Favourite events are made even more special if there’s a great drive before you arrive.
The run down to Goodwood always puts me in a good mood, but the trip across the Cotswolds to Prescott Speed Hill Climb is a route I relish.
Virtually all my life, the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s annual early August meet has been a regular outing, first as youngster with my parents and now driving with friends and family.
When in my Lea-Francis Sports on favourite stretches, the memories flood back of trips in this very car with Mum and Dad.
From London, there’s a certain amount of dread in a classic for the slog around the M25 and up the M40, but from the exit at Stokenchurch my mood changes.
The early morning run down Aston Hill is always great, although I prefer the return charge.
From the end of the A40 the perfect break is a visit to Ivan Dutton Ltd just outside Ickford, for a coffee with Ivan and son Tim.
From Ickford I cut across to Stanton St John to join the B4027 for a rewarding blast on open rural roads to Glympton to join the A44.
I bypass Chipping Norton on the A3400, then take a left turn for the high road past the Rollright Stones, another favourite stop. With morning mist hanging across the surrounding fields, it’s an atmospheric place.
Once across the A44 on to the A436, this wonderful Cotswolds route really begins with a diverse range of scenery through shady woods, open country lined by stone walls, and the much-anticipated twisty dips over the hills.
From Stow-on-the-Wold I take the B4077, known as the Tewkesbury Road, which features many of my favourite sections.
After Ford there’s the long, sinuous drop, which is great in either direction, and if I have time I’ll stop at the top for a walk along the Cotswold Way with its magnificent views across the Vale of Evesham.
As you approach Toddington during summer you can smell the engines on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.
Prescott is close now but if I’m early I’ll stop in Winchcombe for a coffee at Food Fanatics, a great deli.
The final stretch twists through Gretton, where sadly the old Bugatti pub has become a private home, then under the railway bridge and left for the run up to the famous hillclimb and the wonderful Bugatti Trust.
After a top weekend, there’s the bonus of a great drive home, often with other vintage enthusiasts. Unforgettable moments.
Images: Mick Walsh
- Where to stay The Slaughters Manor House: for a weekend treat
- Where to eat The Swan Inn: superb food and open fires, Swinbrook
- What to see Bugatti Trust Centre
- Hidden gem Chastleton House: a stately Jacobean-style timewarp near Chipping Norton
- Pitstop There are good stations in Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-Wold and Toddington