The Best of Britain: A Quick Cotswolds Travel Guide

The romantic, fairy tale image of England as a place of rolling green fields, thatched roofs, cobbled lanes, ancient churches and postcard perfect houses, is very much alive in the Cotswolds.

 

As one of the most heart-warming and breath taking areas in the country - once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never forget it. Which is why, there’s absolutely no excuse for not making your next trip a truly English one.

Centrally located, yet without a city in sight, the Cotswolds is a honey-coloured haven of picturesque villages, country pubs and the occasional alpaca.

 

Here is our quick guide to the best places to visit in the Cotswolds. That doesn’t mean however, that there are any bad parts. Because try as you might, you just won’t find any.  

 

Chipping Campden

Achingly pretty, this delightful village has more tea rooms, shops and pubs then you can shake a walking stick at. And talking of walking, Chipping Campden is an ideal spot to stretch your legs and take in the area on foot. Work up an appetite for a few cream teas with a good stroll through the village streets and nearby woodlands

 

Stanton

Its villages like Stanton that make the Cotswolds world famous. With the beautifully preserved stone houses and perfectly manicured hedges, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time. Or perhaps time has simply stood still in Stanton, where the perfectly kept gardens, streets and even lamp posts, are exactly the same as when they were first laid down.

 

Lower and Upper Slaughter

Make sure you have your camera charged! From the sparkling River Eye, to the purple lavenders accentuating every garden, this magical little village is the well-deserved recipient of the ‘Prettiest village in the Cotswolds’ title.  Just up the road from Lower Slaughter, the village of Upper Slaughter is quintessentially all that typifies the wonder of Middle England.

 

And what quintessentially English village wouldn’t be complete without an exquisite afternoon tea offering? This can be found in abundance at the Lords of the Manor Hotel, one of the finest buildings in the area, where an endless selection of tea, scrumptious scones and an impeccable service and setting awaits. This Michelin-starred hotel is also renowned for its gourmet dining and if you can get a table, you’re in for a treat.  

 

Stow-on-the-Wold

Whether you’re more Bargain Hunt or Antiques Roadshow, Stow-on-the-Wold is a treasure trove for those with an eye for the weird and wonderful. So if you’re on the lookout for the deal of the century, the historic streets of this chocolate box village could literally be lined with gold.

 

Bourton-on-the-Water

Often described as the ‘Little Venice’ of the Cotswolds, Burton-on-the-Water is a tourist hotspot only 4 miles from Stow-on-the-Wold. Straddling the river Windrush with a series of charming bridges and stone banks, this picture perfect village will simply melt your heart. 

 

Mickleton

In Mickleton, the Hidcote Manor Gardens invites you to “relax and unwind in one of the country’s great gardens and experience for yourself the fulfilment of a quiet American’s English fantasy” - and we strongly suggest you do.

The vision of American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote is an Arts and Crafts garden in the north Cotswolds. Created to surprise and enchant, this series of intricately designed outdoor ‘rooms’, narrow paved pathways, secret gardens and magnificent vistas, is an absolute must-see. So dig out your picnic blanket and pack a few egg and cress – you’ll want to make a day of it.   

 

Woodstock

Home to Blenheim Palace, birth Place of Winston Churchill, this fine Georgian town is steeped in Royal heritage. Often considered Britain’s finest palace, Blenheim boasts over 2,000 acres of landscaped parkland, complete with a great lake, formal gardens and plenty of meandering paths to explore. The town itself offers a number of boutiques, galleries, pubs and high end-restaurants sure to delight and entice.


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