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The Most Relaxing Holiday Destination

This post was first published in the May 2022 issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News, prompted by news headlines about numerous flight cancellations, but sadly a month later chaotic travel is still very much in the news!

Every year at the start of the holiday season, there is a sudden outburst of news reports of chaos at airports and ferry ports and on roads. This year, the disruption seems worse than ever as the travel industry struggles to scale up its operations after two long years in which venturing beyond the village seemed like a major excursion.

These scaremongering reports are enough to put anyone off travelling this spring, especially when so many people are returning from crowded travel hubs with the unwanted souvenir of Covid.

So here’s an alternative approach. This holiday season, why not spend your vacation in a delightful Cotswold location of which I’m very fond?

picture of cows in field
The natives are pretty friendly too

With a fresh climate nurtured by its relative elevation, it offers stunning views across rolling hills and vales. Situated on a famous national trail and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it provides a range of invigorating or gentle walks to suit all levels of physical fitness. Anyone seeking more strenuous physical activity may hire the local tennis courts at a very reasonable rate or, as a useful alternative in inclement weather, the village hall for badminton.

photo of Cotswold Way section
The section of the Cotswold Way that runs beside the village is affectionately called by locals The Yellow Brick Road

Two local pubs and a well-stocked village shop give you the choice of dining out or self-catering. And what could be more relaxing than a summer afternoon picnicking on local produce at the village cricket ground, to the sound of leather on willow?

For younger visitors, the newly upgraded and expanded playpark, complete with zipwire, provides ample entertainment, while the skatepark and basketball court will please teens.

Those who prefer to relax in a more sedentary manner may pick up as many books as they care to read, completely free of charge, from the Books on the Bus box in the bus shelter, or from the Post Cottage Little Free Library on France Lane. Available to buy from the village shop are new books by the many local authors – it’s a famously creative village. These books make great souvenirs, as do the local crafts, honey, attractively packaged sweets and home-made baked goods on sale there.

photo of Matilda scarecrow with Little Free Library
Matilda loves my Little Free Library!

All these appealing holiday facilities are available to you right now, without fear of queues or cancellations, and with zero environmental impact. The closest you are likely to find to a traffic jam is having to slow down for tractors or horses.

Welcome to Hawkesbury Upton. Just open your door and you’re there. We wish you a very happy holiday.

photo of gate opening up onto fields
The start of a whole new Cotswold adventure…


HULF Talk on Holiday Reads

Whether or not you are travelling abroad yourself this summer, if you live in or near the Cotswolds, you might like to come along to join me at the HULF Talk on Holiday Reads – the  occasional series of Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival talks featuring three guest authors speaking on a particular topic.

This time we’ll be talking about novels set all over the world by:

  • Carol Cooper, a medical doctor and journalist whose touching family mystery The Girls from Alexandria is set in the Egyptian city in which she grew up
  • Kate Frost, whose latest romantic escape novel One Greek Summer is currently #25 in the Kindle UK chart, with An Italian Dream launching in July
  • Helena Halme, a Finnish author of Nordic thrillers and romantic sagas such as The Red King of Helsinki and her Love on the Island series

Chairing the discussion, I will also be flying the flag for the Cotswolds, although I’ll also talk a bit about my sixth Sophie Sayers novel, Murder Your Darlings, set on a tiny fictitious island off the coast of Ithaca.

We’ll talk about what makes a great holiday read, the joy of travelling through the pages of a good book, and the challenges of creating an effective sense of place in fiction. The authors will also share the stories behind their novels, offer glimpses into their writing lives, and give readings.

As always, tickets will cost just £5 each, and for that you get all the tea, coffee and cake you can consume, plus a £2 book voucher redeemable on the day. Refreshments this time will be on a holiday theme – we will have fun!

Book Your Tickets Here

Due to limited space at our delightful venue, the Bethesda Chapel in Park Street, Hawkesbury Upton GL9 1BA, please book your ticket in advance via Eventbrite here:

graphic advertising HULF Talk




English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

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