The Cotswolds: A pocket guide
The Cotswolds covers 100 square miles and is the most popular tourist destination in the UK, attracting 4.5 million visitors per year (the whole of Scotland gets 13 million visitors). When you visit the Cotswolds, you will understand why. It has some of most stunning countryside in Britain and includes a patchwork quilt of valleys in which are dotted some the most stunning villages and market towns you will find anywhere.
Where to Go in the Cotswolds
The honey coloured local stone together with tight planning controls have meant that the architectural fabric has been preserved and combined with a very high GDP, this area is incredibly sought after by both homeowners and vacationers. Market towns like Stow on the Wold, Moreton in Marsh, Bourton on the Water, Tetbury, Cirencester, Chipping Camden, Bibury and Lechlade are world famous for their beauty and ‘cuteness’. Off the main tourist trail, you can explore literally hundreds of small villages which haven’t changed in centuries and which offer you a glimpse into a bygone era. The writer Laurie Lee is one of the Cotswolds’ most famous sons. The poet and novelist was born in Stroud but moved with his family to the village of Slad, where he wrote his most famous work is Cider with Rosie in 1959.
What to Do in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is also a really fun area re activities and there is a mass to do, from shopping at Lady Bamford’s Daylesford food store & spa to polo at Cirencester park. International horse shows include Princess Anne’s Gatcombe and the famous Badminton horse trials. There are wonderful gardens to visit like Hidcote, Sezincote or our favourite, Kiftsgate. Westonbirt Arboretum is another wonderful place in the fall and Lucy Abel Smith sculpture garden at Quenington is also gorgeous. The Cotswolds is very famous for its pubs which generally serve excellent food and places like the Swan Inn at Swinbrook, the Five alls in Filkins, the Ebrington arms, the Kingham Plough and the Kings head in Bledington are really worth a visit. Try some of the local beers like Hook Norton ale, Donnington (stunning old brewery near Longborough) , Stroud brewery or maybe sample our new Cotswold gin, distilled outside Shipston on Stour. Many of the pubs also have rooms or there are a myriad of country house hotels, like Dormy house or Buckland manor to choose from.
Where to Stay in the Cotswolds
There are also some wonderful private rental homes which our UK experts can advise you from the quintessential Cotswold manor house to small village cottages & farm houses, all beautifully decorated and located in wonderfully scenic locations. This is a great way to enjoy the area, explore the surrounding countryside and to get under the skin of this historic area, where each village has a pretty church and is surrounded by rolling pasture.
Our local luxury accommodation experts can advise you on which house would best suit your needs. During the summer there are many music, literary or food festivals which you might enjoy and a myriad of other attractions to plan for like Giffords circus, Moreton in Marsh agricultural show and Cheltenham races. Oxford is close by for the Ashmoleum museum and college visits and Bath is also located on the edge of the Cotswolds for lovers of this ancient spa town. There are excellent walks throughout the area and some famous ones like the Winchcombe way and the five valleys walk. All the market towns have excellent shopping and plenty of fresh or Deli produce for picnics. The Cotswold food store & café is another personal favourite but good produce abounds in this fertile part of England, with many orchards and specialist food growers. Whatever your interests, the Cotswolds is a wonderful area to visit and to spend a few days.