Visiting the English Cotswolds

Posted By Carla Neggers

August 6, 2019

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Whatever time of year, rain or shine, Joe and I have enjoyed our visits to the Cotswolds west of London. Now we need to visit when it snows! Or just go again, anytime. The rolling hills of this beautiful part of the English countryside are crisscrossed with marked trails. I bought a big map–yes, paper–to guide us. We did go astray a few times, but that’s half the fun. Well. Except for that time when I got into nettle. I hadn’t done that since I was a kid and it stung. Our inn was very helpful in providing baking soda, not to mention a terrific gin-and-tonic, and I was back on the trails in no time.

April in the Cotswolds is stunning, especially with snow still falling on our hilltop in Vermont. Spring flowers everywhere! Just gorgeous, and so many gardens to visit. We spent hours in Hidcote, a National Trust garden. I wrote at a picnic table at our inn while Joe checked out a nearby old churchyard. We enjoyed wandering through shops, too. The Madhatter Bookshop in Burford was a favorite. Hats and books, can’t go wrong.

My friend Stella Cameron sets her marvelous Alex Duggins mystery series in the Cotswolds. I had lunch with her in Seattle (where she lives) when she was starting the first book in the series, Folly, and I got goosebumps myself when she gave me a taste of the story.

As for me, the Cotswolds is home to reader-favorite Sharpe & Donovan recurring characters Oliver York, an art thief and MI5 asset, and Henrietta Balfour, an MI5 officer and sometimes garden designer. They venture to Maine in Rival’s Break, due out on August 27. (I’m excited!) We get our first good look at  Oliver’s “gentleman’s farm” in Keeper’s Reach, and we are introduced to Henrietta and her inherited cottage in Thief’s Mark. The pair and their Cotswolds haunts play a central role in Impostor’s Lure as FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan search for a missing prosecutor in Boston.

Note: Impostor’s Lure is now out in paperback.

We even are treated to visits to the Cotswolds in my Swift River Valley series, with “Christmas at Carriage Hill” and again in Red Clover Inn(for a wedding, no less).

Whether you read about the Cotswolds or travel to this lovely part of the world, or both, enjoy!