I spent 10 years of my adult life in Bristol, during which time I
spent numerous weekend outings in the region around Bath, the
Cotswolds and Somerset.
Autumn (Fall) in England, anywhere in England, can be hit or miss...
... but then so can any other season <shrug> :)
Clear autumn days in the Bath/Cotswolds region can be beautiful, when
a mild sun makes the russets, oranges and browns of the trees glow,
and you can see for miles around. And the misty days also have their
own attraction. After all, John Keats started his famous serenade to
an English autumn thus:
"SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;"
The whole poem is at http://www.bartleby.com/101/627.html
You need not expect bare trees, not yet. The days will be drawing in
quite rapidly, with the sun setting at about 6.25 pm (sunrise is at
about 7.35 am), but it shouldn't really be dreary unless it rains a
Unfortunately, there will most likely be some rain, because low
pressure is forecast for the week of October 14. I've found several
web sites confirming this. Here is an extract from the 30-day
forecast of the BBC's Bill Giles:
"Saturday 11 October to Friday 17 October
Low pressure is going to be firmly in control this week, but it is
likely to be out to the west of Ireland giving us all mild southerly
winds. Northern Ireland, western Scotland and the western parts of
both England and Wales will have a pretty cloudy week with further
periods of rain, but some drier, brighter spells are likely in
So you'll probably be wet some of the time, but at least it will be
Bath actually has at least 5 antiques markets, as far as I have been
able to find, so you should find several places available for treasure
http://www.bath.co.uk/babada/markets/default.asp (this web site gives
details of all 5 and telephone contact numbers for 4 out of the 5)
In addition, there are loads of small antiques and junk shops
scattered around Bath.
I have also found a Saturday flea market, with no mention of seasonal
There is a massively diverse selection of goodies to be found in this
bohemian part of Bath. You will be offered the following from
independent boutiques; hats, designer fridges, futons, fine cheese,
mountain gear to old books, bikes and sewing machines.
There is the flea market on Saturdays, where you can spend a good hour
or so wandering from stall to stall bartering to get the right price."
and on the the same site, mention of a foodie's paradise:
"The Guild Hall is an indoor market wander around and you will find
some interesting stalls. The market is housed in a beautiful building.
The market has been established since 1284.
For fresh produce the Guild Hall is recommended as it has a market
selling speciality teas, wild boar pate, fresh fruit and Veg. Along
with craft stalls, leather goods, books and pet stalls.
The stalls range from the cheap to the expensive depending on what is
purchased i.e. speciality foods may be more expensive but some of the
crafts are on the cheaper side.
High Street, Bath, BA2 9EQ"
The charming town of Bradford on Avon is only 15 minutes away
I also recommend a venture into Somerset to visit Wells and its
medieval cathedral, which is not a great distance away (market days
are Wednesdays and Saturdays):
Of course, once you are in Wells, it is not too far to Glastonbury,
the supposed site of the mythical Isle of Avalon
But this is taking you too far from the Cotswolds!!! Sorry, Somerset
is one of my favourite areas, and I can't help plugging it.
Here are ideas for 3 one-day circular car tours of the Cotswolds,
which take in Stratford upon Avon, Oxford and Bath, respectively.
Broadway is definitely worth a visit. It is one of the most
picturesque "typical" (if only!!!) English villages I have ever
and Evesham is a pretty market town
and if you want to compare Bath with another spa town, try the
elegance of Cheltenham
and of course, Stratford will call if you like Shakespeare
I know you said not to give web sites, but I just couldn't resist!
I hope you have a great time if you do decide to go, and that the
weather will be reasonably kind to you!
Search strategy: My local knowledge, plus searches on Google for
Cotswolds, Wells, Glastonbury, Bath, "antiques market", "mists and
Clarification of Answer by
26 Sep 2003 07:06 PDT
Thank you very much for the kind words and tip.
Yes, I suppose you could say that Broadway is "too perfect", and of
course it suffers from the "tourist gaze" as the phenomenon is called
in a postmodernist study of tourism (yes really!) for which I was once
asked to produce an index. On the other hand, people do flock there,
including the Brits, to revel in the ideal "chocolate box lid"
nostalgia of an English village as it should be but never has been.
Whether Burford or any of the other little towns, villages and hamlets
on the Cotswold tourist route are any more authentic than Broadway is
hard to say - certainly few Brits live in places like that!!! Having
been brought up in the SE, studied in the SW and finally, after time
abroad, settled further north, I personally prefer the grittiness of
places such as the Calder Valley - Mytholmroyd (birthplace of Ted
Hughes), the eclectic shops of Hebden Bridge, and, above it, after a
climb up one of the steepest paths I know, Heptonstall, with narrow
winding streets and the grave of Sylvia Plath. Actually, the best
ever 20-mile walk I have done, is to start from Howarth (Bronte
Parsonage), into the moors, past the ruin that inspired Wuthering
Heights, and then onwards, across the moors until you descend through
the beautiful gorge of Hardcastle Crags and out into Hebden Bridge for
a welcome pint. Many would call this part of the country bleak, and on
a cold, wet winter day it certainly can be dreary, but for me at least
it has a special charm that the South cannot provide.
But I digress again! - maybe on another visit you might be tempted
Burford is famed for being the place where the Levellers were finally
crushed. The Levellers were "men who believed that the new times
required new political structures, with much broader, popular support.
In May 1649, impatient with their leaders' lack of progress, 800
troops mutinied at Salisbury. They marched North to Burford, swimming
the Thames on the way, to meet up with a similar group from Oxford.
There they rested, assured by the promise of negotiations about their
grievances (which also included the fact that they hadn't been paid).
But Oliver Cromwell had no intention of negotiating. At midnight he
entered the town with 2,000 horsemen and captured 340 of the
Levellers, imprisoning them in that beautiful Burford church. One
prisoner, Anthony Sedley, carved his name on the font. Three of the
leaders were summarily executed against the church wall (see the
And an article by David Gill, written as if it is an eyewitness
account by Anthony Sedley
Leveller's Day is celebrated each May in Burford, with a march through
the town, accompanied by much music and singing, speeches outside the
church and then an afternoon of more music etc. - great fun!
Anyway, I hope the rain holds off enough to let you enjoy the places
you visit and that you have a great time!