Why you should visit the Cotswolds
- Incredibly pretty with glorious, honey-coloured towns and villages such as Broadway, Burford and Chedworth.
- The biggest of the 38 areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales
- Home to some impressive manmade structures built for royalty such as Highgrove Estate
- Exceptional gardens and arboretums such as Hidcote, Corsham Court and Westonbirt Arboretum
- Quirky events like the annual Cheese-Rolling competition, highlighting the eccentric spirit of the Cotswolds
- Find some of the country's most cultured small cities, such as Cheltenham, Cirencester, Oxford and Bath
- Stay in some of the best hotels in Britain from boutique spa hotels to old manor houses
- Eat at gastro pubs, traditional taverns and Michelin Star restaurants using delicious local produce
- Exceptional hiking and biking opportunities
Our Specialist 'Must Do'
Visit Westonbirt Arboretum for the autumn colours.
A little more about the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that runs through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire) in the southwest of England. Picture England in your mind’s eye and you are likely to conjure up an image of the Cotswolds with its golden stone buildings and rolling, green hills (‘wolds’). It is home to an abundance of beautiful gardens and manor houses such as Prince Charles’s south Gloucestershire home Highgrove, built in 1796. There are fascinating, market towns and idyllic villages where shopping at a local farmers' market, drinking a leisurely pint in a seventeenth century pub or savouring a meal in a Michelin star restaurant are not to be missed. The Cotswolds is renowned for its rural lifestyle, where horse-riding, fishing and walks in the countryside are an integral part of life.
Cirencester, steeped in Roman history, was the second biggest town after London during the Roman occupation in AD2. Many of the small market towns were built on the wool trade with 12th century churches and great manor houses standing testament to the wealth that was created. There are hotels to suit all pockets and some quirky festivals to be found all year round – the horse fair at Stow on the Wold, cheese rolling at Brockworth and the traditional woolsack race in Tetbury. In winter there is the spectacle of fox hunting, whilst in summer there is cricket on the village green.
WHEN TO GO TO the cotswolds
Many would say that May or June were the best months to visit the Cotswolds. The flowers are out, the fields are full of green crops, daylight hours are long, there is a reasonable chance that the weather will be ok and it isn't too busy.
July and August is English school summer holidays and peak tourist season, so the Cotswolds tends to be at its busiest. It is easy to escape the crowds by venturing into lesser known villages in the area.
September and the beginning of October can be lovely but is slightly less picturesque as it is after harvest and many of the fields will be brown. It is great for wild blackberry picking though and the autumn colours and light can be breathtakingly beautiful.
Christmas is also a very special time in the Cotswolds with villages and towns lit up with Christmas lights, night markets and the welcome of cosy pubs and hotels with roaring fires. The countryside isn't at it's best but the atmosphere.
There is relatively limited public transport in the Cotswold region so for practical purposes most visitors will need a car or arrive into the region by train.
Trains from London's Paddington Station venture into the Cotswolds. The only line that goes through the heart of the Cotswolds runs from Oxford through the Cotswolds to Hereford and Worcester. Moreton in the Marsh being the main station about a 90 minute journey. Also from Paddington you can take an alternative line to Gloucester stopping at Kemble Station, just south of Cirencester.
The region is ringed by a triangle of motorways. From London a favourite approach would be up the M40 to Oxford from London, perhaps entering the Cotswold region at somewhere like Burford.