Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell love to travel - but try not to rack up their carbon footprint as they go. Here's how...
“Is it one of the made up Cotswold towns,” asks my London neighbour after I describe a weekend in Tetbury glowingly. I’m not sure about this – guessing one of Oxfordshire’s Upper or Lower Slaughters could have been just to keep the visitors trapped in a Cotswold beauty ghetto – but the old wool town of Tetbury http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetbury is astonishing. We arrive in perfect September sun to see many other visitors enjoying pavement gourmet meals, the public loos are squeaky clean, the postcard recommendation to look out for St Mary’s church and the Chipping Steps easily found. No surprise it is a 2009 Britain in Bloom finalist.
The evening is spent at a perfect wedding held in the nearby Great Tythe Barn – then again Helen and Chris claim they have had 20 years to plan it!
Back in Tetbury central on the Sunday there’s a food festival (with English wines, Highgrove organic produce from the Veg Shed, prize winning local made organic smoked brie) and the village hall has an art show Even the B&Bs are themed – the lovely one we stayed in was pure House & Garden perfection with its low beams, model owner and delicious breakfast; another is above a chocolatier; a third transports you to India through artifacts and incense.
Tetbury has always been the place you might meet royalty – and since March 2008 you can step into the shopwindow opposite Somerfield’s thanks to Prince Charles opening the Highgrove shop www.highgroveshop.com/ . It’s an upmarket style center for modern posh with wooden apple trays, hen-bedecked aprons and pottery tablewear. Old farm tools have been clustered together like decorative weaponry. There are books extolling the organic, country life and I love the fact that profits from the sale of these products goes towards The Prince’s Charities Foundation – an altruistic offer that makes me wonder why people so often slag Charles off (or should I be writing “Your Majesty/Sir??”) as a NEET who is rich (or silly) enough to be not in employment, education or training.
A local resident resists praise for the town too. He claims the problem with Tetbury is it has no middle class, just posh or forelock tuggers, and it’s only really bustling at weekends as the townies drift in for their Saturday of rural unwinding with the very best food. He says I need to get myself to Nailsworth, or read reports of crime from Stroud for a real touch of Cotswold life. Even so, the next visitors I get who want to see a snapshot of old fashioned England –will be given a map to get themselves to Tetbury.