The Cotswolds offer something exciting to do every day. There is always something to see, do, study or observe in this historic region. Visitors cannot help but feel the history, adventure and scenic beauty of the region.
For example, if you want to visit the oldest Bowling Green in Britain, you merely need to visit the Falcon Inn at Painwick, where more than 400 years ago, gentlemen began to bowl after a long day of hunting in the surrounding terrain. One cannot escape the history and beauty of the local environment. The lord of the manor, also entertained his guests with cock fighting at the pit next to the green. The Bowling Green is still in play and has been used by the Falcon Club since the 20th century. There is a good amount of charm, some pretty fierce competition and volumes of history to be enjoyed at these matches.
Historic Churches Galore
In the peaceful village of Elkstone, located off A417 from Gloucester to Cirencester, resides the strikingly powerful Norman church of St. John. People travel from around the world to see the architecture and marvel at the detail of this unforgettable church, one of many in the Cotswolds. This church is filled with intricate Norman carvings of monsters and birds and still contains several table top tombs.
Meanwhile, the quiet village is a terrific starting point for long or short walks that encompass spectacular upland and woodland scenery. Elkstone also thrives on a number of events each year that draw visitors from around Britain and from other countries.
The Cotswolds also feature some of the country’s most striking wall paintings at Stowell, Baunton and Hailes but if you want to see exquisite wall hangings, just travel to Lower Oddington where the entire north wall is covered with hangings depicting most famously the Seven Acts of Mercy and vivid images from the Day of Doom.
In the 15th century church at Fairford, one cannot help but marvel at the 28 stained glass windows. This collection is the only medieval glazing scheme still existing in England. The glass is the creation of Barard Fowler who also designed the windows at Kings College Cambridge.
The only Church Circular Nave in England can be found at St Michael Church at Garway in Herefordshire. This church was built in the 13th century.
Cotswold Filming Locations
For those who understand the magnificent history, architecture and breathtaking landscape of the Cotswolds, it will be no surprise that the area is one of the country’s most popular modern day and historical filming locations.
From Harry Potter to the BBC’s Tess of the D'Urbervilles, to the James Bond thriller Die Another Day, the unforgettable Bridget Jones Diary, the classic Remains of the Day and Pride and Prejudice, the Cotswold’s has hosted some of the filming industry’s biggest productions and stars. The TV industry has also thrived on settings in the Cotswolds.
Popular Harry Potter sites are Gloucester Cathedral. A visit here will make you feel part of the popular films that have starred Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Grainger), Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Zoe Wannamaker and Rik Mayall. Location: Gloucester Cathedral.
In Oxford, you can visit the Christ Church College, the scene of Harry Potter’s Hogwart’s school scenes. It will all look familiar. Hundreds of famous films have been filmed in the Cotswolds so if things look more familiar than you anticipated, it is understandable.
The Cotswolds Gardens
Touring the Cotswolds must include viewing the most spectacular gardens and scenery in England. The rare limestone, grassland habitat of the region is filled with ancient beechwoods and exquisitely rare flora. Cleve Hill is one of the many protected areas under the Wildlife and Co0untryside Act of 1981 in the Cotswolds.
The area thrills the senses with rich aromas and fragrant delights as well a magnificent natural beauty. The Cotswold Hills rise subtly west from the green meadows of the Thames and reach a crest just above the Severn Valley and Eveshaven Vale. This area represents the fullness of the Cotswold natural beauty.
Gardens dot the stately, historic mansions and most of the private residences in the region. Gardening is a passion and long-standing tradition here. Most of the mansions open the gardens as soon as the weather permits.
Some of the country’s most famous gardens have been created by legends in the industry. Capability Brown, William Kent and Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe have all designed gardens in the Cotswolds.
In the Cotswolds, it is common to see gorgeous limestone cottages with clematis and wisterias climbing the walls. In the Vale of Evesham, see the Apple and Plum blossom in April and May. During June and July, Hollyhock bursts onto the scene and in the late fall, roses burst into full glory. There’s something for everyone in the Cotswolds but if you have seen the nature, you have missed an important part of the experience.