The first stop of the day was the Hook Norton Brewery, locally known as Hooky. Since this was based in the village we were staying in, and Ben’s a huge craft beer fan, we knew we needed to visit, but it was only when we looked online that we discovered you could book tours in advance – it didn’t look too busy so we thought we’d pop in, have a look in the shop and see if we could join one of the tours that day. Unfortunately, it turned out that all the tours that day had been booked up (seemingly by coach parties or large groups, which is a shame as I’d have thought they might arrange private tours?!) so we couldn’t do that, but there was a visitor centre/museum area we had a quick look around before heading onwards.
Next stop was Bourton-on-the-Water. We’d called at Bourton-on-the-Water a couple of days previously and found it a lot quieter on that day, but it wasn’t as warm or sunny, so understandable. This town is known as the “Venice of the Cotswolds” thanks to the picturesque stone bridges criss-crossing the river Windrush through the centre of the village, and while it’s certainly pretty, I wouldn’t say it’s all that comparable! We spent an hour or so here, wandering the touristy shops, getting an ice cream and grabbing some lunch – at a place that seemingly doesn’t exist now I’m trying to find the name of it?! Google Maps shows a building under construction, and apparently it used to be a fish and chip takeaway that closed in 2016 according to Trip Advisor – it was very pretty with a lovely outdoor seating area overlooking the river and the food was tasty – I had a halloumi burger with sweet potato fries. If anyone has any idea what it’s called, please let me know!
So when I said that we’d planned a few Father Brown themed activities and places to visit, I wasn’t lying – this is the final place we visited (but wasn’t the final place on the list – we just didn’t get round to them all!): Chastleton House. See my posts on the railway used in Father Brown here, and the church and village used in filming here. Chastleton House isn’t a frequently used location like Blockley and Winchcombe station, but has been used as the home of the Pryde family. It’s currently owned by the National Trust, so most likely would have made our potential visits list anyway had it not been used in Father Brown.
Although it dates back to 1602, the house has been preserved in its more recent state which is unusual for a property owned by the National Trust. For over 400 years, the house has been owned by the same family and has fallen into an increasingly impoverished and derelict state. When the last owner left in 1991, she and her 15 cats had lived there alone for many years among the clutter of life and havoc the cats had wreaked on the place. As such, areas such as the roof have been fixed by the National Trust, but they’ve kept everything else in the state it was in rather than returning it to its former glory. It was a fascinating look at what can happen to houses like this that aren’t preserved in their original states due to neglect or lack of financial aid – something many families who own properties like these struggle with as the money filters down through the family and slowly disappears over hundreds of years.
The interior of the house can’t really be described as beautiful any more, however the exterior and gardens were beautiful. It has a Jacobean layout that divides areas by their specific use, with lawned spaces used for croquet, the kitchen garden, topiary, bee-keeping and more, but it’s surrounded by woodland and has areas described as “secret gardens”. I really enjoyed wandering these areas in the warm sunshine and would say it was one of my favourite garden areas to explore lately, even though it was quite small.
This brings us towards the end of our minimoon stay, but I have one more post coming up reviewing our meal on this final evening and I’ve got some more pictures of the outfit featured in this post too so I’ll share those, then we can get started on the main honeymoon we’ve just returned from!