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Broadway (England)

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Cotswolds : Broadway
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a charming Broadway house

Broadway is a well-known and much visited Cotswolds region village in the English county of Worcestershire. Often referred to as the "Jewel of the Cotswolds" and the "Show Village of England" because of it's archetypal rural beauty, the 'Broad Way' leads from the foot of the western Cotwolds escarpement along a wide grass-fringed street lined with ancient honey-coloured limestone buildings, many dating back to the 16th century. Broadway makes an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding countryside, including the rest of the Cotswolds region, for which the village forms the northern gateway.

Despite Broadway's status as a major tourist destination, it is considered more up-market than the nearby Bourton-on-the-Water, and rarely seems excessively crowded. If you take a car, though, you will need to be either patient or selective about your car park on busy days, particularly summer weekends and bank holidays.

Understand

Broadway became a busy staging post on the route from Worcester to London as coaches had to harness extra horses for the long pull up nearby Fish Hill. As many as 40 travellers' inns once existed within the village to service those passing through, a few of which are still in use today.

Broadway has been home to a large number of prominent English artists and composers, including Sir Edward Elgar, John Singer Sargent, J.M. Barrie, Vaughan Williams and Arts and Crafts artist and writer William Morris.

Like many Cotswold villages, Broadway became prosperous from the wool trade, and much of its charm comes from its large number of luxurious old limestone houses.

Get in

  • Broadway is a major tourist destination and private chartered coach trips are run by a vast number of companies from most major cities, including London and Birmingham, plus other nearby tourist hotspots such as Stratford-upon-Avon. You are likely to find yourself sharing the coach with either the elderly or Japanese tourists, both groups of whom tend to be chatty and great fun.
  • Castleways Coaches[1] run bus service 606 from Cheltenham, and service 559 from Evesham.
  • There are several well-signposted car parks around the village. On busy days (notably bank holidays and summer weekends) the one where you are most likely to find a space, the largest car park, is on Leamington Road, near the village library. This has a somewhat unusual entrance; you drive under a bridge formed by two adjoining apartment buildings. The nearest postcode (for SatNav) is WR12 7DZ.
  • Nearest mainline railway stations are Evesham and Honeybourne, both on the Cotswold line with direct services to Worcester, Oxford and London at least every two hours from approximately 6am until 10pm. Honeybourne is a minor unmanned stop and you should not expect to get a taxi from there, but it makes a good place to start cycling or hiking from, with relatively few steep hills on the way. Moreton-in-Marsh has a mainline railway station on the same Cotswold line, but has no direct bus service to Broadway and is at the other extreme of the very steep Cotswold Ridge range of hills - fine to cycle from, but requiring Herculean muscles to cycle to.
  • Take the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway[2] from Cheltenham Racecourse to Toddington, 5 miles south, then cycle along the B4632, walk along the Cotswold Way[3] national long-distance footpath or take a taxi (there are several taxi firms in Winchcombe). Note that this private steam railway does not connect to the mainline railway network, but you can use the Stagecoach[4] Racecourse Park and Ride bus D to get between Cheltenham Racecourse and Cheltenham railway station. The steam railway and Park and Ride services are at opposite ends of this very large racecourse, so allow 20 minutes to walk between the two.
  • From the B4632 or A44 roads, hitch-hike. Locals are very friendly, if a bit posh, and generally will give lifts to stranded people, although you may find yourself sharing the back of an agricultural 4x4 or a beaten-up Volvo with dogs and muddy wellington boots.
  • The B4632 road south of Broadway was subject to flooding in July 2007 when large areas of Gloucestershire were also flooded.

Get around

Broadway is a relatively compact village, flat and easy to walk around. None of the car parks are more than a ten minute walk into the centre, and the buses stop right along High Street.

The main shops, hotels, pubs and cafes are mostly easily found off High Street, around the village green and war memorial. However when walking from there, along High Street, it is a common mistake to think that the shops end at the The Horse & Hound pub. It is well worth walking five minutes further north along High Street to find a few more quaint little shops around the Leamington Road junction.

See

Broadway Tower
  • Broadway Tower - built on an ancient beacon site atop Fish Hill, this was a favourite retreat of the Victorian designer William Morris. On a clear day, the view from the Tower encompasses as many as 13 counties. Public footpaths run around, and up to, the tower. Entry to the tower is around £4, includes a small William Morris exhibition and access to all levels including the roof. Unsurprisingly, wheelchair access is not practical due to spiral stairs. There is a ticket desk and small souvenir shop on the ground floor. There is also a cafe and car-park nearby. Car access via the A44 Fish Hill.

Do

  • The Cotswold Way long distance footpath makes for a lovely short walk or challenging hike. Check the weather before setting off on longer sections.
  • Gordon Russell Heritage Centre, Russell Square, [5]. Display of furniture tracing the entire history of the Company, supported by photographs, graphics, Company records and related artefacts. The exhibition also features personal recollections of the people - craftsmen, designers, salesmen - who , inspired by Sir Gordon, contributed to the success and enduring reputation of the Company.


Buy

  • Nearby Broadway Tower was a country retreat of Victorian designer William Morris, and many shops sell both practical and souvenir items with Morris' distinctive floral designs.
  • There are a number of fine art dealers in the village, notably paintings and furniture. If you need to ask the price, you can't afford it.

Eat

Broadway is extremely well served for pubs, restaurants and cafes, far too numerous to mention them all.


  • The Lygon Arms [6], tel +44 (0)1386 852255, fax +44 (0)1386 854470, mailto:info@thelygonarms.co.uk - this impressive hotel is the centrepiece of the village. The Great Hall at the Lygon Arms forms a stylish dining hall for the hotel's restaurant. Chef Martin Blunos was awarded a Michelin star in January 2005. As well as the main restaurant, the hotel has a brasserie which provides a more affordable, but still excellent, menu.
  • The Broadway Hotel [7] - excellent restaurant with food comparable in quality to the Lygon Arms, with some great set-menu deals. Also lovely beer garden to the front, overlooking the village green.
  • The Swan Inn - refurbished pub with good bar meals.
  • Russell's [8] - a relaxed place with fair prices.
  • Consider a road trip five miles south to Hailes Fruit Farm near Winchcombe, where they have an organic food shop and cafe with their own produce in season.
  • Locally-made ice-cream is sold from the back of a tricyle, near the village green, during the peak summer season and on most weekends.

It is worth noting that, in general, the service in Broadway restaurants, despite often being quite posh, is also extremely friendly. Do not be put off by the formality of the exterior of any restaurant, nor the starchiness of their staff uniforms. Broadway is not London. So long as you remove any muddy footwear, you will be welcomed in all venues.

Drink

  • The Crown and Trumpet Inn, Church Street. This local pub at the lower end of town provides typical English fare at affordable prices.


Sleep

  • the Lygon Arms [9], tel +44 (0)1386 852255, fax +44 (0)1386 854470, mailto:info@thelygonarms.co.uk - 69 rooms and suites in total, every suite and room having its own distinct character, individually decorated and furnished in traditional country-house style - many with fine antiques hundreds of years old.

Get out

  • Chipping Campden is another beautiful Cotswold village about six miles away, again with exclusive posh boutique shopping. By road it is easiest to drive up the A44 Fish Hill and then down the B4081 Conduit Hill. By bike, a flatter route is possible north through the B4632 Willersey and Weston-Sub-Edge and east along the B4035 Aston-Sub-Edge. A shorter pedestrian route is over the Cotswold Way long-distance footpath, but this can be very steep in sections and should not be attempted in cold or stormy weather.
  • Winchcombe is about 8 miles south on the B4632, another Cotswold village that also features a fortified manor house, Sudley Castle.





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