With Woodstock as home base, we set off today to visit two gardens: Hidcote and Kiftsgate.
We started with Hidcote, where the chicktators had a great time, though I have to admit that part of the fun for them was only loosely related to the garden itself. For instance, after a wonderful lunch at the garden café (which had fresh produce from the garden –mmm), we found a lawn with croquet. You may not know this, but we come from a long line of croquet champions, at it was clear that girls have the family’s natural talent. Look at that form!
It was a close match, but Lydie, Cassie, and I all managed to finish in the top three.
Next, we went to a nearby pool. One of the garden personnel had told us earlier that there were newts living in the pool, so we naturally had to search for them.
They were small and well camouflaged, but after some careful searching we found some. We also found some interesting “ram’s horn” snails.
Our next stop in the garden was the tennis courts. You have to remember that gardens in the United Kingdom usually have a manor house to go with them, and the wealthy needed to have some fun, too, I suppose. There were some racquets and balls, so the chickadees and I had a quick game of mixed doubles.
But there was after all a garden to explore, too, so we set off.
Our gardening guide Giga told us that Hidcote is famous for creating separate “rooms” in the garden, each with a distinctive feel, and we enjoyed strolling the extremely-English paths.
After a quick swing by the gift shop (where we bought a heavy iron boot jack that may or may not make it back to the US), we set off to Kiftsgate, which is literally across the street from Hidcote. By this point, some of the children were starting to get a little silly.
Even Juda and Giga started having some trouble keeping one of their kids in line.
One of the things that we liked about Kiftsgate was that there was interesting art throughout the garden.
One part of the garden was a hedge-walled enclosure with a small island. Water pumped up the metal “stalks” in the water and gently dripped out. We spotted a couple of newts in the water, too!
We had enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the garden, but it was time to move on. We decided to drive through the Cotswolds a bit more, including a quick stopover in Chipping Camden. Eventually, we made it to the tiny village of Eastleach, which we had discovered weeks ago during one of our Cotswald walking excursions. (We like to take country walks.) Since then, we had been planning to return to Eastleach for “pie and a pint” night at the best pub in town, the Victoria. (It’s also the only pub in town.) Still, the food was great, the atmosphere charming, and the locals friendly.
It was a wonderful dinner to cap a fantastic day!