I've been doing Cotswolds tours for nearly 22 years but when I saw the recently released series by Jeremy Clarkson about his own farm in the Cotswolds, I became addicted to watching it back to back and couldn't stop laughing out loud. It's the best factual series on TV and certainly the most popular with an IMDb rating of 9.3 and shows how hard farming is and how much weather plays in the farms profits. Jeremy Clarkson has a gift for making programmes that are entertaining and informative including his Diddly Squat farm shop and his own Clarkson's farm in the beautiful Cotswolds.
You will either love him or loathe him with his less than PC moments but most people I know who do loathe him seem to forgive him as they are transported to a little known farm called Diddly Squat near the village of Chadlington.
The Cotswolds is an area of outstanding beauty and in the series you have moments that inspire you with great cinematography in high definition especially the rolling hills at sunset when harvesting the crops.
We have seen in the first series that parking was limited and that many people could only park on the verge. The situation is better now as there is a car park with an overflow car park. But.... in busy period, people still can only park on the verges. My recommendation is to get there at 8.50am which means a 7am start in London. Doors open at 9.30am and there can be a long line at that time. Once you finish the farm shop, you can then make you way to the outside eatery behind which opens at 10am
The product range comes complete with Clarkson's own unPC titles:
This smells like my bollocks scented candles
cow juice 24/7 local milk
Jeremey's Go Nuts nuts
For me the star of the show is the no nonsense Kaleb Cooper who is the farm manager and doesn't treat Jeremy as a celebrity and gives him some words of advice normally in single syllables. Some of the cast do appear from time to time at Diddly Squat so you'll never know who you might see there.
The Diddly Squat farm shop is now closed for their annual closure until 01 March 2024. This is a typical day tour to see the shop and experience the food in the cafe behind.
There are two types of tours, the Petrolhead Tour (American's call this gearhead or motorhead) and the Cotswold Tour.
The Petrolhead Tour
The pertrolhead tour is aimed at motor enthusiasts who want to see the farm shop but also see some of the historical exponents of automotive engineering excellence in the UK. This includes a visit to Diddly Squat and can also include:
I'm a chartered gas and mechanical engineer and always had a fascination with aircraft and automotive production. I rebuilt my Ford Escort Mk2 engine in 1977 in my kitchen when i was 18 years old. My dad was a jet propulsion engineer in the RAF and he would show me how to decarbonise the cylinder head, grid the valves by hand.
The Cotswold Tour
This tour is aimed at seeing some of the most beautiful parts of the Cotswold starting at Diddly Squat. It includes Arlington Row at Bibury with its 550 years old miller's cottages and I will explain how it was constructed with stone roofs made by winter weathering. You can imagine how Tolkien was inspired when he first saw it and it became Middle England in Lord of the Rings.
I've refurbished a 400 year old and 600-year-old cottage and can give my personal insight into living in an old cottage. We will then head off to Lower Slaughter and you have an opportunity to take a beautiful short 20 minute walk along the River Eye from Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter. We can head to Broadway if we have enough time and maybe also see Broadway Tower, a prime example of an English folly.
We can start and finish in London which is my most popular way to tour to date.
British Motor Museum
The British Motor Museam is at Gaydon about 50 minutes from Diddly Squart. It has a great array of great British cars including my favourite which is the Austin Healey 3000. My preference would be to have it in two tone, cream and sky metallic blue.
British National Motor Museum at Beaulieu
This museam is a two hour drive from Diddy Squat. I first went here when I was a boy and marvelled at the engineering. One car caught my attention and that was Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird which broke the landspeed record in 22 February 1933 at 272 miles per hour. It was enormous compared to my size. The museam is considered one of the best in europe and has a Top Gear section.
You might remember the episode with the Mr Nippy in Top Gear and Ford v Farrari with the GT40. You need at least 3 hours to tour this venue and it's a two hour ride from Diddly Squat
I've been taken clients here for nearly 20 years but I combined Diddy Squat with British National Motor Museum at Beaulieu for the first time last year. Its a long day but you can sleep in the car on the way back home.
Silverstone Museum which is the home of the British Grand Prix
Sverstone is the home of F1 in the UK and there are many constructors located in the area. I do have contacts to visit Red Bull at Milton Keynes but it's around £20,000 which includes Dave Coulthard (DC) and Mark Gallagher. Both well known in the industry. However, the visit to the Silverstone museam wlll set you back £25 each.
Silverstone is 50 minutes from Diddly Squart and the museam had everthing you want to know at F1. The engineering, the drivers and the track. My last time at Silverstone in 2023, we were lucky to arrive on a Friday and see a practise day on the track with some classic racing cars. The interactive enginnering aspect on current F1 technology in the exibition is particulary engaging. You also have the opportunity to try out a F1 simulator.
The Triumph Motorbike Factory Visit
The factory visit is 1hr 15mins away from Diddly Squat but if you are a Triumph enthusiast than this a "must do" tour. I really enjoyed the engineering aspect of the tour and particularly how they match pistons to cylinders and the use of robotics to streamline the process. The whole build quality is so superior compared to their halcyon days. The factory tour guide has an amazing knowledge of motorbikes but also an amazing Triumph Rocket with sidecar, so I've included that in the photos.
The National Motorbike Museum
This is the largest motorbike museam in the world so there something for everybody. Its about 1 hour from Diddly Squart