There are many beautiful towns in England, however, the lovely region of the Cotswolds might have the greatest concentration of charming English villages. Spanning six counties in south-central England, the Cotswolds runs from Bath in the south to Chipping Campden in the north and is dotted with dozens of charming towns lined with quaint flower-laden cottages, historic pubs and medieval limestone churches. Our local experts at Luxury Cotswold Rentals and Loyd & Townsend Rose reveal their favorite towns and luxury accommodation in this splendid pocket of, not only England, but the world.
Burford. Photo by Pig Girl / Flickr
Situated in north Oxfordshire, twenty miles west of Oxford, Burford is one of the Cotswold’s finest market towns and is considered the southern gateway to this exquisite region. A recommendation of Nigel Stengard-Green of Luxury Cotswold Rentals, this pretty town sits on the river Windrush and was the site of a fortified fort in Anglo-Saxon times.
“The town rose to be an important crossroads and very wealthy wool town,” explains Nigel. “Today it is very popular with visitors, drawn by its high street lined with dignified old houses, ancient cottages and many shops, all of which appear little changed since Tudor times. There are wonderful little side streets to explore as well as old pubs, tea and antique shops. The 15th-century St. John Baptist church is marvelous and is another sign of bygone riches based on wool.”
The historic town slopes gently down to the river and from above, you have beautiful views over the open countryside, down to the willow fringed River Windrush in the pretty Windrush valley in addition to a three-arched medieval bridge spanning the river at the foot of the hill. While in town, be sure to track down some of its most important historic buildings like England’s oldest pharmacy, a chemist’s since 1734, a well-preserved set of medieval almshouses next to the church and the 16th-century Tolsey building, once the meeting place of medieval merchants, now a local museum focused on the town’s social and industrial past.
Where to Stay in Burford – The Brewery Burford
A recent addition to the Cotswold rental market, the Brewery is a wonderful blend of the traditional and the contemporary and is in the repertoire of Luxury Cotswold Rentals.
This converted historic brewery is found in a very central location on Sheep Street, in the heart of Burford. The common spaces are cozy and accentuate the historic aspects of the building with stylish modern elements. Guest will enjoy entertaining in the large open-plan, well equipped kitchen and dining room with seating for up to 12 or in its comfortable drawing and study, which can also serve as an additional bedroom. Wall-to-ceiling glass around the private interior courtyard provides gentle nature light and a wonderful place to relax outdoors. Three of the four double bedrooms have ensuite baths, and the master bedroom has its own open fireplace.
Make the most of village life in the Cotswolds at this quaint and luxurious cottage with Luxury Cotswold Rentals here.
Stow on the Wold. Photo by Hans Splinter / Flickr
Stow on the Wold
Nestled in the heart of the North Cotswolds is the small market town of Stow on the Wold, a favorite of our Andrew Loyd of Loyd & Townsend Rose. The town boasts some beautiful old houses built by wealthy wool merchants, which have now become a plethora of attractive hotels, pubs and shops.
“Like all Cotswolds towns, there is an elegant church and a large market square off which various narrow lanes lead off to the surrounding countryside,” describes Andrew. “Stow is maintained in immaculate condition and the soft honey coloured stone is a big part of what makes this area so beautiful.
“However, the town is not just a tourist destination. Indeed alongside the tea shops, antique and gift shops are some excellent stores which is locals use on a daily basis like the superb butcher Lambournes, an excellent pharmacy and the delightfully hidden away Borzoi bookshop, which has been serving the area for 40 years.
“The pubs, hotels and restaurants attract a huge following and close by is the Cotswold foodstore, where the parking is a little easier. The Porch House on Sheep Street is in fact England’s oldest Inn, dating back to 947. Fortunately, the bedrooms and cuisine have all been brought up to date and their Sunday roast is excellent. The Old Butchers across the street is probably our favourite and offers excellent bistro style food. Just a few miles out of town, guests can also visit Lady Bamford’s Daylesford Farm Shop & Spa, which offers indulgent food, dining and spa treatments.”
There is certainly enough to do in Stow based on Andrew’s great insider tips, though if you are looking for more to do in the area, there are several other sites of interest in the area such as the famous gardens of Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate Court and Sezincote, the Batsford Arboretum and Falconry centre or the historic Chastleton House in addition to other famous local market towns like Chipping Norton, Moreton in Marsh and Bourton on the Water.
Where to Stay near Stow on the Wold – Cornwell Manor
You could stay in town, however, to really spoiling yourself on exceptional accommodation, considering booking in at the beautiful Cornwell Manor, located just a few miles from Stow on the Wold. This quintessential Cotswold manor house, available through Loyd & Townsend Rose, is nestled in its own little village which is surrounded by thousands of acres of rolling countryside and is the perfect venue to base yourself at whilst exploring the Cotswolds.
The house is only rented out on an exclusive use basis and comes with its own ballroom, swimming pool, tennis court, church and lake. The interiors are elegant but warm and friendly, plus there are some lovely bedrooms that overlook the stunning gardens. It’s straight out of a Jane Austen novel and hugely romantic.
Loyd & Townsend Rose highly recommend this house for family groups or birthday celebrations — a great number of their guests have had many happy experiences here. There are music festivals at Cornbury, food festivals like the Big Festival at Alex James’ Farm, opera at Longborough, jazz and literary festivals at Cheltenham and many sporting events as well. This is the most popular area in Britain for visitors and when you come you will quickly see why.
Design your perfect English country holiday or special occasion at Cornwell manor with Loyd & Townsend Rose at this link.
Chipping Campden High Street. Photo by Derek Winterburn / Flickr
Located in the northern Cotswolds, this picturesque old wool merchants’ town made of golden local limestone is considered one of the loveliest in England and is another favorite of Nigel Stengard-Green.
Once one of the most important wool towns of England, its wares become famous throughout Europe. This era of prosperity is displayed in the town’s beautifully crafted buildings. An excellent example is St. James Church, with its impressive 36-meter tower and historic altar tapestries, it’s recognized as the finest ‘wool’ church in the Cotswolds. The 17th-century Market Hall and Alms Houses are other testaments to the town’s mercantile history. Its attractive High Street is lined with single terrace houses, although of different architectural styles, there is charming symmetry.
The town is abuzz during the month of May with two renowned festivals the Campden Literature Festival and the renowned Chipping Campden Music Festival, which plays host to artists from across the world. Throughout the summer there are a number of other festivals, like the mid-June Chipping Campden Open Gardens Weekend.
The countryside around Chipping Campden is particularly exceptional and merits some dedicated time whilst holidaying in the area. Its springtime bluebells, fields of summertime poppies and lavender and seas of golden autumn leaves are a marvel for the eyes are can be admired a short walk or drive from Chipping Campden town centre. In addition to the immediate vicinity, Nigel also suggests visiting the nearby surrounding shire counties of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Slightly further afield, within an hour’s drive, you can explore Blenheim Palace and the Cotswolds to the south, Worcester and the Malverns to the west as well as Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick (the best medieval castle in Europe).
Where to Stay Near Chipping Campden – The Old Rectory
Featured by the Telegraph Luxury Travel as a Cotswold ‘destination’, The Old Rectory is a refined and charming Victorian family home nestled in five acres of garden with breathtaking views of the Cotswold Escarpment and Broadway Tower.
Available through Luxury Cotswold Rentals, the beautiful five bedroom property is located next to the 13th-century St Mary’s Church on the eastern edge of the village of Aston Somerville, and is 11 miles from Chipping Campden and only four miles from Broadway, another lovely village of the Cotswolds. Guests can relax in the various common rooms of the interior from the elegant drawing room, the sitting room with an open fire and the dining room with an antique billiard dining table. Three of the bedrooms are found in the main house and a suite is situated in the garden cottage.
The tranquil gardens have several venues for al fresco dining and socialising as well as hidden nooks for quiet contemplation. The grounds also have a heated swimming pool, hot tub and tennis court, perfect for a holiday with family or friends. The classic setting of the property is ideal for weddings and other celebrations, with a lawn protected by its own ha-ha – ideal for a marquee and the paddocks offering plenty of parking for guests.
Enjoy an sophisticated stay in the Cotswolds at The Old Rectory by contacting Luxury Cotswold Rental here.
Bath, Photo by Verino77 / Flickr
Albeit a little large than a town, this beautiful and truly unique destination in the Southern Cotswolds still exudes immense charm and quintessential Cotswold character. Bath’s spectacular historic center has also been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“Bath is so much more than just a tourist mecca.” says Nigel Stengard-Green. “It’s brimming with things to do and has a fantastic city centre, where you can shop until you drop, but also relax and unwind. Bath is the only place in the UK where you can bathe in naturally hot spa water and original Roman Baths, making it the ultimate spa break destination for thousands of years.”
In addition to its famous 2,000-year-old Roman Baths, visitors will enjoy discovering the city’s gorgeous Abbey, the iconic Royal Crescent and neighboring Circus, the enchanting covered Pulteney Bridge as well as other regal Georgian buildings. Literature fans can delve into the life of one of England’s beloved writers, Jane Austin, at a museum dedicated to her life and various stays in Bath. Food lovers will be thrilled with the city’s excellent variety of restaurants, bars and cafés and there are activities to please all ages in the area such as Stonehenge and Longleat Safari Park.
Where to Stay Near Bath – Langley Park
Situated a thirty minute drive from Bath, between Tetbury and Chippenham, you can carry on holidaying in Georgian style at exquisite Langley Park, an 18th-century listed mansion set within 85 acres of parkland, available through Luxury Cotswold Rentals.
Recently restored, the elegant home succeeds at being cozy despite its large size. It’s a wonderful, sophisticated venue for entertaining family and friends and is perfect for weddings and corporate retreats. Guests can socialize or relax in its refined drawing room, sitting room and study whereas meals can be enjoyed in the breakfast room or the formal dining room which seats up to 20.
There are 11 bedrooms and eight bathrooms in the main house and an additional two bedrooms and one bathroom in the attached cottage; where the Billiard and Table Tennis rooms are located. In addition, Langley has a fully equipped cellar Night Club, so there’s no need to go into town for evening entertainment! In summer guests can enjoy the gorgeous grounds strolling the formal gardens, the park and woodlands or take a dip in the heated swimming pool.
Contact Luxury Cotswold Rentals here to start planning your stylish escape to the Bath area at this magnificent mansion.
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to England? You may enjoy these other articles on our Journal about England:
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– Best Food Markets in Europe
– Fabulous Summer City Breaks