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Cotswolds Guided Tours - Our Escape to the Country

We thought it would be nice for our guests to know a little about us & how our business began. As they say, life is not only about the destination, it is about the journey.

Lucy & Richard first met while working in London for the Metropolitan Police, Richard worked as a Police Officer, having spent most of his career in central London he then joined a specialist team responding to major incidents. Lucy worked as a crime scene examiner & forensic trainer. They met back in 2006 when a colleague of Lucy's was leaving their station (Twickenham) & joining Richard's team based in Clapham.

Lucy & Richard hit it off when they

both realised their love for camping & the great outdoors. So whenever they could they would set off on adventures around the UK, camping, hiking & kayaking. Richard grew up in the countryside, he is a huge fan of nature & an excellent gardener.....he will tell you that he was born with green fingers & holding a spade! Lucy loved her trips abroad with her family but had fond memories of UK trips, exploring the English countryside, its history & folklore. One particular cottage in the Cotswolds stood out in Lucy's memories; a slightly tired, creaky property which had an unusual layout but with the bonus of being located in a quiet 'Miss Marple-style' village, filled with beautiful properties & barns full of cows. Cottages located on quiet country lanes, roses tumbling over windows & doors, along with far reaching field views.

Whilst working hard in London, Lucy had been lucky to get onto the property ladder in her early 20's & had moved a few times before buying her aunts home, a small workers cottage in Isleworth, South West London. Isleworth is not somewhere you are likely to have heard of; unless you are fans of Rugby (with nearby Twickenham Stadium) or lovers of history with Syon House, Osterley Park & Hampton Court all a stones throw away. By contrast Richard grew up in the North of England, in the Victorian seaside town of Bridlington located on the Yorkshire coastline. At the time he had just recently sold his house in Yorkshire & was looking for a new property to invest in. The search began, Lucy & Richard travelled up & down the country. The aim, appeared to be quite simple..... to find somewhere in the countryside. They viewed a cabin on the Isle of Skye, an old school in Norfolk, a bank in Ayrshire, a boat house in the Lake District, Wales proved popular with a B&B, a dilapidated farm house & a campsite all of which had potential but involved either too much work, were too far away, one property was 'landlocked' & essentially nothing was quite right.

Then one day, whilst Lucy was visiting her parents she was in the kitchen when the phone rang.....Lucy answered & what happened next changed the course of their lives...

Escape to the Cotswolds

Answering the call a lady; Mrs C. explained that she was the owner of the cottage in the countryside where Lucy had stayed in with her family as a child. The owners had decided to sell & as Lucy's parents had always expressed an interest in the house then Mrs C. was calling to say it would soon be on the market. Lucy's reply, 'My boyfriend is looking for a cottage in the countryside, he will buy it' without even seeing it! Richard agreed that it sounded perfect. It was only 90 minutes from London, just right for a few days break a couple of times a month & he knew Lucy loved the cottage. So Richard agreed to buy the cottage & didn't get to see inside until the contracts had been exchanged and he collected the keys from the solicitors!

As we all know, childhood memories often create a sunshine haze over key facts; wonky walls, drafty windows, doors that stick, hissing electrics & rumbling, clanky pipes....but the saving grace.....The garden was a generous size, the village was quiet & above was what the cottage represented.....their dreams of moving to the country were one step closer to reality.

The work life balance

Lucy & Richard were always very busy, working on different teams, long hours in stressful environments often dealing with traumatic events. Even though they lived together they hardly saw each other, something needed to change! Fast forward a couple of years & in 2009, Richard proposed & was looking to transfer from the Metropolitan Police to Warwickshire, one of the neighbouring constabularies. He was accepted & they were one step closer to living in the country, but the work life balance was still not right. Now they saw less of each other, with Lucy spending half the week in the Cotswolds & half in London. So they made the decision, to commit to country life 100%. The London house was put up for sale & they moved to the Cotswolds full time....A couple of downsides: Lucy couldn't find work locally as she was trained to such a high level there just wasn't the type of crime in the countryside that she was used to '...(this is obviously a good thing & why people move out of big cities but came as a bit of a surprise to Lucy...) Plus she didn't want to work shifts again as that defeated the object of 'spending more time together'. So with a wedding to save for & lots (and lots and lots) of jobs to do around the house Lucy needed to find a job locally. She worked at a local B&B, at a funeral directors, sold antiques & even tried to make soap (not successful based on feedback one Christmas) Life was not easy, money was tight but they were happy. The building work was coming along although it didn't pass by without some challenges. The couple swore they wouldn't ever buy a 'fixer upper' again, but they overcame the challenges together.

The big country wedding in their neighbourhood church, all the villagers were invited after the service to the local village hall before the wedding guests were whisked off in a coach to the surprise venue (The local steam heritage railway). Life was good & they did get to spend more time together, but it wasn't quite perfect. Richard was still working long hours, having his days off cancelled & there were times in the year when he would have to miss family occasions, like birthdays, Christmas & New Year. With the house finished, friends and family were visiting in droves. Lucy & Richard found all those nights huddled in a tent reading local history & folklore books came in handy & everyone loved the stories they shared.

Then in 2017 the penny dropped & with the money they had left from the build they decided to buy a minibus & set up Cotswolds Guided Tours. And Hey, if the guided tours didn't work they thought they could convert the vehicle into a campervan : )

Cotswolds Guided Tours

Now Lucy & Richard are rated as the number 1 tour company in Moreton in Marsh by TripAdvisor. They are recommended by the American Travel Guru Rick Steve's in his England guide & now the story of their success has been picked up by the BBC's Escape to the Country TV show.... they feel blessed everyday. They are living the dream, admittedly there has been a few bumps along the way. Lucy would say she feels so lucky to do 'what she loves, with the person that she loves in the place, she is lucky enough to call my home'

If you want to explore the Cotswolds then Lucy & Richard would love to meet you & show you around. There are lots of tours to choose from, private tours ranging from 6 hours to 3 days & a two day small group tour. If you want to travel around visiting all the best places including Bourton on the Water, Lower Slaughter, Bibury, Castle Combe, Chipping Campden, Stow on the Wold, Burford, Malmesbury & lots lots more then let Cotswolds Guided Tours show you all the famous locations & the very best hidden gems. Whilst sharing quirky local history & fun facts, you will have the best time.....

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