All Cotswold locations
Stow On The Wold
Bourton On The Water
Cotswold Water Park
Moreton In Marsh
Wye Valley & Welsh Borders
The ancient village of <strong>Bampton</strong> lies in Oxfordshire, in the south of the Cotswolds. Until around 1850 it stood in the centre of a large area of common land and was known as 'Bampton in the Bush'. It is one of the oldest settlements in England and is sometimes described as a town because it was a market town until the 19th Century. While it is now officially designated a village, it has both a town and village hall.
At the time of the Norman Conquest Bampton was one of the largest settlements in Oxfordshire and its market was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. It has many lovely 17th and 18th century houses, several lively inns and a tiny early 19th century town hall.
For generations, Bampton has been known for its Morris Dancing traditions which are celebrated each late May Bank Holiday in the 'Bampton Day of Dance'. More recently, the village has become famous for being an outdoor filming location for popular TV drams 'Downton Abbey'.
Situated in the Somerset Countryside, only 100 miles west of London, lies the enchanting city of Bath. Renowned for its Roman heritage, beautiful Georgian architecture and impressive Abbey, the city is a favoutite with visitors from around the world.
Bath and its surrounding countryside offer a variety of visitor attractions, from gardens and stately homes to museums and art galleries. Bath city is easy to navigate on foot and a variety of city tours are available. It has a host of restaurants, theatres and public houses and is a haven for shoppers.
Bourton On The Water
Broadway is, quite simply, world famous and is regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Britain - with it's numerous Cotswold stone houses and cottages, ancient chestnut trees and impressive High Street.
Broadway has sometimes been described as the 'Jewel of the Cotswolds' due in the main to its stunning presence. The name 'Broad Way' comes from the wide main street which is centred around The Village Green and lined with red chestnut trees and many classic Cotswold stone buildings, some dating as far back as the 16th century.
The village has some excellent pubs, The Swan and The Crown and Trumpet to name just two, along with the famous hotel The Lygon Arms. The High Street is very long and at the Upper End it is quite stunning; almost dreamy! There are also some very good shops - especially those selling antiques.
The region around Broadway incorporates many lovely villages set in a beautiful landscape. We particularly recommend Stanton, Stanway and Snowshill. A circular walk takes in all three and there are some good pubs along the way!
Broadway is a perfect base for touring the Cotswolds, with Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon just fifteen miles away. There are also many National Trust properties and gardens nearby and for those wanting to explore the area in depth, there are many areas to go walking. Broadway is on the Cotswold Way and Broadway Tower (at the top of Fish Hill) offers one of the most spectular views of the Cotswolds. A must visit location!
Burford is widely considered to be one of the most picturesque towns in England (Forbes 5th Best place to live in the World!). With its medieval bridge, old stone houses and attractive Tudor and Georgian frontages, the town looks as attractive today as it did 500 years ago, when it was an important regional crossroads and wealthy wool town.
Little in Burford has changed over the centuries, and today it remains popular for its beauty and history and also for its shops, antiques and wide variety of places to eat, including restaurants, pubs and teashops.
Frequently described as the 'jewel in the crown' of Cotswold towns, Chipping Campden is also one of the best preserved and most historically important. Located in the northern Cotswolds, it is near to a host of Cotswold treats including Broadway, Snowshill and Stanton.
Chipping Campden has been thoroughly preserved and still presents the original character of a traditional Cotswold market town. There are many excellent pubs, hotels and restaurants in the village, all of which are frequented by locals and tourists alike.
The High Street is lined with a range of wonderful and intriguing shops, while in the town centre stands the Market Hall; built in 1627 for the sale of butter, cheese and poultry. Probably one of the most desireable locations in the region, Chipping Campden is a must-see for visitors to the Cotswolds.
Chipping Norton is situated at the highest point in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Once a centre for the Cotswold wool trade the town has a history dating back over 800 years with many buildings showing the prosperity brought by the wool. Later, sheep farming was largely replaced by arable, but agriculture remained important in this part of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Many of the original houses around the market place were rebuilt in the 18th century with fashionable Georgian frontages.
Renowned for its antique shops, Chipping Norton retains a robust living-working market town atmosphere. There is good choice of places to eat and top quality entertainment at the wonderful Theatre, famous for its pantomime and visiting world class performers. Chipping Norton is an excellent base for exploring further afield: easily accessible by road and rail, right on the edge of the Cotswolds and lying between Oxford and Stratford upon Avon.
Cirencester has been described as the 'Capital of the Cotswolds'. It has the unmistakable air of a lively market town with its street market (held in the large and impressive Market Place) still a colourful twice-weekly feature of town life. Cirencester's origins lie in the Roman period when it was one of the regional capitals of Roman Britain. The Corinium Museum in the town tells this story, displaying reconstructions of how life was in Roman Cirencester, then known as Corinium Dobunnorum.
Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, the town is ideally located for almost all of the region's attractions. It has is a wide variety of shops, restaurants and much more making it well worth a visit during your stay in the Cotswolds.
Cotswold Water Park
The Cotswold Water Park is NOT what you might think! There are no water slides or log flumes; it is, in fact, a collection of 150 lakes - making it one of the UK's largest Nature Reserves - with many species previously lost being reintroduced successfully into the wild. Its development into what it is today started only 50 years ago when the gravel extraction left behind huge lakes ideal for a variety of uses, including natural redevelopment, some water activities (fishing, sailing) and a generally peaceful environment.
The Water Park is the catchment area of the Upper Thames where, over millions of years, vast deposits of sand and gravel were laid down as the Cotswolds was eroded into the Thames. There are a number of villages which sit either in the designated Cotswold Water Park or just outside it. While there is still some gravel extraction today, the area is best known as a Site of Specific Interest for its geology and various Nature Reserves providing protected areas for endangered wildlife.
Hay On Wye
Hay-on-Wye, often abbreviated to 'Hay', is a small market town and community in Powys, Wales, adjacent to the English border. Described as 'the town of books', it is the National Book Town of Wales, with around 40 bookshops. It also has a number of galleries, antique shops and craft shops, while just a mile away in Clyro there are a several small and unique commercial art galleries. Located within the Brecon Beacons National Park - known for its stunning scenery and a wealth of outdoor activities - Hay-on-Wye is the ideal base from which to explore the area.
Lechlade On Thames
Lechlade on Thames is a small market town (or large village!) perched on the River Thames on the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire border, roughly in the southern Cotswolds. Lechlade is so called because it's near to the River Leach which joins the Thames nearby. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is within easy reach of Swindon, Cirencester, Cheltenham, Burford and Oxford.
The town has a good selection of pubs and shops but these are of more a convenience nature than a shopping hub! Although it isn't true Cotswolds' countryside, it is an attractive area with some super surrounding villages. Examples include stunning Southrop, Little Faringdon, the Eastleach villages and Clanfield; all well worth a look.
Lechlade is close to the Cotswold Lakes / Cotswold Water Park which offers a great many things to do, according to your taste. We'd say that this is a relatively unknown area in our region, but one you should visit if you can.
Ledbury is one of England's text book black and white market towns, full of stunning examples of timber-framed buildings. The 17th century black and white Market House, which had originally served as a grain store, dominates the town centre and is supported on pillars of chestnut. It was completed in 1653 by John Abel, the King's carpenter. Another fine example of black and white architecture is The Feathers Hotel on the High Street.
Lower Brailes is an attractive village situated at the northern tip of the Cotswolds, on the edge of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. The 'area' of Brailes comprises Lower and Upper Brailes, Sutton under Brailes and a sweet little hamlet called Winderton.
Lower Brailes is probably the largest of the three villages, with a local shop, small hotel and pub. It enjoys a rural setting and is within an an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - but equally, it is well positioned for access to the motorway network and specifically the M40. The village has a long history with some very old family names dating back hundreds of years still living locally... which suggests it can't be a bad place to live - or holiday - in!
Malmesbury is a small, ancient market town located in the southern Cotswolds with a history dating from the 5th Century. The town is the oldest borough in England, having been granted its charter by King Edward in 924. Malmesbury also boasts England's oldest hotel, the Old Bell, which has been offering bed and board since 1220.
The town has a wealth of 17th and 18th century buildings, many of which are now host to bright and friendly shops and inns. It is famous for its 7th Century Abbey and Gardens and its extensive collection of roses. With the abbey as a dramatic backdrop, its five acres feature more than 10,000 plant varieties spread between formal gardens dotted with fish ponds and a wilder section that cascades into a valley cut through by a tributary of the River Avon.
Moreton In Marsh
Moreton in Marsh, one of the northern Cotswolds' most active market towns, is located at the head of the beautiful Evenlode Valley. It is a thriving town with a history dating back over 1000 years to the Saxon era. Its broad High Street is lined with elegant 17th and 18th Century buildings, among them the White Hart Royal, a former manor house in which King Charles I sheltered during the Civil War.
The town has a wide range of shops, including antiques, plus resturants, pubs and inns. More of an active 'locals' town, it has, every Tuesday, the largest open-air street market in the Cotswolds. It is also the venue for a successful one-day agricultural show held on the first Saturday in September - The Moreton Show. There are many attractions within a short drive including Batsford Arboretum, Bourton House Garden, Cotswold Falconry Centre and the Cotswold Farm Park.
Northleach is a small market town situated deep in the Cotswold hills, in the county of Gloucestershire - approximately 20 minutes west of Burford and 15 minutes east of Cheltenham. Although it is probably best reached by car, the nearest train stations are Charlbury and Moreton in Marsh, both of which are about 30 mins away.
While it is described as a 'town', like so many other places in the Cotswolds, Northleach is actually more like a big village - with a small market square and some simple but attractive shops including a wine store, cafe, newsagent and butcher. Fortunately, it also has one of the Cotswolds' best pubs - The Wheatsheaf - which has won many awards. There are two other good pubs - The Red Lion and The Sherborne Inn.
The town/village has a magnificent church, descibed by some as the Cathedral of the Cotswolds, and when you see it you'll understand why! The reason for such a church is primarily due to the fact that Northleach was once a major hub for the wool trade, given its location just off the Fosse Way.
We have a selection of cottages in the surrounding villages, including the amazing Notgrove Estate, please click for further details.
Painswick is a stunning village-come-town located deep in the rolling hills of the Cotswold countryside. Sometimes described as the Queen of the Cotswolds it has a long history (once it was the main wool town) and some gorgeous architecture - in fact, many of the historic buildings here were built using stone from local Painswick quarries.
Today it is home to the oldest building in England to have a Post Office, as well as the oldest bowling green in England. The stunning church 'The Church of St Mary' (originally Norman) was extended circa 1480 while the churchyard is famous for its 99 yew trees - legend has it that the 100th won't grow. A closer look at the church tower reveals traces of Painswick's role in the Civil War.
There are many small shops and galleries to browse plus pubs, restaurants and tea shops serving good food.
Raglan is a busy and popular village with a thriving community, set deep in Monmouthshire countrsyide. The village has a long history and today is probably best known for Raglan Castle, which is a popular tourist spot. It has a host of amenities including a recommended local pub.
Ross On Wye
Ross-on-Wye is a small, picturesque market town in south eastern Herefordshire. Located above the River Wye and on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean, it is the southern gateway to Herefordshire, the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean and the dramatic Symonds. It is just an hour by road from the cities of Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff and has long been a magnet for visitors.
On a clear day, Ross-on-Wye has spectacular views across to the Malvern Hills in the east and the Black Mountains in the west, plus May Hill just over the border in Gloucestershire. St Mary’s Church spire has shaped the skyline of the town for over 700 years and the 17th Century Market House in its centre still shelters twice weekly markets beneath its sandstone arches.
Somerford Keynes is a small village located within the Cotswold Water Park, just 5 miles to the south of Cirencester. It has a long history dating back thousands of years and today it has many classic Cotswolds cottages and houses, giving it true traditional appeal. To the south of the village is the Lower Mill Estate, a small development of holiday homes located around various lakes.
Somerford Keynes is also on one of the main tributaries of the River Thames, although here is it is only a small stream! There is a small local pub, which is recommended.
Stow On The Wold
For many, Stow on the Wold is the most easily recognisable of Cotswold towns and locations. It is renowned specifically for its antiques shops as well as its delightful Market Square, cafes, excellent pubs and attractive buildings. It is situated on the Roman Fosse Way and has a long history, with origins as a prehistoric fortified settlement on top of the hill.
The Market Square is large and impressive, surrounded by houses, shops and inns all built in the local Cotswold stone. It gives the impression of having been the focus of town life over many centuries.
At nearly 800 feet above sea levelt, Stow-on-the-Wold is the highest of the Cotswold towns, approached uphill from all directions.
Stratford Upon Avon
Accommodation in Stratford Upon Avon is easily accessible by rail, road and air and is quintessentially Old England. Based in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, the town is famously known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
Stratford Upon Avon is a market town with over 800 years of history, which will transport you back in time with its architecture, theatres and historical places to visit. Read our guide to Stratford Upon Avon for details.
Tetbury is one of the most beautiful (and still relatively unknown) Cotswold towns. It has many elegant buildings which help to create its timeless beauty; a delight for those who visit this hidden jewel of the Cotswolds. A thriving market town built around its outstanding seventeenth century Market Hall, Tetbury offers a unique retail experience with its many individually owned shops and being a major centre for antiques.
The town is a designated outstanding conservation area, with its Georgian Gothic church which has one of the tallest spires in the UK, and its many other listed buildings. It has also been the winner of Gloucestershire’s Best Market Town Award.
Tetbury is world-renowned for its unique Royal associations. Highgrove, home of HRH The Prince of Wales is situated just outside Tetbury, and Gatcombe Park, home of the Princess Royal is also nearby. The town is close to an array of popular attractions, offering interesting days out, fun and relaxation - something for everyone!
Witcombe is a small village situated in a wide valley on the slopes of Birdlip Hill, at the edge of the Cotswold escarpment. It lies within Great Witcombe Park Estate and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The old Roman road from Gloucester to Cirencester runs through it and the foundations of a Roman Villa are located nearby.
At the heart of the village stands St. Mary's Church, from which the far-reaching woods on the surrounding hills can be seen. The nearby wildlife reserve at the three reservoirs is home to many swans and grebes. The neighbouring villages of Little Witcombe and Bentham share the village hall and corner shop, which are situated in Little Witcombe, as is The Twelve Bells pub.
Witney is a busy, thriving market town located within the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. It is well known for its blanket industry and owes much of its prosperity to the wool trade - incorporating examples of architecture resulting from the wealth it brought. It is the largest of the market towns in the region and has a wide variety of shops including several large supermarkets. Of particluar interest is the the 17th century Butter Cross, the fine tree-bordered green and the church of St Mary the Virgin with its 150ft spire.
A long attractive high street runs from the Butter Cross and features the 18th century town hall, the Blanket Hall and the Victorian Corn Exchange. The town has a bustling atmosphere with a good range of shops, plus a twice weekly market.
Woodstock, situated on the edge of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, is just 8 miles outside the 'dreaming spires' of Oxford - one of England's most attractive cities. Woodstock is renowned for its association with Sir Winston Churchill and especially his birth place - Blenheim Palace.
Woodstock is a fine Georgian town containing many attractive period buildings: including the 17th century Fletcher’s House, home to the excellent Oxfordshire Museum and a Visitor Information Point, the 18th century Town Hall and the Church of St Mary Magdalene.
The town has excellent antique shops as well as an interesting selection of other shops and galleries, plus some excellent pubs and restaurants. The Kings Head, The Black Prince and The Malborough Arms are all favourites with us.
Wye Valley & Welsh Borders
While staying in the Wye Valley visitors can choose to relax with gentle walks along the river, stroll through numerous towns such as Monmouth, Ledbury, Walford and Hay-on-Wye or, for those wishing to be more active, there are many biking trails, water sports and other outdoor activities available, including tandem paragliding, abseiling and hiking. Read our guide to the Wye Valley for more information.
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