Never Too Soon to Plan! (Part 2)
Broadway as a Touring Base - What to See and Do in 2023
Broadway is well-loved as one of ‘the’ Cotswold places to enjoy a weekend - and many of our guests don’t venture much further than the High Street and Broadway Tower (especially once they’ve discovered the log fire in the bar!). That said, longer midweek stays - or a break in one of our holiday cottages are an opportunity to explore a little further afield. Did you know, for example that the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon Avon is only forty minutes away by car?
With that in mind, this blog offers you a guide to what lies just a little further beyond our doorstep. Perfect days out if you’re heading to explore in the car after one of our delicious Broadway breakfasts.
All of these attractions are under an hour away by car.
We may as well begin with one of the biggest attractions in the country. Warwick Castle has over a thousand years of history and is an impressive fortress. It’s run on a commercial basis, so it’s not a cheap visit, but they do throw everything into it, with gardens, ambitious permanent exhibitions and entertainment. Expect to see falconry, jousting or archery, plus random surprises such as the odd medieval rat-catcher wandering about. Given all that, a visit to Warwick Castle can take up to a full day.
Top Tip: Look around for discounted entrance fee offers and definitely buy your tickets in advance to save £15 a ticket. Take a picnic.
This was one of our ‘finds’ last year. Heading away from the Cotswolds towards Kidderminster, you drive through picturesque farmland and past black and white timbered houses deep in the Worcestershire countryside. Harvington Hall is one of the most remarkable historic houses in Britain, a moated Elizabethan mansion, with no fewer than 7 ‘priest holes’ - hiding places for Catholic priests. A fascinating place with an incredible story.
Top Tip: Book the guided tour. You have little chance of finding the hiding places on your own!
The RSC’s 2023 season includes The Tempest, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and Macbeth. There’s also the world premiere of a play based on Maggie O’Farrell’s best-selling novel Hamnet. This looks set to be a hot ticket in 2023.
Top Tip: If you decide to go to the RSC at the last minute and you haven’t booked, they have one of the most civilised returns systems in the theatre world. You take a seat by the box office desk and you’re called up if and when tickets are returned. Somehow it always seems to work, if you don’t mind waiting for half an hour or so.
Blenheim Palace was conceived as a statement, a monumental structure to commemorate British victory at the battle of Blenheim. Everything here is on an epic scale, except perhaps for the small side room where Winston Churchill was born in 1874. The house is impressive, the gardens are grand and you can take long walks on the Capability Brown landscaped estate. There are exhibitions and events included as part of the visit (check website for details at the time of your visit) and there is also an ambitious series of one off events such as classical concerts, car rallies and live concerts (2023’s plans include Pete Tong and Lionel Richie)
Top Tip: Blenheim Palace borders a lively and pretty small town called ‘Woodstock’, which is also worth exploring.
Cirencester and Tetbury
A good option for antiques lovers.
The drive to Tetbury is just about an hour from Broadway, but you can opt to stop off at villages such as Bourton on the Water and Bibury. Cirencester is the so called ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’ - a busy place that always seems to have one or two markets running. There’s a good antiques centre and the Corinium Museum, which punches well above its weight in telling the story of Roman Gloucestershire. You could also visit Chedworth Roman Villa on the way, for its spectacular mosaics.
Tetbury offers an experience of the ‘Royal Cotswolds’, the association is strong because of King Charles’s nearby Highgrove House estate (book well ahead if you’d like to take a tour of the grounds at Highgrove). There are plenty of specialist, high quality antique shops in this small but quirky little town.
Top Tip: Tetbury’s charity shops have a reputation for being a ‘cut above’ - certainly it’s the only place where we’ve seen second hand polo mallets for sale.
The Rollright Stones and Celeb Cotswold Farm Shops
The Rollright Stones have one of the oddest legends in the Cotswolds, a story of a witch and a king turned to stone and whispering knights. Certainly, it’s an atmospheric group of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. They’re near Chipping Norton, with its antique shops and foodie outlets. You might stop off here on the way to Blenheim Palace, or make a special visit and mix things up by returning via Daylesford Farm Shop, to see the ‘posh’ Cotswolds at its people-watching best. Another option is Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm Shop, which has seen queues to get in since the TV series made it famous.
Top Tip: For a more complete understanding of farming in the Cotswolds, try the Cotswold Farm Park, run by BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson.
The Malvern Hills
If you’re fond of hilly walks. you’re spoiled for choice in Broadway. Head west to the Cotswolds or head east to the Malvern Hills to explore towns such as Ledbury (a bustly little market town) and Malvern itself, with its Elgar associations. Start with a bracing walk around British Camp (an Iron Age Fort) to Swinyard Hill https://www.visitthemalverns.org/walk/british-camp-swinyard-hill/. It’s a land of hope and glory indeed, especially for dogs!
Top Tip: Seek out Church Lane in Ledbury, surely one of the most photogenic streets in England.
Cheltenham and Gloucester
Just south of Broadway it’s easy to visit Cheltenham and Gloucester on the same day’s itinerary. Cheltenham has elegant shops and restaurants and a thriving festivals (jazz, music, literature, horse racing, comedy and science) scene. Head to Gloucester for its Cathedral, Docks and outlet shopping.
Top Tips: The cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral were a location for many of the Harry Potter films.
If we’ve convinced you that you’ll need more than just a weekend to explore the area around Broadway, you can find details of the latest offers on our website. We have a very handy three night Cotswolds Mini Break offer there. You can find details of our luxury holiday cottages there as well.