We all love to take home a souvenir or two from our holidays, and Cotswolds holidays are no different. Whether your preference is for paintings, pottery or pieces of antique furniture, your base in one of Manor Cottages' delightful Cotswolds cottages could not provide you with better access to some of the region's finest examples.
With names such as William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, linked to the Cotswolds, and an Arts and Crafts heritage which goes back to the late 19th century, it is small wonder that there are so many fine examples of local arts and crafts to be had in the local villages and towns. Stroud, for example, has built up a reputation for being the 'in' place for writers, poets, artists and craftsmen and women.
The 1880s, the time when the American illustrator and painter Francis Millet first visited and fell in love with the village of Broadway, saw the 'founding' of the Broadway Colony, a group of American artists who settled and worked in the town. Known as the 'Jewel of the Cotswolds' and a favourite retreat of William Morris himself, this idyllic town is where you will now find some of the finest art galleries in the country, but be warned, if you are thinking of choosing a piece to take home, take your cheque book. The works that you will see on display are not churned out for the tourists, but are high quality paintings which fetch a lot of money.
Such is the standing of Broadway, that it is soon to be showcased as a top destination for the arts, when the first of a series of biennial arts festivals begins in June 2010. The first festival is to be dedicated to the work of artist John Singer Sargent and his famous painting Carnations, Lily, Lily Rose.
To this day, painters, artists and sculptors are drawn to this part of the world. Leading Cotswolds water colourist, Peter Hodges, for example, whose work concentrates on Cotswolds landscapes, is based in Evesham, whilst sculptor, Tom Harvey, whose work can be seen in parks in the region, lives in Tewkesbury. Whilst these particular examples of his work might be a little large to take home, they are certainly worth a visit.
If it is antiques that you are looking for, then Stow-on-the-Wold is the place to go, particularly for antique furniture. Antique shops dominate this lovely little market town and indeed the choice available could easily rival many antiques centres in the country. Of course, Stow is not the only Cotswold town or village to sell antiques, and most will provide you with at least a few to choose from. The historic, and rather upper class town of Tetbury, for example, has an excellent range of shops.
As you travel around the area, you will come across many craft shops, studios and markets where you can watch the craftsmen and women at work, or simply browse for a souvenir or that special gift for somebody back home.