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Image – Roman Villa – courtesy of www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
The Cotswolds is steeped in history and heritage, scattered as it is with Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age remains. Centuries ago it was made wealthy by the wool trade, and the results of that wealth can be seen in its many fine manor houses and churches. Visitors to the Cotswolds have the opportunity to explore a host of museums, cathedrals and houses, many of which were once occupied by some very famous people.
For visitors seeking a Cotswolds holiday suffused with history, here are some recommendations:
Situated by the River Windrush, two miles east of Burford, you will find the quintessentially English village of Swinbrook. Barely touched for generations, this Cotswold stone village is a real gem. The 12th century church of St Mary’s is full of historical interest but is perhaps most famous for its association with the ‘Mitford sisters’ – the six daughters of the 2nd Baron Redesdale; Deborah, Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity and Jessica.
The sisters’ celebrity and sometimes scandalous lives have been much documented and the graves of four of them, together with their parents and a plaque to their brother Tom, can be found in St Mary’s churchyard. The late Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, was born at nearby Asthall Manor and maintained links with Swinbrook, not least as owner of The Swan Inn, which is very popular with visitors to the area.
For holiday properties in Swinbrook visit: http://www.manorcottages.co.uk/cottages/in/swinbrook
The beautiful village of Doughton (pronounced ‘Doveton’) lies on the doorstep of Highgrove, home to HRH the Prince of Wales. This area is known as the high Cotswolds and Doughton Manor, completed in 1641, is a conservative Jacobean country house typical of the Cotswold style. Although it was later a farmhouse, part of its appeal is that it has remained little altered over the years.
For local self-catering accommodation visit: www.manorcottages.co.uk/cottages/in/doughton
The gardens at of Highgrove are outstanding and well worth a visit, but you need to book onto a scheduled tour. Tetbury, the local town, is awash with antique stores – perfect for pottering about in before a spot of tea in one of the many coffee shops and cafes. The 18th century Gothic church of St Mary’s can be found here and there are many 17th and 18th century historic buildings to be admired during a stroll around the town. Tetbury House accommodates 4 people and provides the perfect base for this area.
Lying on the southern most edge of the Cotswolds, 12 miles from Bath, the charming village of Castle Combe is among the prettiest in England, with a long history to boot! The original site dates back to Roman days, when it served as a British hill fort. Subsequently, in Norman times, the fort was built up into the castle. During the Middle Ages, Castle Combe became an important centre for the wool industry, with the river – still known as By Brook – providing power to run the mills. More recently the village has hosted many filming activities, including ‘Doctor Doolittle’ and ‘War Horse’.
Local buildings are typically 'Cotswolds'; many being hundreds of years old and listed as ancient monuments. Nearby the stately homes and gardens of Bowood House, Longleat and Stourhead are well worth a visit, as are sites of historical interest such as Stonehenge and the Wiltshire White Horses.
The Cotswold Hills rise and fall into steep valleys between Dursley and Nailsworth and it is here that you’ll find the remote hamlet of Owlpen, with its Manor House, Victorian church, idyllic cottages and farms.
Owlpen Manor, a Tudor Grade I listed manor house, is open to the public together with its stately gardens and a restaurant. Built of Cotswold stone, the Manor is a magnificent building, standing as it does on a site inhabited since Saxon times. The interior contains a fine Tudor Great Hall, Jacobean wing and Georgian parlour, plus an impressive collection of wall hangings. Outside, the source of the River Cam can be found in Owlpen Park, high above the Manor.
For details of eight unique holiday cottages on the Owlpen Estate, see www.manorcottages.co.uk/cottages/in/owlpen.
To browse our complete holiday cottage collection, visit www.manorcottages.co.uk . As always, our friendly and knowledgeable team is on hand to help you find the ideal holiday cottage and location to suit your needs. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01993 824252.