Old English villages can be picture postcards. Their traditional thatched cottages, narrow lanes, little stone churches, and well-tended gardens are utterly charming, like something from an era long gone. One of those picturesque places is Clifton Hampden, a Thames-side village in Oxfordshire, where hubby and I ended up taking our picnic gear earlier today simply because it was such a stunning spot to visit on a sunny spring day. Nothing wrong with doing things on the spur of the moment! Although our chosen spot by the river turned out to be exposed to the wind, it was great for watching narrow boats and little steam boats as well as herons and mallards. Luckily we did wear jackets and carried a flask of hot coffee too!
Afterwards we climbed up the hill to the little Church of St. Michael & All Angels and discovered its stunning stained glass windows. A cedar of Lebanon, planted in 1866, majestically guards the old graveyard and its headstones and crosses.
At the bottom of the hill by the main road you find the old Clifton Hampden Post Office & Stores, which still has the traditional red pillar box and the telephone box outside – as you would expect. Immaculate-looking, yet charmingly wonky and characterful, old cottages with thatched roofs line the road. They almost seem to belong in a fairytale, instead of real, modern life. I cannot imagine living in a village like that but I’m happy to visit it (and others like it) again, with better luck with my picnic spot.