At the beginning of 2018, I made a pact with myself to travel more. Say yes to more. Amongst that pact, I vowed to spend my birthday (October 26th) in a different country. Didn’t care where or with who, just as long as I was there enjoying myself.
I’ve always had a(n afar) love affair with Great Britain. I’ve watched so much British TV and Youtube that I can probably tell you what part of England, Scotland, or Ireland someone is from down to region just by listening to their accent.
I started saving places on Pinterest when it became a thing, pinning all these little towns to a board call “Far Off Places” (daring sword fights – a prince in disguise!). And then, of course, Instagram is a constant tease in showing photos of these places I long to see. Long story short, I’ve been planning this trip little by little for years.
I flew into London (LHR) Wednesday morning, picked up my rental and was on my way west. I rented an Airbnb in Stroud, within decent driving distance of all the towns I wanted to visit.
The view from my AirBNB

DAY 1 – Stroud, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Bibury
When I left the US, fall had barely even started (at the end of October). First thing I did when I saw the leaves was text my mom and tell her!
Some images of Stroud. I spent the first few hours of my morning walking around. Some shops were still opening. I got breakfast at Milanos – typical English breakfast with sausages, eggs, bacon, beans and tomato. Honestly, this was the best meal I had all week. Not that the others weren’t as delicious, this was just extra awesome.
Before breakfast, I mapped out the places I wanted to visit first. Since I was staying in the northern end of the cotswolds, I started there. First stop was Stow-on-the-Wold. These buildings were beautiful, some covered in vinery.
St Edwards Church – classic instagram spot. Two very old trees growing into a very old church. I met a couple here, believe it or not, from Philly! They asked me to take a photo for them in front of the door.
Porch House Inn – oldest Inn in England!
My first stop in Bourton-on-the-Water was the model village. I think it was 2 or 3 quid to get it. It was pretty cool because I got to see the entire town from a pretty accurate birds eye view. All of the little buildings were made from original cotswold stone.
Some pretty fall colors on the water. It was so busy I didn’t stay long, but definitely a place I’d like to go back to on a pretty day.
Bibury was probably my most anticipated location on my list. I’ve seen Arlington Row all over Instagram, and in some of my favorite movies. I stopped here first but there was no parking, so I went on to Stow. I’m really glad I did, by the time I came back it was about 4pm and there was barely anyone around.

DAY 2 – My 28th Birthday

I took the train into London, and arrived in Piccadilly Circus. I had tickets to go see Carrie Hope Fletcher in Heathers! Unfortunately Carrie was really ill, but her understudy was amazing. I also took a walk around SoHo and ended up at Foyles (gorgeous bookstore!).

DAY 3 – Brighton

About 3 hours and 923,232 roundabouts later, I arrived in Brighton! I’ve been a huge fan of Zoe Sugg and Co. for years, living vicariously through her vlogs. It’s like I had already been there and knew my way around already! The Lanes were incredible – I stopped in a few shops, but it’s definitely somewhere I’d like to revisit with a friend or my parents!

The pier and the sunset I happened to catch!


DAY 4 – Castle Coombe, Lacock Village & Abbey, and Bradford-upon-Avon

Some pretty sights on my walk down to Castle Coombe. This village felt like a time capsule. Wasn’t terribly crowded, but there were a lot of “photographers” down by the bridge when I was there.



2019-05-09_0045.jpgAgain, I only knew of Lacock because of watching Zoe. This was the village she grew up in. I remembered a vlog of when she basically gave a tour of the village and talked about filming for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the abbey. What I didn’t know what that Lacock Abbey was the home of the inventor of photography – Henry Talbot. A happy coincidence.

2019-05-09_0046.jpg2019-05-09_0047.jpg2019-05-09_0048.jpg2019-05-09_0049.jpgThe abbey and the grounds were so unbelievably beautiful. Here’s some of my favorite details of the main building.

2019-05-09_0051.jpgThe famous hallway used in the Harry Potter films.

2019-05-09_0050.jpg2019-05-09_0052.jpgSnape’s potion’s class was filmed in here!

2019-05-09_0053.jpg2019-05-09_0054.jpg2019-05-09_0055.jpgSome shots of the courtyard which includes a small bookshop, and remnants of the original bakery and brewery.

2019-05-09_0056.jpg2019-05-09_0057.jpgThe gate to the main building.

2019-05-09_0058.jpgSome more fall bits on the grounds.

2019-05-09_0059.jpgThe rose garden.

2019-05-09_0060.jpgSome of Lacock’s village.

2019-05-09_0062.jpgI barely made it in time for sunset for Bradford-upon-avon, but managed to find the old tea room and get some pretty shots before heading back to Stroud.



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