On a wet, dark Friday evening in December, we set out in our Campervan for a weekend away. You might think that this doesn’t sound like the perfect start to a weekend outdoors, but we were not deterred. We have always used our vans all year round, even our old VW T4 that didn’t have the luxuries of heating and an onboard bathroom. Our view is that a Campervan is too expensive a luxury to have sat around gathering leaves on the drive. Full and honest disclosure here, our Campervan now, although only 6m long is not roughing it at all. Well, not in our eyes anyway. If you are reading this, you will probably feel the same, although I do appreciate, sort of, that there are people out there that would consider you an absolute lunatic for leaving a perfectly adequate, no more than adequate, a charming Cotswold cottage with underfloor heating and log burner at this time of year, for a tin box on wheels. Anyway, hopefully reader you are with me on that fact that we should not be confined to the asylum and as I was saying our current Campervan, Vinnie is not roughing it as we have the luxuries of heating, fixed bed and and of course the all-important small but perfectly formed bathroom. Being self sufficient gives us the opportunity to stay overnight in places where there are not any facilities, and try places that are very often ‘free’ or low cost. When travelling abroad it is very common to find a good variety of free or low cost motorhome stopovers and thankfully these are coming more common now in the UK, check out our blog post about a free motorhome stopover in Hemsley in North Yorkshire, and it was to one such stop that we were heading to that December evening.
The New Inn at Willersey
The New Inn at Willersey is a 17th-century Cotswolds country pub that allows you to stop in the car park in your camper or motorhome. The car park is a good size and we tucked ourselves in the corner by the beer garden. We stopped 2 nights and had drinks on the first nights and had a meal in the pub the second evening. The great news is the pub is dog-friendly so Finn was able to join us. The pub is a part of the Donnington Brewery who have been brewing in the Cotswolds since 1865, so there is a range of real ales available.
The food served is popular pub Grub. They do traditional pies which went down very well with our group. It was a proper pie as Mr. T insists on (not a pot with a lid but a pie with pastry all the way round). There was also fish n’ chips, lasagne, curry and sausage and mash on the menu. There was one vegetable dish. The pudding menu included syrup sponge and hot chocolate pudding, all served with custard, they hit the spot on a cold winter evening.
Would we recommend stopping at The New Inn?
Is a word yes, as a winter stopover site it was a great option for us. We tend to eat in pubs more in winter and BBQ more in summer so the option of using the carpark suited. The food was what you would expect for traditional pub grub and value for money. Plus the surrounding area has plenty of villages and walks to keep you occupied.
Willersey and the surrounding area
Willersey is situated between Chipping Camden and Broadway and there is evidence that there has been a settlement in the area since the 8th century. In 1831 Willersey had a population of 327. By 1901 it was 385 and as of the census of March 2011 this had increased to 816 people. Willersey has benefited from its position below the quarry so it was easily to move the stone to build the houses.
The Vale of Evesham is very fertile land so Willersey has benefited from this and produced wheat, barley, beans as well as a considerable amount of fruit – apples, pears, plums and cherries which has contributed to its affluence.
Today there is a traditional village store and cafe which is open most mornings and some afternoons. This is a welcome sight as mainly of the village shops have disappeared in the online convenience world that we are now living in. There is another plus as well if you fancy popping in for a coffee and a bite to eat with your newspaper, it is dog-friendly.
There are two pubs currently in the village, as well as The New Inn there is also The Bell Inn, at one time there were as many as eight!
Broadway is just over a mile and a half from Willersey and an easy walk. We did a picturesque walk to Broadway and back taking in Broadway Tower and following a section of The Cotswold Way. Most of the route was across fields so wellies or walking boots are definitely required, see picture of my boots below, just slightly muddy. Don’t let this put you off though, we throughly enjoyed the views with a hot chocolate at the Morris and Brown cafe at Broadway Tower and a cheeky glass of wine at The Swan in Broadway. It is always important to keep hydrated when walking!
Broadway high street is also worth a little meander, with a pleather of gift shops, homeware stores and cafes, many of which are dog friendly.
Things to do in the area
The Cotswold website has a downloadable PDF of five walks from Broadway
Snowshill Manor is owned by the National Trust. The Manor House and gardens is home to approximately 22,000 usual objects collected by Charles Paget Wade
Broadway Tower and Park is a family owned 50 acre estate with a Tower museum, deer park, nuclear bunker and Morris & Brown Cafe.
Cotswold Lavender is open during the summer months with over 140 miles of planted lavender as well a new crop of Camomile. The lavender and camomile are used in a range of products available from the shop when open or online.
The Gordon Russell Design Museum celebrates the life and work of the arts and crafts furniture designer Sir Gordon Russell.
Where to Stay
If you do not have your own facilities or are in a caravan there are three other camping options close to Willersey and Broadway.
Just in case you are reading this and do not have a motorhome or caravan, firstly I would highly recommend getting one, secondly this is a great area to visit anyway so check out these other accommodation options.
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