Broadway in the Cotswolds

Posted on 7th Nov 2012 by ian under Travel Tales | No Comments »

From Box we meandered up from Wiltshire, through the pretty Cotswolds to Gloucestershire and Snowshill, near Upper and Lower Slaughter.

Checking out Snowshill Manor was recommended by Canadian MSer mate, Dale, who said it is full of “seriously weird shit”.  Got me interested!  We arrived at Snowshill Manor at 10:30am to discover it didn’t open until midday.

We decided to amuse ourselves for a bit, so drove around Snowshill and ended up in the charming, stereotypical English village of Broadway, about three miles from Snowshill.

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway but not so in this quaint little tourist magnet. Turns out that this is on the ‘See the Real England in a Very Short Time Tour’ loop – they even had London red buses pulling up full of happy-snappers cramming in the essential England… can imagine something like the guide announcing, “You have the next 35 minutes at leisure to explore the main street, souvenir shops and tea rooms after which we will then move on to the home of Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon, for a full forty minutes before being totally amazed by an hour in Oxford. See you back here in half an hour folks…” and then nipping behind the bus for a fag to nurse his hangover.

Anyway, despite the gaggle of folk exploring the main street, we jagged a park outside Armstrong’s tea rooms and had a delightful brunch… sausage, bacon, perfect eggs on thick toast, sweet tomato and tea made from proper tea leaves. We also jagged a window view of the passing parade of locals walking their dogs, pushing children in prams and being pretty much oblivious to the influx of tourist-injected prosperity.

Yes, real people live here, and die here. Got talking with a volunteer at Snowshill Manor, Jim, who moved to Broadway in 1969 and his wife worked at the Broadway Hotel where the widow of Charles Paget Wade lived for her last 12 years.  Charles Paget Wade was the eccentric millionaire who gave Snowshill Manor its magnificent gardens and his serious collection of weird shit… which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.