Country Christmas in the Cotswolds

The Old Schoolhouse in Hampnett, England (The Cotswolds) ©NativeGypsies

Have you seen the movie The Holiday? Cameron Diaz does a house swap with Kate Winslet and spends her holiday in an English countryside stone cottage. When I told my brother- and sister-in-law we were looking for somewhere to visit during the Christmas season, they set the scene for a perfect holiday in the Cotswolds (just like the movie). I found a picturesque cottage on Airbnb, and as Cameron Diaz asks in the movie, my first thought was “when can I come?”

While I didn’t have a Hollywood filmmaker to take around with me, I can give you a photo tour of the English countryside so you can fall in love with the region along with us.

Welcome to England

A photo posted by Native Gypsies (@nativgypsies) on

Our first stop on the trip was our Airbnb rental, a stone cottage on the edge of the village of Hampnett. You know you’re in the country when the directions call for you to turn at the driveway with the cattle grid! 

The Old Schoolhouse, our rental, made our experience in the Cotswolds complete. I knew I wouldn’t want to leave the moment we stepped inside!

The Old Schoolhouse Airbnb in Hampnett (The Cotswolds) England

The mornings were filled with billowing fog, which we took advantage of as we strolled through the meadow near The Old Schoolhouse.

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After our morning walk in nature, it was time to see the sites!


Bordering the Cotswolds to the north is Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare land! William Shakespeare was born, married and buried in Stratford-upon-Avon. It took me back to high school Shakespeare class with Mrs. Alleven! I’m hopeful some of Shakespeare’s creative energy passed along to us as we explored the city he lived in over 400 years ago!

Shakespeare's grave at Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare’s grave at Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon ©NativeGypsies

At Royal Shakespeare Company, I played dress-up in the cloakroom.

The Royal Shakespeare Company - Stratford-upon-Avon
Brooke @ Royal Shakespeare Company cloakroom

Broadway Tower

If you have more time, one place I wish we could have seen Broadway Tower! Next time, and there will be a next time;)


Heading south into the Cotswolds, we discovered Stow-on-the-Wold was an ideal stop for restaurants, boutique store shopping and the most enchanting church door!

St. Edward's Church in Stow-on-the-Wold
St. Edward’s Church in Stow-on-the-Wold ©NativeGypsies

The Slaughters

Don’t let the unwelcoming name deceive you. Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter were one of the highlights of our trip! These tiny connected villages were incredibly charming. We walked the canal-lined streets, with everyone we passed greeting us with a hello or a friendly word.

Lower Slaughter Old Mill - Cotswold England - Native Gypsies
Lower Slaughter Old Mill – Cotswold, England – ©NativeGypsies

Each stone cottage featured a name placard by the door announcing the property or inhabitant’s name. My husband and I picked out plenty of cottages we’d love to have our name on!

Lower Slaughter in the Cotswalds, England - NativeGypsies
Lower Slaughter in the Cotswalds, England – ©NativeGypsies

There’s a walking and bike bath on the canal connecting the Slaughter’s to Bourton-on-the-Water, for the full rural countryside experience.


Visit a tea house when in Bourton-on-the-Water, and walk the “Venice of the Cotswolds”. The canal comes complete with a “floating” Christmas tree.

Bourton-on-the-Water floating Christmas tree ©NativeGypsies

The phone booth door, made of cast iron, was much heavier than in my imagination.

Traditional English cast iron telephone booth at Bourton-on-the-Water ©NativeGypsies

We didn’t see Harry Potter in it, however the nearby Gloucester Cathedral was used for various film scenes in the first three movies!


While our cottage rental was in the country, the nearest larger city to us was Cheltenham. We spent each evening in the city, trying out a few of the many amazing restaurants the “food capital of the Cotswolds” has to offer. In addition to the food, my two favorite things in Cheltenham were the healing natural spring water (the city has been known as a spa town for hundreds of years), and discovering that they have one of few Whole Foods outside of the U.S.! If you come to town, bring a bottle to the Pittville Pump Room to try the healing water and visit the Chapel Spa for an Arabian Rasul treatment for two. I booked us an appointment, and my skin felt so smooth and refreshed after!

Whole Foods - Boots - The Natural Foods Company in Cheltenham, England (The Cotswolds) NativeGypsies
Whole Foods, Boots and The Natural Foods Company in Cheltenham, England (The Cotswolds) ©NativeGypsies

Anytime we weren’t visiting quiet villages and eating our way through the Cotswolds, we were relaxing (technology unplugged) at The Old Schoolhouse.

The Old Schoolhouse in Hampnett, England (Cotswolds) ©NativeGypsies

We cooked breakfast in the fully equipped kitchen and enjoyed our playful walks in the meadow.

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Piano music filled the cottage.

The Old Schoolhouse - Airbnb - Hampnett - Cotswolds - England - native gypsies
The Old Schoolhouse in Hampnett, England (The Cotswolds) ©NativeGypsies

There were games.

Scrabble Native Gypsies
Scrabble ©NativeGypsies

And plenty of cozy fires!


A photo posted by Native Gypsies (@nativgypsies) on

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas season from the Cotswolds!

The Old Schoolhouse in Hampnett, England (Cotswolds) Native Gypsies
cozy fireplace at our country cottage (The Old Schoolhouse) in the Cotswolds ©NativeGypsies

If you haven’t been to the area and are planning a trip to England, it’s just a hop, skip and a Cotswolds stone’s throw from London. I give it the Native Gypsies stamp of approval.

Have you visited the Cotswolds? Tell us what stops were your most unforgettable!

Christmas in the Cotswolds - Lower Slaughter - Native Gypsies
Christmas in the Cotwolds – ©Native Gypsies





About Brooke ↞ Farm girl with a gypsy heart. Life-long obsession for junking and all things vintage. Working on on being a wife & mama, our next travel adventure, enjoying the little moments, colorful salads and a healthy earth. ↠ Read About BrookeRead more posts by Brooke

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2 comments on “Country Christmas in the Cotswolds

  1. Carla Porter
    December 19, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you! You helped me get in the Christmas mood. The photos are beautiful

    • Brooke
      December 22, 2016 at 12:11 am

      Thank you Carla! Cheers, and Merry Christmas to you.

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