London is a fascinating and fast-moving metropolis, but sometimes it can get a bit draining. Getting away from the hustle and bustle is a great way to re-energize yourself and return to the big city with a little extra energy. Since the weekend is fast approaching (and there’s a few long holiday weekends coming up as well), it might be a good idea to start planning your day-trip getaway! Summer is here and the perfect place to get some fresh air and unwind is just a couple hours north-west of London: Moreton-in-Marsh.
You may be wondering what the big draw of Moreton-in-Marsh is. Well, it’s one of several quaint villages clustered together. Since the weather is getting nice these days, how about a bike ride between villages?
Starting Point: Moreton-in-Marsh
Trains leave London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh roughly every hour. We caught the 9:19 am train out of Paddington and were in the village by 11am. Right outside the train station you’ll find self-service bicycle hires. This is a new scheme Bainton Bikes launched earlier this year which allows you to use an app to unlock the bikes and rent them for the day. It was easy and convenient and we loved the efficiency of it!
Something to take note of is that there may not be many bicycles locked up outside. We only found 4 (luckily that was the number of people in our group anyways), and when we returned them at the end of the day they were the only bikes there.
After getting our rentals settled, we headed towards the town centre which is just a block away! Since our next stop would be Stow-on-the-Wold (these names are something else, right?), we decided it might be a good idea to get lunch before hitting the road.
Ask Italian is a cute little restaurant right on the main strip and they were just opening up when we arrived! The food was delicious, the ambiance relaxing, and we were glad to be inside since it was spitting a little rain.
Stop One: Stow-in-the-Wold (4.4 miles)
If biking isn’t your thing, I should tell you now that there are buses that run between Morton-in-Marsh and Stow-in-the-Wold if you prefer getting around that way. We decided to venture out on our cycles. Some of the route led us along a busy road, but motorists were very respectful and gave us wide berth so I never felt like I was in danger.
Stow-in-the-Wold is a lovely village full of shops, pubs, and cafes. We decided to take a break (it was threatening to rain again), but had a hard time deciding where! In the end, we opted for the pub that is a part of England’s oldest inn, The Porch House.
We each had a pint while admiring the cozy interior of the pub. It was perfect timing too, because it began raining in earnest outside!
Stop Two: Bourton-on-the-Water (4 miles)
After several picturesque detours, one of which took us through the beautiful Lower Slaughter, we arrived in Bourton-on-the-Water! This is obviously one of the bigger, more touristy villages in the area as there were buses and tourists all over the place.
That didn’t detract a bit from how charming Bourton-on-the-Water is. However, faced with the daunting task of having to ride more than 8 miles back to where we started, we decided more provisions were in order. We hunted down the popular artisan bakery, Bakery On The Water, to give their coffee and scones a go. Trust me when I say, this café/bakery is more than worth the stop!
After a walk around the village, we decided it was time to head back! Luckily the sun was shining by then and we had gorgeous weather to carry us on our return journey to Moreton-in-Marsh.
Final Stop: Moreton-in-Marsh (9 miles)
We were incredibly lucky to have sunshine accompanying us all the way back. (At one point it got so warm I even removed my jacket!) I say this because the road is by no means flat. It’s made up of small dips and rises and one particularly long hill where we were forced to get off our bikes and walk them up. If it had been raining I’m not quite sure I would have made it.
It took us exactly 58 minutes to get from Bourton-on-the-Water to Moreton-in-Marsh. And, even though we’d already been snacking, we just had to stop into the local watering hole to celebrate the completion of our bike ride!
We were drawn to The Bell Inn by its popularity—it seemed like the place to go for locals—and were lucky enough to score a table inside. We polished off a couple pints each and enjoyed some good food before heading to catch the 7:30pm train.
All in all, I consider this to be one of the best day trips I’ve taken from London! I especially liked how active the whole journey was, which is something to take into consideration. You do need to be in reasonably good shape if you want to attempt the bike route, otherwise you might end up having more of a miserable time. If you’re uncertain, remember you can catch buses between all these villages—something which many travelers and tourists do!