I woke up in a room at the College Arms – an inn once owned by Henry VIII. The quaint rooms are nestled above a full service pub; of which I learned is typical of British Inns.
As a traveler, of course, my first stay was at an English pub. Immediately I noticed the history of hosting travelers offering food and rooms – at a price of course. And here is where one would typically find the traditional British food: pies, puds and chips. (I’ll get to these later.)
The night before – my first night – I dined on steak and ale pie: delicious cubed beef stewed in an ale-induced gravy, topped with a savory pie crust; accompanied by fresh peas and potatoes. (Forgive me. I forgot to photograph this one. But here’s a recipe to help you see what it was.) Speaking of ale, I washed the pie down with a smooth pint of London Pride – served via my new favorite method: cask-conditioned.
Note: Cask-conditioned ale is unfiltered beer pumped from a cask without the use of carbon pressure typically used via draft. This is a staple of British pubs and making its way to American craft beer establishments.
Our goal on this day is to explore the villages of the Cotswolds – an area just north west of London, known for its rolling hills (the Cotswold hills) and quiet villages, including Statford-Upon-Avon – Shakespeare’s home. But first, I made my way to the downstairs dining hall to experience my first real English breakfast.
A deep orange-yellow farm fresh egg – sunny side up – sitting on delicious, not too fatty, bacon and a rich sausage. Included was a hash brown potato wedge and toast, which I shamelessly lathered in locally made golden-yellow butter. I don’t typically eat such a rich meal in the mornings, but had to try at least one English Breakfast on this trip.
After breakfast, we set off to explore the area, discovering houses/cottages with thatched roofs or houses made of Cotswold stone. We visited picturesque villages including Stow-On-The-Wold and Burton-On-The-Water. And we visited Charles Wade’s quirky collection of craftsmanship at Snowshill Manor.