BROADWAY (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to explore Broadway, a village in the Cotswold hills of western England?
Broadway is known as the “show village” of England, but its tourist appeal bears no resemblance to the bright-lights “show biz” glamour of the New York theater district of the same name.
Britain’s Broadway is celebrated for its historic architecture and picturesque surroundings. Its quaint tree-lined High Street is flanked with honey-colored Cotswold stone buildings, many of which date from the 16th century. The village is still steeped in tradition and residents come out in large numbers to watch the annual Boxing Day hunt parade.
Over the years, Broadway has attracted many artists, including American painters Edwin Abbey and John Singer Sargent. It is notable for attracting members of the Arts and Crafts movement, which promoted pre-industrial handiwork in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement also influenced American architecture, interiors, and furnishings at that time.
Broadway is an access point for the Cotswold Way, a 164-km (102 mile) walking trail that runs between nearby Chipping Campden and Bath. Although walking in the surrounding hills can be strenuous, Broadway itself is relatively flat and easy to explore at an even pace.
3 p.m. - Visit the Broadway Tourist Information Center on Russell Square (closed in January) to get Alan Crawford’s book “Arts and Crafts Walks in Broadway and Chipping Campden” and a copy of the Broadway Finial Press footpath map by Barry Hill, useful for navigating within the village and beyond.
4 p.m. - Follow one of Crawford’s walking routes east along the High Street toward Court Farm, the 17th century home where American actress Mary Anderson raised her family after giving up her theater career and died in 1940. The guidebook provides historical details about the buildings along the way.
6:30 p.m. - Head west along the High Street to the Swan in Broadway pub for a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Eat in the dining room with its pale wooden beams and tables. Try the crispy duck, handmade burger or the sticky lemon and honey chicken among top treats from the menu.
10:00 a.m. - Stock up on picnic food at the Broadway Deli on the High Street. The trendy shop sells a wide variety of drinks, sandwiches, baked goods, fruit and vegetables.
10:30 a.m. - Trek uphill to Broadway Tower, the second highest point on the Cotswold Ridge, for magnificent views of villages and verdant fields for miles around. British artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, a key member of the Arts and Crafts movement, all spent time at the 18th-century folly. Pause at a bench for a picnic on the way and watch sheep graze in the surrounding fields.
1:30 p.m. - Relax with a pint of beer at the Horse and Hound Pub on the High Street.
3:00 p.m. - Tour the Gordon Russell Museum (closed in January) to see how Russell’s furniture evolved stylistically from Arts and Crafts and influenced 20th-century British design. The exhibition includes a chest of drawers made for David Lloyd George, who served as British prime minister from 1916 to 1922.
6:30 p.m. - Head to the 17th-century Crown & Trumpet on Church Street for a meal in a traditional pub environment.
10:00 a.m. - Eat a late breakfast at Small Talk Tea Shoppe and take away some picnic food.
11:00 a.m. - Set out on the footpath across from St. Michael and All Angels Church, built in 1840, on Church Street. Walk uphill across the fields and beyond the wood to Buckland and back.
1:00 p.m. - Stroll away from Broadway along Snowshill Road toward 11th-century St. Eadburgha’s Church. Use Crawford’s book to note historical details of houses and thatched cottages en route. Architects Charles Bateman, Guy Dawber and Guy Pemberton did late 19th- early 20th-century modernization work on many of the buildings.
2:15 p.m. - Relax over a drink in the small Jockey Bar in the 16th-century Broadway Hotel, owned by Cotswolds Inns and Hotels.
3:00 p.m. - Visit the Lygon Arms Hotel and have a proper English tea by the fireplace. The old coaching inn was built in the 16th century and bought by Gordon Russell’s family in 1904. Oliver Cromwell is said to have stayed there in 1651. The political and military leader is best known for his role in transforming England into a republican commonwealth in the 17th century.
Reporting by Julie Mollins; editing by Paul Casciato