The Cotswolds - travel, accommodation and attraction information

The Cotswolds travel guide

The Cotswolds - honey-coloured villages, rolling hills and excellent pubs

The Cotswolds is an area of gentle hills lying between the enticing cities of Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, and Oxford. It’s quintessential England, with pretty villages of honey-coloured stone, manor houses, charming churches, dry-stone walls and country pubs.

Memory of Cotswold Way

“I never realised that there was such beauty in my own country”

Ian Jarrett, Manchester

Cuture & heritage

The Cotswolds owe much to the superior quality of their medieval sheep. Wealth from wool established the great “wool” churches and created the landscape with its dry-stone walls to enclose the animals. The area includes a variety of other notable architecture, including black and white medieval buildings at Tewkesbury and elegant Regency houses in Cheltenham.

Shopping

From traditional antique shops at Stow-on-the-Wold and Tetbury to contemporary crafts in Cirencester, you’ll find a whole range of great local shops. There is also fashionable clothes and gift shopping in Regency Cheltenham, high quality items at Prince Charles’s Highgrove shop in Tetbury, and food shopping, including delicious local fare at Daylesford Organic Farmshop.

Attractions

The Cotswolds has one of the most enchanting natural settings in Britain. Visit leafy gardens, both large and small, two arboretums, National Trust properties, and some small but lovely museums. Of national importance are the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucester Cathedral, the Westonbirt Arboretum and Hidcote Manor Garden.

Top daytime must-do's

Top night time must-do's

Enjoy lush gardens, like Hidcote Manor or Kiftsgate Court.

Catch a play at the historic Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham (a Frank Matcham designed building).

Walk the Cotswold Way, a National Trail which runs between Chipping Campden and Bath.

Enjoy a summer show at Longborough Festival Opera or a concert at Westonbirt Arboretum .

Learn about the Arts and Crafts Movement at Kelmscott Manor and Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum .

Stay out for the lively Festival of Literature or Jazz.

Visit Gloucester Cathedral or Tewkesbury Abbey for imposing religious architecture.

In winter, spend a bewitching candlelit evening at Berkeley Castle or Blenheim Palace .

Watch wildlife at the Cotswold Farm Park or the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust .

Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a great country pub.

 

Sport

The Cotswolds is horseriding heaven, with the National Hunt Festival (including the Gold Cup) taking over for a week in March, plus more horse-related events at Gatcombe and Badminton. There are also well regarded cricket festivals at Gloucester and Cheltenham, and, of course, the “cherry and whites” – Rugby at Gloucester.

Food & drink

Gloucestershire has a large section of excellent pubs, from smart gastropubs to traditional inns. Many serve a great choice of wines as well as local beers. You’ll also find farmers’ markets, delis, farm shops and prize-winning cheese producers all selling the freshest local produce.

Music & nightlife

From festivals of folk, classical music and Jazz, to summer opera and concerts in the open air, there’s music playing all year long throughout the Cotswolds. There’s also the prestigious classical music celebration, the Three Choirs Festival every three years.

Buy before you fly

To make your trip to the Cotswolds easier, you can buy tickets to attractions, travel passes, and much more at our online shop, and avoid the queues! For more great offers, go to VisitBritain Shop .


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The CotswoldsFacts

Population
83,900
Region
South West England
Closest airports
Birmingham, Bristol, Heathrow
Famous locals
J K Rowling, Kate Winslet
Local food
Cheeses, including double and single...
Nearest towns / cities
Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury,...

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