Cotswold lavender farm, near Snowshill

Lavender fields and a cold war bunker, near Broadway, Worcestershire

The kids could barely contain their excitement when I told them we were going to visit a lavender field. Followed by a Cold War bunker. A strange combination perhaps but as they’re only a few miles apart I thought it was the perfect opportunity to visit two more places on my UK bucket list.

My youngest stated he’d prefer to stay at home on the Xbox and the eldest asked why we couldn’t just go to Thorpe Park instead (like normal people). Surely, I suggested to them, it’s more fun to experience an authentic Cold War bunker….

Cotswold Lavender Farm, near Snowshill

Lavender fields have become a ‘thing’ in the last couple of years. Similar to bluebell woods. Everyone jostling to get a photo of their loved ones sitting amongst the flowers. But there’s a reason for their popularity. They’re incredibly photogenic!

Cotswold lavender farm, near Snowshill
Cotswold lavender farm, near Snowshill

Cotswold Lavender is open from mid-June until the flowers are harvested in early August. We visited the first weekend in July, a good but busy time to choose.

Our visit began with a walk past some of the 40 different varieties of lavender grown at the farm. Ranging in colour from pale lilac to a dark purple I never realised there were so many different varieties.

We progressed to walking around the main fields. These were planted with homogeneous dark purple bushes; very pretty but I couldn’t actually smell any lavender.

Cotswold lavender farm, near Snowshill
Cotswold lavender farm, near Snowshill

Regardless of the smell the bees were loving the flowers. It was great to see, and hear, so many varieties. The fields were literally buzzing.

Visitors are free to walk as they wish around the fields. It was lovely to have this freedom but I would have liked the option of a guided tour to learn more about the farm.

Wildflower Meadow, Cotswold Lavender
Wildflower Meadow, Cotswold Lavender

Almost as photogenic as the lavender field was the wildflower meadow. The reds, yellows and blues of once common flowers nodding in the breeze. My enjoyment tinged with the sad recognition that I haven’t seen a single wild cornflower this year.

Cotswold Lavender, near Snowshill
Cotswold Lavender, near Snowshill

We ended with a trip to the gift shop and cafe. I resisted all of the lavender perfumed and flavoured items in the shop. But not the lavender brownie in the cafe. Although we played it safe and bought a non-lavender cake too just in case it tasted awful (it didn’t).

Cold War bunker, Broadway Tower

After lunch in Broadway we drove onto Broadway Tower. We climbed the tower a few years ago but missed out on its underground attraction, a restored Cold War bunker.

Climbing down into the Cold War bunker, Broadway Tower
Climbing down into the Cold War bunker, Broadway Tower

The bunker is a few minutes walk from the tower. Accessed via a ladder, down a 14 foot shaft, this is not for those with a fear of heights or claustrophobia. We descended one at a time; the family next to us helpfully shouting up encouragement to their children. Along the lines of “It’s a lot harder than it looks!”

Climbing down into the Cold War bunker at Broadway Tower
Climbing down into the Cold War bunker at Broadway Tower

Once we’d all descended our guide explained that the bunker was built in the late 1950s and operated until 1991. It formed part of a nationwide monitoring network of bunkers, all built to the same design and equipped with state of the art (as was) detection facilities.

The bunkers weren’t designed to protect occupants from a direct nuclear hit. Manned by volunteers from the Royal Observer Corp their aim was to help determine the location of bombs and direction of fallout.

Inside the Cold War bunker, Broadway Tower
Inside the Cold War bunker, Broadway Tower

We listened to a short recording as our guide pointed out the various pieces of equipment. I was strangely excited to see a nuclear warning siren!

In addition to the scientific instruments the room was kitted out with bunk beds, a separate toilet and sufficient food and water for three weeks. Minimal privacy though, you’d get to know your fellow workers very well.

I’m sure my kids thought this was all ancient history but I was a teenager in the 1980s and remember the threat of nuclear war. The bunker provides a fascinating insight into the Government’s emergency plans and precautions. Although with hindsight I do wonder how effective they’d be.

Despite the kid’s grumbles both loved the Cold War bunker, a definite hit. As was the lavender brownie!

More info:

  • Check the Cotswold Lavender Farm website for exact opening dates. Entrance is £3.50 for adults and £2.50 for children aged 5-15 yrs.
  • Entrance to the Cold War bunker is by guided tour only. These generally run hourly throughout summer weekends. There’s a maximum of 12 people and a minimum age of 12 years, tickets cost £4.50 per visitor.

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15 thoughts on “Lavender fields and a cold war bunker, near Broadway, Worcestershire”

  1. Ooooh thanks for introducing me to this Lavender field! I’ve been dying to go to the Cotswolds, so this will be added to the intinerary! #FarawayFiles

  2. Great combination of two excellent places to go. I’m particularly keen to see some lavender fields. You’ve inspired me to look for my nearest and plan a visit. Hope your boys thought the trip was better than the Xbox and theme park! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  3. I would so love to visit the Cold War bunker! We often visit battlefields and cemeteries, and fortunately my husband goes along with my love for history. My daughter took along puzzle books when I went touring battlefields when she was young. Today it would be games on a kindle. Ha ha!

  4. I hope your little one was convinced of the coolness of this trip! I didn’t know that many lavender varieties existed. That is nice to know. What an interesting sightseeing combination. #FarawayFiles

  5. Christine I aspire to your great parental abilities to sell an activity. My daughter and I would adore the lavender farm so we could bribe the boys with the bunker which also looks intriguing. I studied espionage at uni! Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  6. Lavender farms are my favourite. We have near by and it is a favourite meeting up place. Especially for lunch. I like the idea of visiting a cold war bunker. Must have been interesting. My children are just the same. Once I lever them out of the house, they start to enjoy the outing. Almost to the point where you’d think it was their idea and I was the stick-at-home.

  7. I absolutely remember the threat of mutually assured destruction in a WW3 scenario as a teen growing up in Oregon. I’m sure my kids would find the bunker more interesting than the lavender – but I’m a sucker for a purple field of flowers! My mom actually brought us some of that Cotswolds lavender this summer from their visit in June! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

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