With a moo, baa and quack

There is a good number of animal and bird parks in the Cotswolds and they make a great day out. You may see a new-born lamb, an owl flying overhead or even a crocodile snapping! In the school holidays, there are alot of children around so come in term time to enjoy the beasts, birds and butterflies. So where should we start …

Cotswold Farm Park lets us get up close to the farm animals and see what happens on a working farm. The animals are often happy to come and say hello and you get the change to see lambing, milking or sheep shearing for instance depending on the time of year. Many of the farm animals are rare breeds. And you may get to see Adam Henson from Countryfile as it’s his place!

Cotswold Falconry Centre don’t just have falcons; there are Eagles, Owls, Hawks, Kites and Vultures too. The flying displays each day are unique and last about an hour and mean you get to see the magnificent birds in flight. The Cotswold Falconry Centre is next door to the Batsford Arboretum, about 7 miles from Apple Tree B&B.

For something a bit more exotic we have a crocodile park in the Cotswolds! At Crocodiles of the World, there is a crocodile collection and you can see feeding times for hatchlings and the adult crocodiles, or you could have an animal encounter. Located in Brize Norton, near Burford.

In Bourton-on-the-Water the Birdland Park and Gardens have a wonderful collection of birds including comical penguins, perfectly pink flamingos, parrots and owls plus many others. You can have a close encounter, watch feeding time and visit the Jurassic area too – whilst the dinosaurs may be for the children, it’s a great wildlife area.

Sticking with birds, at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge Wetland Centre you can see a great gathering of ducks, geese and all types of wetland birds. Slimbridge was the founding centre for the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and still sets a high standard. Once you’ve walked through the bird collections, there are viewing points for the wild areas where you can see visiting birds so remember your binoculars.

Within walking distance is the Broadway Gravel Pit Nature Reserve run by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. You could see and hear chiffchaff, treecreepers or snipe depending on the time of year you visit. Dragonflies and damselflies enjoy the water and there are over 160 types of plant and more than 150 types of moth have been recorded.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens have a wide range of animals, plus insect, reptile and bat houses, and a tropical house. There are daily Lemur talks, and one for the penguins too. And the gardens are worth a look as well.

All Things Wild is located in Honeybourne and the Nature Centre has over 50 species including Monkeys, Meerkats, wallabies, armadillo, and many more. How about an opportunity to hold a Royal Python as an animal encounter. There are walkthroughs and feeding times if holding a Python is a bit too much.

At Broadway Tower, you’ve probably noticed the deer but you can never get as close as you’d like. If you go to a Deer Encounter, you can get up real close. This picture is from a recent event and its wonderful to see them within arms length. Keep an eye on Broadway Tower’s website for the next Deer Encounter. You do need to book as numbers are limited.

And I said butterflies, didn’t I? How about visiting the Stratford Butterfly Farm. Located in Stratford-upon-Avon, a great all-weather place to visit. Enjoy the tropical atmosphere with the exotic butterflies all around you.

Please check opening dates and times before visiting. All these fabulous places to visit are within easy driving distance of Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast
Broadway, Cotswolds WR12 7DE

The wonder of Trees

Trees. Its easy to only look at and think about trees in the Autumn when there’s Autumn colour but trees are fantastic in Spring as well. The flower power of a whole tree in flower! So my first place to visit is predictable because its an Arboretum – Batsford Arboretum. The magnolia trees are in flower at the moment, cherry trees and lots of daffodils .

Walking is another way to appreciate trees. Some fabulous trees are out there alongside walking routes whether it is a glorious oak, a humble may tree, or even just a tree stump giving fascinating shapes. There are numerous walking routes from Broadway itself and at Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast we have walking books and route maps to lend out to guests.

Some Cotswolds villages are overlooked when they deserve more attention and there are some beautiful villages which are more peaceful and make for a quiet afternoon. One of those villages is Naunton and it has some fabulous trees too!

I love trees; I don’t always know what tree they are but they’re wonderful and create a fabulous silhouette. Broadway has a lovely wide high street which means we have some wonderful trees; chestnuts mostly and on Station Road (where Apple Tree B&B is) we have flowering cherries. When the cherries come into flower all down the road, it makes a wonderful spectacle. Come see for yourself.

I know I mention Hidcote Gardens quite often but I love the place. And its not just plants and flowers, they have trees as well. There is a magnificent cedar but other trees are worthy of attention too. This photo is a tree near the greenhouses with fantastic bark. So when you are walking around the garden, appreciate the trees as well as everything else.

To see trees growing in a garden landscape, maybe you want to see if its suitable for your own garden, Pershore College is the place to go. Pershore College is an RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) College and visitors can walk around the grounds. On our last visit, we found some of the less seen fruit trees such as medlars, mulberry, etc, as well as trees like magnolias.

Please check all information and details before travelling.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast
Broadway, Cotswolds
For more information or to book online, visit: www.appletreebroadway.co.uk

Limited Opening

Limited Opening – what does that mean? Places only open for a limited period, sometimes a month, sometimes a week and sometimes just an afternoon, so they need special planning to visit them and to be in the Cotswolds at the right time.

The first place has got to be Cotswold Lavender. There are fields and fields of lavender which look spectacular. They use the lavender oil for all sorts so enjoy sniffing round their shop too. For 2019, Cotswold Lavender is open from 8th June – 4th August. About 3 miles from Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast.

Upper Slaughter Manor also has limited opening. It is an Elizabethan Manor house and has a fabulous garden. House tours are available. For 2019, the open days are: Monday 10th – Sunday 16th June, Monday 24th – Sunday 30th June, Monday 8th July – Sunday 14th July, and Monday 22nd – Sunday 28th July – all subject to the weather. Upper Slaughter Manor is around 14 miles from Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast.

Stanton is a fabulously pretty Cotswold village and deserves a visit in its own right. However, on Sunday 16th June 2019, it is the annual Stanton Village Open Gardens day under the National Gardens Scheme. Open from 2pm to 6 pm this is extremely limited opening and our guests come back saying how wonderful the experience was. About 3 miles from Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast.

Stanway Water Fountain is the highest gravity fed fountain in the world and is a fabulous sight at 300 feet. Stanway House & Garden is open in 2019 in June, July and August on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 pm to 5 pm; the Fountain plays at set hours in the afternoons. Located about 5 miles from Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast.

This is a new place to visit to me. The Confetti Flower Field is just what it says. They ‘farm’ flower petals and make confetti from them so you can imagine how colourful their flower field is. For 2019 they are open from Friday 28th June to Sunday 7th July. Situated near Pershore, the Confetti Flower Field is about 10 miles from Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast.

The National Garden Scheme (NGS) allows unique access to more than 3,500 gardens all over the UK. Many are private gardens with access at no other time and the Cotswolds has lots of them! Within 15 miles of Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast there are 104 gardens and within 25 miles 306. Many are open for only 1 day a year, so browse through and pick out the ones you want to visit and plan your trip soon.

Please check all information and details before travelling.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast
Broadway, Cotswolds
For more information or to book online, visit: www.appletreebroadway.co.uk

Experience the Cotswolds

There are a lot of ways to explore the Cotswolds and lots of different ways to experience it. Here are a few ideas, whether you are new to the Cotswolds, want to explore the Cotswolds in more detail or want to have a new experience. Experiences also make the perfect gift, to give enjoyment to a loved one or as a way of spending time together.

Guided walksGuitingPowerWalk01

To experience the Cotswolds closer to hand, one way is a guided walk. Wardens from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty lead guided walks on a regular basis throughout the year. The walks range from short (5 miles or less) to longer ones and are marked Easy, Moderate or Strenuous. Or if you are just looking for a good route for a walk, there are self-guided walks as well!

Who wants to drive a Steam Train?

copyright Brian Robert Marshall

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has been steaming into Broadway for over a year now. For a different perspective of the railway, how about an Experience Day? The GWSR run Diesel Driver Experience days and Steam Footplate Experience days. Do you know someone having a birthday but you don’t know what to buy them? An experience rather than another ‘thing’ may be just the ticket.

Photography workshops

copyright Andy Page

An alternative way of seeing the Cotswolds is through the lens of a camera but if you could do with a little help to improve your photography, this could be the workshop for you.  Image Seen Photography specialise in landscape photography and they run Workshops including one at Batsford Arboretum which is only about 7 miles from us.

Clay Pigeon ShootingCotswoldShootingGround

If you are looking for something different to try, how about Clay Pigeon Shooting in the beautiful countryside in the Cotswolds? Cotswold Shooting Ground offer one-on-one tuition or tuition for small groups for a fun new experience. The Cotswold Shooting Ground is just outside Broadway and this could be the ideal experience for you.

A new string to your bow

copyright Cotswold Archery

If you would like to add a new string to your bow, how about Archery? Cotswold Archery could help you hit the target with their qualified and experienced archer. For novices or the more experienced, you can have a fun few hours. If you have a small group, you could have a bit of a competition too! Based next door to Batsford Arboretum, Cotswold Archery are about 7 miles from us.

Please check all information and details before travelling.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast
Broadway, Cotswolds
For more information or to book online, visit: www.appletreebroadway.co.uk

Driving the Motoring Enthusiast

There are alot of events and places to visit near Broadway, Cotswolds, for motoring enthusiasts, so here are a few:

British Motor Museum, GaydonGaydon01

Displays of British cars from the mini to Rolls Royce encompassing the early 1900s to the present day. As well as the main museum, there is a Collections Centre which is the cars they haven’t got room for in the Museum but is a huge collection well worth seeing. Join the tours for additional information.

About 45 minutes from Apple Tree B&B.

Classic Vehicles DayVintage car show 2015

Being held on Sunday 9th June 2019 and Sunday 8th September, these Classic Vehicle Days are held at Toddington Railway Station car park. The June event is car clubs and the September one is individual owners, all proudly displaying their lovingly looked after vehicles.

About 10 minutes from Apple Tree B&B.

Prescott Visitor Centre, The Bugatti TrustBugattiTrust

Based at Prescott Hill Climb in Gotherington the Trust promotes the work of Ettore Bugatti. Many examples of his work are on display.

About 20 minutes from Apple Tree B&B.

Broadway car show

The Broadway Car Show will be held on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July 2019 with the Saturday devoted to modern supercars and the Sunday devoted to classic cars. Supercars will include the Cotswold Ferrari Owners Club, Bentleys, Morgans, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins.

Morgan Factory ToursMorganMotorCar

The Morgan Factory is located in Malvern and you can take a guided tour of the factory to see the skilled craftsmen working on the bespoke car.

About 45 minutes from Apple Tree B&B.


So if you’re a motoring enthusiast looking to indulge your love of the motor vehicle, the Cotswolds is the place for you! If you and motor-loving friend want a few days indulging your passion, we have twin rooms available in addition to double, king size and single.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast
Broadway, Cotswolds
For more information or to book online, visit: www.appletreebroadway.co.uk

Learn something new in the Cotswolds

There are some wonderful training courses available in this area of the Cotswolds so I thought I would pull together a few as a sample of what is available.

Little Soap Schoolbespoke-soap

The Little Soap School runs day courses in the art of making soap. There are a few different courses including soap making and an introduction to making natural creams and balms. We have had a few guests attending the soap making course and they came back with a box of all the gorgeously scented soaps they had made during the day and full of enthusiasm for what they could do with their newly learned skill. Based in Broadway.

Honeybourne Pottery

Honeybourne Pottery have a range of ceramics for sale but more importantly you can have a go yourself. You could try making a pot on the potters’ wheel or model your own masterpiece at the table. Based in Honeybourne, about 2 miles from Broadway.

Stonemasonry courses

Stonemason and carver, Simon Brittain, runs taster courses for those who want a try at the historic craft of stone masonry. No previous experience is required and every student leaves with a piece of Cotswold stone they have worked through the day with mallet and chisel. Whether you want something practical like a windowsill or have visions of sculpting, this could be the course for you. Based in Filkins, about 27 miles from Broadway.

School of Millineryhat2

Ever fancied trying hat making? Courses are for beginners and the experienced in the art of Traditional Couture Millinery. There are a selection of 2 and 3 day courses available throughout the year whether you want to try making a fascinator, tiara, beret, pillbox or tiny top hats, there is lots of choice. Based in Badsey, about 4 miles from Broadway.

Steaming into the future in Broadway

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

There’s nothing more emotive than seeing a steam train puffing its way through the countryside and soon we will be seeing the trains pull into Broadway.

Broadway station is re-opening on 30th March 2018 – Good Friday – and the station is coming together fast.

Broadway station was opened in 1904 with the line running from Honeybourne to Broadway. The line was gradually extended and reached Cheltenham in 1906. The railway flourished until the 1950s when passenger numbers started to decline and Broadway station was closed to passengers in March 1960. The station buildings were

Broadway Station under construction
Broadway Station under construction

demolished by British Rail in 1963 with the goods yard closing in 1964. The railway line was occasionally used up to 1976 when a coal train derailed near Winchcombe causing significant damage to the track and in 1979 the track itself was removed.


Even before the track had been lifted, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) was formed to try to protect the line and by 1981 – only 2 years after it was lifted – the GWR started relaying the track!

Broadway Station under construction
Broadway Station under construction

Volunteers from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) have been painstakingly rebuilding Broadway station and restoring it to its former glory. The work has included rebuilding the station’s two platforms and signal box together with the footbridge over the railway and a ticket office. Laying of the track is continuing with the track now within sight of Broadway station to join the station up with the existing line which runs through Toddington and Winchcombe down to Cheltenham Racecourse. The railway line is 13 miles long running through the spectacular Cotswolds English countryside.


The GWR have been very busy and it is all volunteer run with a dedicated team working two days a week at the site on Station Road, Broadway.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

The railway currently runs both steam and diesel trains. In addition to enjoying the ride on the train, there are ‘driver experience days’ where you can learn how to drive a steam locomotive or diesel – a great idea for a special birthday maybe! There are also regular events such as diesel weekends, ‘Wartime in the Cotswolds’ and of course special events for Halloween and Christmas. Various events are also held in their car park at Toddington including Bus Rallies and Classic Vehicles, together with Food & Drink Fayres. The yard buildings at Toddington can also be visited to see the locomotives under restoration.

So start planning to take a ride on the train from Broadway station in Spring 2018. Or if you can’t wait that long, you can pop down to Toddington to join the railway there and enjoy the ride back up towards Broadway before journeying down to Cheltenham Racecourse.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.

A beautiful blue haze

Cotswold Lavender

Cotswold Lavender is a lavender farm and because it is a farm, there are fields and fields of lavender giving a blue haze in the Summer sunshine and giving off a wonderful perfume as you brush past walking through the avenues of lavender – it is an amazing sight.

Guests often ask about Cotswold Lavender and we are left to give them the disappointing news they are out of season. So now is a good time to check your calendar and book in for when the lavender fields are open to visitors.

Cotswold Lavender usually opens about 10th June and they close about 6th August. These are “about” times so don’t take it too literally.

Cotswold Lavender

If you haven’t heard of Cotswold Lavender, what’s the attraction? It is a lavender farm which means they grow lavender as a commercial crop. At the right time, the lavender is harvested and is used to make a vast array of lavender products from the obvious dried lavender bags to pop into a drawer to make it smell nice, to soaps and cosmetics, and even culinary uses such as lavender sugar to bake cakes.

There are beds of different lavender varieties when you first go in showing the different sizes, leaf colour and flower colour, and then you enter the main lavender fields.

So when is the best time to visit?  Whilst it opens around 10th June, the lavender probably won’t be in full flower at that time, so I’d be inclined to leave it a little longer and suggest July would be the best time to visit. Towards the end of July, the lavender will start to be harvested so the more distant fields will lose their impact, but you get the opportunity to visit the distillery sheds when they are in action. The lavender has to be distilled the same day it is cut and the end product is lavender oil.

Once you’ve visit the lavender fields, have a browse in the shop and maybe a cup of tea in the café with a piece of lavender cake or a lavender scone!

For more information: www.cotswoldlavender.co.uk/ .

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.

Venice of the Cotswolds

A trip out to Bourton-on-the-Water today. Bourton is about 7 miles from Broadway and is another pretty Cotswold village with the typical Cotswold honey-coloured stone buildings. The River Windrush runs down the main road which is where it gets its nickname of Venice of the Cotswolds.


One of the quirky things about Bourton is that every year they have a football game in the river! Lots of fun and the competitors get very wet, and some of the audience too.

Apart from the village itself, Bourton has quite a few attractions including:

  • Cotswold Motor Museum and toy shop
  • Model village – a one-ninth scale model of Bourton itself
  • Birdland Park and Garden
  • Maze – A half mile maze with 14 clues on the way. Answer them correctly to find the Golden Dragonfly in the centre of the maze.
  • The Cotswold Brewing Company – Brewery tours and sales
  • Cotswold Perfumery – Factory tours, courses and of course a shop.

Model Village, Bourton on the Water
Model Village, Bourton on the Water

I’ve been to model villages before but the Model Village in Bourton is excellent. The model is of Bourton itself so it would make a great starting point when you get to Bourton as you can see all of the village and decide which bits to go find. There are some interesting courtyards and hidden roads which are well worth exploring.

Back to the Model Village. The buildings are made of (or seems to be) the same honey-coloured stone, there are curtains in the windows and the churches have cut-outs so you can see what is going on inside; there was a church choir singing in one. The detail is amazing with the gardens kept to scale.

Snowy Owl, Birdland Park & Garden, Bourton on the Water
Snowy Owl, Birdland Park & Garden, Bourton on the Water

Totally different is Birdland – not surprisingly, it is a collection of birds. There are various types of (what I’d call) parrots, flamingoes, some beautiful owls, penguins and lots of other birds. There are events at various times of day such as Meet the Keeper, and Feeding the Penguins.

Bourton-on-the-Water makes an excellent trip with lots to see and do, and plenty of cafes for lunch – I’d recommend the Bakery by the Motor Museum.


Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.


Cotswold villages – Ebrington

Inspired by Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages, I thought I would start an occasional series about the less well-known villages local to Broadway.

Thatched cottages in the village of Ebrington, Cotswolds

Penelope Keith visited The Cotswolds in Series 3, Episode 1, and one of the villages she visited was Ebrington, so that is where I am going to start.

Ebrington is about 7 miles from Broadway, so a nice easy hop in the car. We found a spot to park on the main road and then went exploring. The quiet little village roads have cottages of traditional Cotswold honey-coloured stone and we were surprised how many thatched buildings there were.

Its interesting to look a little closer at the thatch. You get a bird or animal in thatch on the top sometimes but you can also see the different stages of the thatch if you look underneath. A thatched roof can last anywhere from 10 to 40 years depending on the material used but often after 10-15 years maintenance is required. Sometimes just the ridge (the top-most part) is refurbished or sometimes the top layer is replaced, so by looking underneath the eaves you can see the old and new thatch. If you see a thatcher at work, it is fascinating to see the craftsmanship in thatching a roof.

St Eadburgha Church, Ebrington, Cotswolds

Ebrington, together with most other villages, has a lovely church – there’s is called St Eadburgha which brings a link to Broadway as Broadway’s old church is called St Eadburgha as well.

This photo shows 2 panels with rather curious inscriptions from the Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians! Not sure I agree with the “Wife” version but they are certainly interesting.

The text reads:
“Wives submit yourselves unto your own Husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of ye church and he is the Saviour of the bodie. Therefore as ye Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

St Eadburgha's Church, Ebrington, Cotswolds

The Husband version reads:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved ye church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctifie and cleanse it with the washing of water; by the word: that he might present it to him self (a) glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that ye should be holie and without blemish.”

There are a number is interesting inscriptions and features in the church so take your time to have a look around, and hopefully you will have enough time to just sit for a little while and enjoy the peace and serenity in the church.

The Ebrington Arms, Ebrington, Cotswolds

Coming outside again, it is probably time for lunch, tea or maybe just a coffee. The Ebrington Arms must be calling …

Article written by Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast
Apple Tree B&B is approximately 7 miles from Ebrington and makes and excellent base to explore the Cotswolds.

Photos: Copyright Apple Tree B&B

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.