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Pauline Kenny is an American expat living in the Cotswolds, England. She runs the Slow Europe website and forums (www.sloweurope.com) where she writes about her love of Slow Travel in Europe – staying in holiday cottages and taking the time to get to know a place. She is a frequent holiday home renter and regularly browses the HomeAway sites looking for new adventures.
After a busy morning in the Cotswolds, exploring villages, visiting gardens or walking on footpaths, lunch in a village pub provides a welcome break. On warm summer days, sit outside and enjoy the beautiful countryside; on cold days, get a table by the open fire and warm up. Many pubs in the Cotswolds are in historic buildings with low ceilings and stone floors, and have been inns and pubs for hundreds of years. Most of them also offer real ales from local breweries – Hook Norton, Donnington, Uley, and Butcombe, to name a few. And that's not all – pubs pride themselves on their good food, made using locally sourced products, too.
The Cotswolds is quintessential English countryside at its finest: amidst gently rolling hills, fields of sheep, lush river valleys and green woodlands, its beautiful towns and villages are built with local golden stone. The name 'Cotswolds' derives from the Saxon terms for sheep pens (cots) and hills (wolds), and it's no wonder: sheep have been raised in these hills for thousands of years. The Cotswolds is one of Great Britain’s 46 officially designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and it stretches over several counties. Most of the Cotswolds is in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, but parts go into Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire.
Afternoon tea in a traditional English tea room is a highlight of any day in the Cotswolds. Tea rooms are lively and friendly places, popular with locals and visitors alike. Open all day serving morning coffee and light breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon tea, they usually close at around 5pm. Cakes and other desserts will be on display, so you can walk up, have a good look and make your choice. A popular afternoon selection is a “Cream Tea”—one or two scones, with clotted cream and strawberry jam on the side, served with tea or coffee. Indeed, the Cream Tea originated in Cornwall, before spreading to Devon and the rest of the south-west.