cotswolds, bibury

Bibury

Bibury

William Morris described Bibury as one of the prettiest villages in England, and few would argue with him. It attracts the crowds, and is thus the stop-off point for many coach tours. It is a honey-pot village made up of rose-covered cottages set behind idyllic kitchen gardens, and all overlook the sleepy River Coln inhabited by swans, trout and duckling. During the C17 Bibury was notorious as a buccaneering centre for gambling and horse racing. Today, it is the first stop-off point for many Japanese visitors, all anxious to get a snap of the iconic Arlington Row. There is a well trod circular walk to Coln St Aldwyns, and for the more adventurous a circular off-road cycling route. See our Walking/Cycling publications for further details.

 

“Special Places” to Visit

Arlington Row
Bibury Trout Farm
Church of St Mary



cotswolds, bourton-on-the-water

Bourton-On-The-Water

Bourton-On-The-Water

One of the most popular beauty spots in the Cotswolds but best visited out of season or at daybreak. It can be charming on a quiet frostbitten morning when only the postman is out and about, so be advised to avoid a busy bank holiday when the hordes arrive in coaches and their charabancs. With ice cream in hand the visitors sit beside the river wetting their bare feet in the Windrush, and there’s not a stitch of green grass visible through all the paraphernalia. The tourist brochures describe it as ‘The Venice of the Cotswolds,' no doubt, because the River Windrush is spanned with low graceful bridges. You must, however, look beyond the crowdsand the tacky gift shops and wander the little streets for there are some beautiful houses to admire. 

Bourton may not thrill the jaded teenager or hard-bitten traveller, but it will delight small children - mine loved to run across the little bridges, paddle in the river and feed the ducks, and you have, of course, Birdland, the Model Village, the Motoring Museum and the Model Railway, all devised for family fun and rainy days. The village is built above Salmonsbury Camp, a Roman settlement, and also above a former underground reservoir. It is not an uncommon sight to see a sprightly pensioner move into the village, and within eighteen months, be seen wobbling along the lane, bent double by the damp. Bourton has its fair share of pubs that cater for the tourist. Perhaps, the most traditional bar is in the Old New Inn. Tearooms are plentiful. July Carnival. Water Game - August BH Sa.  

 

“Special Places” to Visit

Birdland Park & Gardens
Cotswold Farm Park
Cotswold Motoring Museum
Cotswold Perfumery
Dragonfly Maze
Model Railway & Model Village
Santhill Fisheries



cotswolds, bredon hills villages

Bredon Hill's Villages

Bredon Hill's Villages

A circumnavigation of Bredon Hill is a fine introduction to the beautiful villages of Kemerton, Overbury, Conderton, Ashton-under-Hill and Elmley Castle. A lovely mixture of Cotswold stone, and black-and-white timbered buildings with many fine Inns, and peaceful churchyards. Various footpaths lead up to the summit from Elmley and Kemerton. Superb views from this isolated limestone hill at 961 ft. where you will find an Iron Age fort with two ramparts. Scene of great battle at time of Christ possibly against the Belgic invaders. The hacked remains of 50 men were found near the entrance. Superb views over to Wales, theV ale of Evesham, the rivers Severn and Avon, and to the Cotswold hills.

 

“Special Places” to Visit

Beckford Silk
Bredon Barn
Bredon Hill Fort
Conderton Pottery



cotswolds, broadway

Broadway

Broadway

The Painted Lady of the Cotswolds’ is a term often used to describe this beautiful village. The honey-coloured stone captivates the visitor today, as it did in the C19, when William Morris and his pre-Raphaelite friends settled here. A slow walk up the High Street will unfold some large and impressive houses, former homes to Edward Elgar, JM Barrie (Peter Pan), Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir Gerald Navarro MP and Laura Ashley. These great houses with bow windows, dormers and finely graduated stone roofs are usually hidden behind statuesque gates. There are a number of fine hotels, restaurants, tearooms, art galleries and a fine bookshop.

 

“Special Places” to Visit

Ashmolean Museum
Broadway Tower Country Park
Buckland Church St Michaels
Gordon Russell Museum
Richard Hagen Gallery
St Eadburgh’s Church
Trinity House Gallery



cotswolds, burford

Burford

Burford

The first major Cotswold town you come to if travelling West from the East, and its an impressive introduction to Cotswold architecture. The wide High Street with its classical gables atop some gracious houses slopes down to the dreamy River Windrush. Burford was formerly an important coach and wool centre bursting with activity, hostelries and dens of rumbustious entertainment. Highwayman would burst onto the London Road and hold up coaches. Most notorious were the Fettiplace Gentlemen, blackguards one and all - see their Monument in Swinbrook Church.

A history of civil rights and religious tolerance prevailed here with the Burford Levellers.  On 17 May, 1649 three soldiers were executed in the Churchyard on the orders of Oliver Cromwell. These three had sort to undermine Cromwell’s authority whom they considered to be a dictator rather than a liberator. This event is celebrated every year with song, dance and speeches.  Today, there’s an abundance of hostelries and pretty cottages fronting the side streets. The Churchyard is a quiet location with some fascinating tombstones and a new tearoom.

 

“Special Places” to Visit

Burford’s Parish Church of St John the Baptist
Cotswold Wildlife Park
Cotswold Woollen Weavers
Minster Lovell Hall
Swinbrook Church
Upton Firehouse & Farm Shop
The Windrush Valley.

'Feast of the Dragon’ and Street Fair in June.  



cotswolds, castle combe

Castle Combe

Castle Combe

One of the prettiest and most visited villages in the south Cotswolds lies sheltered in a hidden valley surrounded by steep, wooded hills. In former times, a flourishing medieval wool centre, as evidenced by the weavers and clothiers cottages that descend from the Market Cross to By Brook, and the three-arch bridge. Its great claim to fame followed its appearance in the 1966 film of 'Doctor Doolittle' starring Rex Harrison. The village remains a popular location for TV commercials, and period dramas, because of its rows of quaint cottages undisturbed by time, or any life. More recently, used in the film ‘War Horse.' You rarely see children or families (who can’t afford to live here), and the post office has closed as have most or all of the shops. There is parking at the top, and bottom end of the village.  castle-combe.com  

 

“Special Places” to Visit

Colham Farm Trail
Motor Racing Circuit
St Andrew’s Church and Village Museum.



cotswolds, Churn Valley

Churn Valley

Churn Valley

A memorable route from Seven Springs to Cirencester following one of England’s most scenic drives. The variety of the trees and the sunken river valley are a sight to behold. Beware, this is a fast road and accidents are frequent. 

 


cotswolds, Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden

If you choose to visit just one Cotswold village make sure it’s this one. There is no better introduction. The harmony of Cotswold stone mirrors the town’s prosperity in the Middle Ages. The Gabled Market Hall was built in 1627 by the wealthy landowner Sir Baptist Hicks whose mansion was burnt down in the Civil War and the remains are the two lodges beside the Church.

The Church of St James is a tall and statuesque ‘Wool’ church. William Grevel, one of the wealthiest wool merchants is remembered in the church on a brass transcription which reads: 'the flower of the wool merchants of all England.' Opposite his house (Grevel’s House) on the High Street, the Woolstaplers Hall, the meeting place for the fleece (staple) merchants. The Dovers Cotswold Olympick Games & Scuttlebrook Wake is held in June.    

 

“Special Places” to Visit

Almshouses
Campden Gallery
Court Barn Museum
Cotswold Way

Dover’s Hill
Grevel’s House
Guild of Handicraft and The Gallery
Hidcote Manor Gardens
 

Kiftsgate Court Gardens
Market Hall
The Parish Church of St James



cotswolds, Coln Valley

Coln Valley

Coln Valley

A charming valley with typically quaint Cotswold villages. The River Coln rises above Brockhampton and makes its way south-east through Syreford - Withington - Cassey Compton - Chedworth Woods - Coln St Dennis - Winson - Ablington - Bibury - Coln St Aldwyns - Fairford - to Lechlade where it joins the River Thames. 

 


cotswolds, Coln Valley, The DUNTISBOURNES

The Duntisbournes

The Duntisbournes

A group of hamlets dotted along a beautiful wooded valley. Duntisbourne Abbot stands at the head of the valley. The Dunt Brook flows through each hamlet. The road to Duntisbourne Leer lies beneath a stream. Middle Duntisbourne and Duntisbourne Rouse are two farming hamlets, the latter famous for its idyllic Saxon Church.    

 

"Special Places" to visit

Cirencester Polo Club
Edgeworth Polo Club
Misarden Park Gardens



cotswolds, Eastleach

Eastleach

Eastleach

The twin hamlets of Eastleach Turville and Eastleach Martin face each other across the River Leach. The ancient clapper bridge (Keble’s Bridge) connects the two. This was most likely built by the Keble family whose descendant, John Keble, was curate here in 1815. He founded the Oxford Movement and is known for his volume of religious verse The Christian Year. Across the river the tiny church of St Andrews hidden beneath the trees and which has a more interesting interior than its neighbour. Note, the splendid C14 saddleback tower of a Transitional, and Early English period style. A Norman doorway c.1130 with a carved Tympanum of Christ. To the west is Macaroni Downs where the rolling sheep pastures were once the location for Regency derring-do, gambling and horse racing. Now just munched by sheep, cattle and ridden through by mountain bikers.  For refreshments there is the Victoria Inn, and for more sophisticated fare, The Swan at Southrop.

 


cotswolds, Fairford

Fairford

Fairford

An attractive market town on the tranquil River Coln, noted for the fine ‘Wool’ Church with its C15 stained glass windows. Mill. C6 Saxon cemetery. Venue for the annual "Royal International Air Tattoo". For a coffee and pastry try the Lynwood Cafe (opens at 8am) at 2 High Street. 

 

"Special Places" to visit

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin 



cotswolds, Guiting Power

Guiting Power

Guiting Power

A hidden, somnolent estate village that surprisingly manages to support two inns, a village shop/tea room and a bakery, a nursery school and an active Village Hall with childrens playground. The blue-grey cottages belong to the Cochrane Estate (or Guiting Manor Amenity Trust) that has thankfully saved this village from greedy developers and second homers. The Church of St Michael & All Angels lies on the edge of the village and has some Norman features, a beautiful Tympanum and some weather-beaten tombstones. It was an early Anglo-Saxon settlement called Gyting Broc. A classical, blues and jazz music festival is held in late July these past 50-years and attracts many artists of international renown. guitingfestival.org.  Off the beaten track and worthy of a visit for those seeking a short circular walk and a piece of Cotswold heaven.

 

"Special Places" to visit

Church of St Michael & All Angels
The Guiting Festival.



cotswolds, lacock

Lacock

Lacock

This is a show village owned and protected by the National Trust. You could be forgiven for thinking you were on a film set. Not surprisingly, it is a favourite for location scouts. Pride and Prejudice, Cranford and Wolfman are just some of the TV/Film projects produced here. The houses are lime-washed and half- timbered, and many date from the C13. There are some old inns and tearooms, and gift shops awaiting your custom. 

 

"Special Places" to visit

Lacock Abbey (Fox Talbot Museum)
Lacock Pottery. 



cotswolds, northleach

Northleach

Northleach

An attractive Cotswold village noted for its exceptional Church and Market Place. Often overlooked, because the A40 now bypasses the village which at first left it out on a limb. However, the village elders have done much to restore the lifeblood of this little community. It is worth a special journey to admire the beautiful church, buildings and museums.

 

"Special Places" to visit

Far Peak Climbing Tower
Lloyd Baker Countryside Collection
Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul
The World of Mechanical Music



cotswolds, painswick

Painswick

Painswick

Its local description as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’ is fully justified. The houses and cottages are built  from  a  grey,  almost  white,  limestone,  in  marked  contrast  to  Broadway  and  Chipping Campden, and some of the buildings have an almost Palladian, statuesque quality about them.

Look out for the Court House and The Painswick (hotel). Wander down the pretty side streets, but above all, you must, and it’s tricky to ignore, visit the churchyard famous for the legendary 99 yew trees. The 100th yew tree has been planted, time and again, but has never survived. Painswick is  one of the gems of the southern Cotswolds, and is a worthy base from which to explore this region. It is also connected to a network of footpaths including the Cotswold Way, so you can arrive by car, or taxi, and then just walk for the rest of your stay. 

 

"Special Places" to visit

ACP Gallery
Painswick Beacon
Parish Church of St Mary
Prinknash Abbey Park
Prinknash Bird Park
The Rococo Garden



cotswolds, sheepscombe

Sheepscomb & Slad

Sheepscomb & Slad

A straggling village surrounded by beautiful woodland, rolling pastures and green hills. The view down the valley looking towards Painswick church is a beauty. It is the ancestral home of Laurie Lee whose parents moved to Slad. He maintained a connection with the village by purchasing a field for the cricket club, so named Laurie Lee Field. A network of footpaths leads through woodland to Painswick, Cranham and Slad one of the Stroud villages where cloth was spun in the little cottages before it all moved to South Riding, Yorkshire. Hundreds flock here to walk in the shadow of Laurie Lee’s "Cider With Rosie" and to sample the brew still available in the Woolpack Inn. If you have recently read the  book which captures an England long forgotten you will recognise the woods and valleys, so described. You  may wish to make your way to Bulls Cross, the hanging place, and now the start-off point for a circular walk. Laurie Lee lies buried in the churchyard opposite the Woolpack.  RIP Lol.

 

"Special Places" to visit

Cranham Woods
Ebworth Estate
Laurie Lee Nature Walk
Laurie Lee’s Grave
The Whiteway Colony



cotswolds, Stanton & Stanway

Stanton & Stanway

Stanton & Stanway

Charming village with houses of warm honey-coloured stone. Restored by Sir Philip Scott, 1903-37. Centre for equine excellence in the Vine, a popular horse riding centre. The Mount Inn is a welcome refuge if one’s tackling the Cotswold Way, or a fine spot to sink a pint, take in the view, and sample some tasty cuisine.  themountinn.co.uk  The Church of St Michael has an impressive Perpendicular tower. Much is C12-15 with wall paintings, Jacobean pulpit, but its fame was associated with the many visits of John Wesley, the Methodist preacher.  Stanway. This village is dominated by the outstanding Manor House. In its grounds stands one of the country’s finest tithe barns designed with the Golden Proportion in mind, and across the road a thatched cricket pavilion set on staddle stones.  The beautiful Gatehouse is C17  and was probably built by Timothy Strong of Little Barrington. It bears the arms of the Tracy family.The little church of St Peter has C14 origins and some amusing gargoyles.  

 

"Special Places" to visit

North Gloucestershire Railway
Cotswold Lavender
Snowshill Manor
Stanway House & Water Garden



cotswolds, Lower Slaughter

The Slaughters

The Slaughters

Lower Slaughter is one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds. Little bridges cross the eye stream which runs beside rows of golden cottages. The much painted C19 red-brick Corn Mill stands on the western edge of the village where it has been lovingly restored into a small museum.  Upper Slaughter is a couple of miles upstream and has an old Manor House once lived in by the Slaughter family, an old post office with a beautiful kitchen garden, and along a lane past the church a ford crosses the stream hidden beneath luscious greenery.

 

"Special Places" to visit

Old Mill Museum
Upper Slaughter Manor House



cotswolds, Windrush Valley

Windrush Valley

Windrush Valley

A slow, trickling stream in summer with a tendency to flood in winter. The river snakes its way through quiet golden villages creating the idyllic Cotswold scene. Starting above Temple Guiting - Naunton - Bourton-on-the-Water - Great Barrington - Burford - Swinbrook - Minster Lovell - Witney - the River Thames at Newbridge