13 Affordable Trips to Europe
The country villages and rolling farmland of the Cotswolds are just a two-hour drive from central London or a two-hour train ride from Paddington Station. The area’s upmarket mix of designer boutiques, quaint cottages, and exceptional restaurants attracts weekenders who want an easy-to-reach rural retreat.
From Cheltenham to Bledington
Day 1 The Cotswolds region is small enough to make any town your base, but because trains arrive in Cheltenham every half-hour, it’s the perfect starting point. (Buy your train ticket online at nationalrail.co.uk before arriving in England, and pay $72 less for your trip north. Keep in mind the deal is invalid if you pick the ticket up at the station, so be sure to arrange to have it sent to your hotel.) Style-conscious urbanites will love the Big Sleep, an alternative to pricier spots like the Cotswold House and Cowley Manor. The rooms have whimsical accents such as Panton chairs and Orla Kiely patterned wallpaper. Take the afternoon to drive west, past the pretty village of Bibury, to check out the Village Pub, a B&B that doubles as a gastropub and is adorned with a mishmash of old wooden chairs and large Oriental rugs. It’s laid-back and understated, except for the food: expect imaginative dishes such as grilled John Dory with braised octopus, chickpeas, tomato, and oregano.
Days 2–3 Head southwest to the market town of Tetbury and check into the family-friendly Priory Inn, with modern touches, like simple American black walnut desks, in its 14 mocha-hued rooms. A few steps away, Michael and Sarah Bedford run the no-frills Chef’s Table. From its op