The Cotswolds is one of the UK’s most charming regions. It is largely a rural region comprising of rolling hills, winding rivers, quaint villages and forests, and it lies within the borders of some of England’s prettiest counties, including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Somerset. In 1966 the area was designated an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ and it’s not hard to see why! It’s not just the countryside that is so beautiful in the Cotswolds - it is also sprinkled with picturesque villages, towns and cities that are all worth a day trip! Keep an eye out as well - the Cotswolds is home to many famous people including Lily Allen, Hugh Grant and JK Rowling!. You never know who might be living next door to your holiday cottage!
Where to Stay in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is a popular tourist destination and there is a huge selection of holiday accommodation available. If you are planning a trip to this beautiful area, check out Wimdu’s range of Cotswolds cottages, self-catering holiday homes and bed and breakfast options. You can easily search our website to narrow down your choices to exactly what you need, whether that is a family cottage with extra bedrooms and suitable for children, or a cosy rental for a romantic weekend break – we’re sure you’ll find something that takes your fancy!
Fun Facts about the Cotswolds
- In the 1920s, JM Barrie, the author of Peter Pan stayed regularly in the Cotswolds village of Stanway. He made a local cricket team, which included the likes of HG Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle!
- £130 million pounds is generated by the 38 million visitors to the Cotswolds every year!
- The most visited church in the UK is the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon as it is where William Shakespeare is buried
Things to See and Do
There’s so much to see and do in the Cotswolds! Check out the picturesque city of Bath to the south of the region. It is Britain’s only UNESCO World Heritage City and is famous for its ancient Roman baths which were built by the Romans after they discovered the hot springs in the region. Bath Cathedral is also an impressive site and lies in the picturesque city centre. Many tourists from all over the world flock to the city to admire the white sandstone streets, amazing Georgian architecture and quintessential English atmosphere.
Lying right at the centre of the Cotswolds lies the attractive city of Cheltenham. Much like Bath, Cheltenham’s buildings are made from local sandstone giving the town a very distinctive feel. Cheltenham is a popular shopping destination with a great range of boutiques and interesting local shops! To the north of the Cotswolds lies one of the regions most famous towns - the popular tourist destination of Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The town is a major theatre going destination and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is an extremely prestigious place, showcasing the Bard’s plays. If you are renting a cottage in Stratford, be sure to try and pick up tickets for whatever is showing at the theatre!
Don’t overlook the smaller places, buried deep in the gorgeous Cotswolds countryside. Bourton on Water (the most visited village in the Cotswolds), and Tewkesbury are surrounded by amazing countryside that is perfect for walkers. These villages are the perfect places to use as a base for your explorations! Check out the Roman ruins located near Chedworth or the grand stately homes at Snowshill Manor or Chavenage. They offer an insight into life in the Cotswolds in times go by! Perhaps the grandest Cotswold stately home of all is Chastleton House which has been looked after by the National Trust since 1991. It is one of England’s finest Jacobean houses and is filled with antique furniture and objects from this fascinating part of English history. The home is surrounded by well-maintained gardens that are also a pleasure to walk around.
Eating and Drinking
Throughout the Cotswolds you’ll find some excellent places to eat and drink. Country pubs are big business in the region and you’ll find a wealth of great pubs and restaurants offering excellent local food and drink. Make sure you try some locally brewed real ale, it’s delicious! Over one hundred cheeses are produced in the Cotswolds and look out for these too! There are also loads of great farmers markets throughout the region - if you’re in self-catering accommodation then we recommend you take a basket and fill it up, for an impromptu picnic back at your holiday cottage!
There are several towns in the Cotswolds that have train stations – there are major stations in Cheltenham and Gloucester which have direct connections with London and the Welsh capital of Cardiff respectively. There are airports in Birmingham to the north of the Cotswolds and Bristol to the south. Birmingham Airport is one of England’s best airports and is a pleasure to use. However, if you are able to, the Cotswolds is best explored with a car, as many of the prettiest and cutest villages are poorly serviced by public transport. The author Bill Bryson has even said it’s the best way to see the region! Buses are quite limited throughout the Cotswolds, particularly in the more rural areas. Due to the relative wealth of the area there is little demand for good public transport as most people prefer to use cars to get around. If you don’t have access to a car, then make sure your bed and breakfast isn’t too off the beaten track and you’ll still have a lovely time in this stunning corner of England.