Sunday at Sudeley Castle

Sunday was my parents’ anniversary (42 years!), so in honor of that event, we decided to drive some of the “Romantic Road” that takes you through some of the most picturesque Cotswold towns. It would’ve been nice if my dad had been there to appreciate the romance of it with my mom, but alas! Anyway, the Romantic Road hadn’t been in our initial plans, but I am SO glad we did it! We got a really great overview of the Cotswolds from the drive, half of which we did in the morning, the other half in the afternoon. The scenery between villages was almost as beautiful as the villages themselves. I absolutely recommend doing the drive if you visit the Cotswolds.

We debated a bit about where to attend church on Sunday. The closest ward was one Evesham, just a 10-15 minute drive north. But since our plans for Sunday we’re to visit Sudeley Castle down further south, we decided on attending in Cheltenham. We made our way there via the Romantic Road and arrived a couple minutes late (scrap the unobtrusive entrance by the foreigners). I’m pretty sure nobody in the sacrament meeting could have been oblivious to our presence, since our boys made themselves known by shouting, toy-throwing, and running around like crazy people in the halls. Despite their rowdiness, people were so kind. In Utah, we are so accustomed to fluctuations in (generally-large) ward membership and visitors coming for things like baby blessings  that I think we often neglect to reach out to new faces. Anytime I’ve left Utah and attended church, I’m always approached by at least one ward member saying hello and asking about us. In Cheltenham, a number of people came up to us to welcome us. One woman was especially kind and even invited us to dinner, an invitation we sadly had to decline since our plans were already made (and I don’t know how grateful she would have been once she saw what dinner is like with our twins).  I left church feeling really grateful for the immediate network we have no matter where we go!

Our next stop was Sudeley Castle. Before heading in, we spent some time at the cool playground they have.

We saw a bit of the castle interior, but most our time was spent on the grounds for practical reasons (read: twins). Luckily the grounds are pretty spectacular! The photos I took there are definitely some of my top favorites from the whole trip thanks to the picturesque grounds. There are a couple different areas with ruins covered in greenery (an automatic win).

The Castle was built in the 1400s and exchanged hands many, many times. Henry VIII and one of his wives visited the castle, so there was an exhibit on Henry VIII there.

I could’ve spent many hours in the gardens. The combination of the well-manicured grounds, the ruins, and the castle itself was stunning. Hence the picture overload.

After Sudeley, we drove the rest of the Romantic Road as we made our way back north. The quintessentially English scenes were everything you could hope for.

We ended in Broadway where we went in search of an ancestral church. We went to the wrong church first but it was a pretty detour!

Afterward we found the one we wanted just a bit outside Broadway town (which is charming!). I really loved our experience at this church. I stayed outside with the boys while my mom went in (and found a memorial dedicated to our ancestor there!). But the boys made sure we explored all over the grounds, from the daffodil patch to the headstones to the dry stone wall with sheep and a beautiful view behind. People were also arriving for an evening service as we explored outside. I love seeing devoted, practicing people of faith. One elderly lady in particular was so interested in the drone Brandon was flying. She stuck around asking questions and watching it fly for a good 10 minutes.

Once we got back to Willersey, we chatted with our next door neighbors. That was an informative discussion! One of the men told us how much his cottage appraised at not too long ago—this is a small, old cottage in a lesser-known Cotswold village, mind you. £450,000. Mind-blowing! I can’t even imagine what a similar or a nicer cottage would cost in some of the more popular villages like Castle Combe or Bourton-on-the-Water.

He told us to go see the new lambs his brother was caring for on a nearby farm. Sadly, the guy was too tuckered out after a long day to stick around to show us the lambs, but we got to see more of our village, so it wasn’t a complete bust!

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