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February, 2017

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Broadway is a beautiful historic Cotswold village with a mix of period houses, honey -hued stone cottages, grassy meadows, individual shops and a village green shaded by horse chestnut trees.

The main street through Broadway was an ancient ‘ridgeway’ and once, the main road from Worcester to London. It is a wide street, hence the name ‘Broadway.’ In the 17th century it was a thriving staging port, with numerous horse drawn carriages stopping to feed and water en route. At the time, there were over 30 inns in the village offering passengers refreshment and accommodation.
This all came to an end with the arrival of the railway in Evesham in 1852 and the end of the stagecoaches.

After losing its role as a staging post, it became a backwater – a haven of peace and tranquility.

Victorian artists and writers became drawn to the village and the famous Arts & Craft movement made its home in the area.
Broadway became home to people like William Morris, J M Barrie, Mary Anderson, Elgar, John Sargent, Vaughan Williams, Francis Millet and the furniture designer Gordon Russell.

Since the arrival of the motor car at the turn of the 20th century, and popular tourism, Broadway has become one of the most frequently visited villages in the Cotswolds.

There are several car parks around. The High Street, off Church Close, has room for 146 cars. You can drive straight through the village to the end, but then you have to turn round as it is a ‘no through road.’

It has quite a few places to eat, including Russells Fish and Chips, located just off the High Street, the Crown and Trumpet Inn, a traditional 17th century Cotswold Inn offering accommodation and local, seasonal home made dishes.
Number 32 Broadway is a cafe and Bar where you can relax and is open for breakfast from 10 am , lunches, cakes, sandwiches etc. They even have a new Takeaway Service. You then, of course, have your finer dining – so plenty of choice.

One difficulty we had, was to find the Tourist Information Centre. The main purpose for this was to find a church I had been told about ( albeit, I later realized I was looking in the wrong place as it should have been Chipping Norton)!!
Anyway, after looking high and low and asking one or two people, we were pointed in the direction of Russell Street, next to the Gordon Russell design Museum and opposite the Warner’s Budgen’s supermarket. There are, apparently signposts from the High Street, but they weren’t easy to spot.

We spent some time, walking up one side of the street and then down the other, taking photos as we went.

The Cotswolds have several stories of haunted places, but Broadway appears to just have one such tale relating to The Broadway Hotel in the high Street. Although only speculation, many people who have either lived, worked or stayed at the hotel, have reported seeing grey ladies disappearing up the wooden stairway. It is said, however, that the most consistently reported ghost has never been seen, only heard sobbing in the early hours of the morning, usually in the minstrel’s gallery above the main lounge.

You can’t fail to see the Broadway Tower just outside the village. It is a folly on Broadway Hill and the second highest point of the Cotswolds. We went past, but did not stay to look around.

Glad we stopped off in Broadway as we weren’t disappointed with the recommendation to visit.

Caroline Hutchings

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