourself or come on a Secret Cottage Tour.
Today it’s mid November. The sky is grey with just the odd glimpse of blue and there’s a chill in the air but the Autumn leaves still clinging to the trees look beautiful, in every shade of yellow, orange and deep russet red. These villages are a wonderful sight in any season and, having lived in the area for some 25 years, Becky is the perfect guide.
We head back to the Secret Cottage for a buffet lunch with cheese, pork pies, pickles, mustards, smoked salmon sandwiches and scotch eggs. We all eat a little more than we should and then we’re off again to even prettier villages and the glorious Cotswold countryside.
A Traditional Cream Tea
As the 6 hour tour draws to a close, we’re back at Becky and Robin’s cottage where a traditional English cream tea awaits us. The scones are freshly baked each day in the Aga, using Robin’s mother’s recipe and are served with huge dollops of Cornish clotted cream, strawberry jam and a refreshing cup of tea. The perfect end to the perfect day.
For anyone visiting the south of England, wishing to see the Cotswold countryside and get a glimpse of village life, this is the perfect tour. It starts and ends at the railway station at Moreton-in-Marsh which is less than 2 hours by train from London’s Paddington Station. It’s been running just 3 and a half months or so but the Secret Cottage has already had some great media coverage. They are happy to run the tour any day of the year (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Short notice, not a problem. And if its chilly outside, the cosier and more inviting the Secret Cottage becomes.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Robin and Becky for my complimentary Secret Cottage Tour. As always, these are my own, honest opinions and I can highly recommend this tour. Don’t just take my word for it though, check out what people are saying on Trip Advisor. Can they keep up their 100% record? I think so.