When people think of idyllic English countryside, chances are they’re picturing the Cotswolds – an area famed for its rolling hills, sweeping vistas and plenty of amazing things to do. This beautiful corner of England has been brought to life on canvas by artists such as Gainsborough, Constable, and Turner, and provided a backdrop for the fictional worlds of The Bronte Sisters and Jane Austen and even inspired the great poet, William Blake. The Cotswolds covers a huge area – almost 800 square miles – and runs through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire). One of the delights of visiting the Cotswolds is exploring the different areas, each with its own identity, yet all with those defining Cotswold features: golden stone and rolling hills, the ‘wolds’.
Explore quintessentially English villages of honey-coloured stone; take in splendid, lively market towns; visit some of the country’s greatest palaces, castles and country houses; marvel at the natural world in acclaimed reserves and at some of the most famous arboretas in Britain; walk through breath-taking landscapes along historic trails; or make a splash in our lake-land area with its own inland beach.
There’s a vibrant buzz in places like Cheltenham, Cirencester, Tewkesbury, Stroud and Witney. There are many exciting things to do for all the family. And an arty heartbeat too – which extends to the wealth of festivals and events that are testimony to the creative vibe of the region.
The Cotswolds is also richly rural: more than 3,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways to explore; ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows; 4,000 miles of historic Cotswold stone walls dividing up the landscape.
Unsurprisingly this landscape provides a rich harvest of food and drink with local cheeses, meats and drinks appearing prominently on the menus of the gastro pubs, old inns, colourful cafes and fine dining restaurants scattered generously across the region.