Monday, 29 July 2019

A Weekend in Broadway

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

In Monday's post I shared our visit to Sudeley Castle, which was the prequel to our annual weekend meeting up with old friends ... this year we were in Broadway in The Cotswolds. It was but a short drive from Sudeley Castle to The Old Station House, which was to be our home for the weekend ...
It was a great find, in a perfect spot, just tucked up at the top of the road by the station, which was perfect, as our friends were staying in their caravan just across the main road.
We were greeted and shown around and soon settled into our room, which had great views both over the garden and to the open countryside beyond ...
... and of the steam railway ...
We spent Thursday night catching up over a meal in one of the local hostelries whilst planning what we would do on Friday ... as the weather forecast was pretty dire.

Friday morning and the weather was pretty much as forecast ... rain all day. We had hoped to perhaps have a trip on the train but, alas, no trains on a Friday ๐Ÿ˜’.

We opted instead for a bit of a later start with a mooch up and down the main street, avoiding the showers by nipping in and out of the shops ...
 
 ... and stopping from time to time for refreshment of course ...
It was then back to The Old Station House to dry out and get ready to head out again, this time to The Broadway Hotel for tea ... it was definitely not BBQ weather.

Saturday and the weather was due to clear about lunchtime. The plan was to visit Broadway Tower ... some on foot and some by car.

Our heading out just coincided with the arrival of a steam train which gave us a good excuse to have a good explore of the station ...

As Broadway is at the end of the line it was really interesting to watch the engine uncouple and move from the back to the front of the train ...
 
... before being ready for moving off again ...

 We finally managed to drag ourselves away from the station ...
... and hightailed it down to the caravan park where we managed to get to watch her leave the station to set off on her way ...

Finally ... we were ready to head off for the tower ... three and Charlie the springer spaniel were walking and three of us were taking the car, with plans to meet up at the tea room.

The tea room was great and we managed to grab a table and hunker down with the paper and a drink while we waited for the walkers to arrive.

We were soon reunited, with the walkers looking like it had been a bit of a slog up the hill ... but they were soon refreshed and ready to go off in search of the tower and a ROC listening post, which was open for the weekend ... some of our party were really keen to 'go down th'ole' ๐Ÿ˜….

We wandered up past another snack stop ...
... and were soon heading across the field to the tower ...
It was tricky trying to get any shots with no people in but I managed to get a couple ...
... and I think the chap in this one just adds to the picture as it gives the scale of the size of the tower ... well that's my story and I'm sticking to it ...
We couldn't see sight nor sign of the listening post so there was time for one quick selfie in the shelter of the tower before the walkers headed off back to the village ...
Martin and I headed back for the car, stopping at the snack stop on the way to ask where the ROC listening post was. Apparently it was in the corner of the field past the tower. We decided we couldn't not go and at least have a look and headed back towards the tower, then veering off to the right.

We soon spotted what we were looking for in the corner of the field and, whilst there was no way we were going down 'th'ole' we did manage to get some pictures ...
It was now definitely time to head back so it was good bye to the tower for today ...
... and back to meet up with the others ...
And ... would you believe it ... the sun came out just in time for our annual BBQ at the caravan and we managed to sit outside enjoying the evening sunshine till gone 9.00pm ...
So that was pretty much it for another year. It was back to The Old Station House for one last night before getting up and heading off for home.

The 'gang' will be back together next year for another catch up ... this time it looks like we are heading for Hawes in the very lovely Yorkshire Dales. We will see you there ๐Ÿ˜€

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Thursday, 25 July 2019

Beautiful Britain - Sudeley Castle

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

I'm afraid I'm just a little out of sync with today's post as it was right back at the beginning of June when we visited Sudeley Castle. We were having our annual catch up with old friends in Broadway and we always try and fit a day out en route as a bit of a prequel to the weekend.

Neither of us had ever visited before and, whilst we didn't really have time to stop, the village looked lovely. Definitely somewhere that we would like to get back and explore more when we are next in the area.

We had no idea of what to expect at the castle and the drive in certainly wasn't giving anything away. Even at the visitor centre there was still really no sign of what was to come.

Armed with our welcome map and day planner we decided we would head for the Castle Kitchens first so we could get some lunch and work out what we wanted to see first ...
The path from the visitor centre took us through a small wooded area ...
... and through an old metal gate ...
... into the Tithe Barn, which was just lovely ...
From here we got our first view of the castle ...
We headed for the castle, stopping to look back across the pond at the Tithe Barn, which we were both really taken with ...
There was plenty going on in the parkland as there were outdoor concerts planned over the weekend and it was really interesting watching the set up under way ...
Whilst there were plenty of clouds gathering we decided to risk eating lunch outside and found a nice spot in a courtyard area ...
... where we tucked into some of the most substantial cheese and ham toasties either of us have ever come across ...
So ... fortified, map in hand we were off to explore. We started inside the castle but, as ever, it wasn't long before we were itching to get out into the gardens ...
The first of the 10 award winning gardens we got to explore was the Knot Garden. There was a great view from the window above, but it was lovely at ground level too ... with the Banqueting Hall Ruins in the background ...
This is the view from the other end of the garden, looking back at the castle ...
From the Knot Garden we headed across the Mulberry Lawn and past the Banqueting Hall Ruins ...
... and into the rest of the gardens, where we got our first view of the church , where Katherine Parr's tomb can be found ...
There were some serious black clouds building up by now and we so hoped that we weren't in for a drenching ...
The topiary was fabulous, the lime green was so vibrant ...

The topiary runs along the edge of the formal gardens and we had some great views from here of the setting up for the weekend's concerts ...

We wandered along the edge of the Ha-Ha ...

... and down into Queen's Garden ...
... which was just lovely ...
... and just filled to the brim with all kinds of rose. There were some absolutely beautiful blooms and the scent was just heavenly ...


Just look at that sky though ... in the other direction.  I can't quite believe that we hadn't seen even a spot of rain ...
From Queen's Garden we explored a bit more of the interior of the castle. There is certainly plenty to see...
We had a quick wander round the church. After all ... we couldn't leave without having seen Katherine Parr's tomb ...

 
We left the church by the side door and headed into the Secret Garden, which was another real treat, with plenty of my favourite shades of purple on display ...


 
Just across the way from the Secret Garden is the Rare Breeds Pheasantry and who knew just how many beautiful breeds of this bird there were? It was difficult to get any decent photos as all of the birds are caged but the colours were just amazing ...
We also stumbled across this chap who had made his presence well known already by his trademark screech and although we did not get the full display he did still look pretty colourful just chilling in the long grass ...
We were definitely on the home straight now and the path lead us from the Pheasantry past another pool with fabulous views looking back across to the church ...
... and the castle ...
The last two gardens to see were the Tudor Psychic Garden and the Herb Garden ...
We did find a couple of interesting sculptures though ... this magnificent chap ...
... and this very sophisticated lady, who was having a read in the afternoon sunshine ...
We'd pretty much seen everything, but we couldn't leave without one last look at the Tithe Barn ... which looked even more beautiful than it had when we'd seen it earlier on ...
That bit of blue sky and sunshine really does make all the difference ...
We hadn't noticed the poppies earlier and they really were stunning ...
Now it really was time to leave ...
... and it was the short walk back through the woodland to where we'd started ...
What an amazing day we'd had ... now it was time to head off to Broadway for our annual catch up.

Sudeley Castle was a real treat. If you get chance to go ... we would definitely recommend it ... and if you've got the Gardeners' World two for one card, then even better ๐Ÿ˜€

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