The Cotswolds, the “wolds”, or rolling hills cover nearly 800 square miles across five counties, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It is the largest of the 38 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales.
The wonderful honey-coloured towns and villages take you back in time to another era, where beauty and history meet. Burford, Bourton-on-Water, Chedworth are some of the most picturesque villages in the area.
Why come to The Cotswolds?
While it is undoubtedly an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Cotswolds also has some very impressive historic houses and stately homes which were built predominantly for royalty. These include the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove Estate and Corsham Court , a former royal manor whose gardens were designed by Capability Brown both of which are open to the public.
Other gardens to visit are Hidcote, run by the National Trust, which is one of the best-known Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain. Created by the famous horticulturalist, Major Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote features herbaceous borders, sculpted hedges and rare trees, amongst other impressive blooms as well as Batsford Arboretum, Snowhill Manor, Sudeley Castle and Kiftsgate Court Gardens.
There is lots more to see apart from the magnificent gardens, castles and stately homes. These include Roman and civil war sites, Cotswold limestone architecture, Arts and Crafts Movement history plus plenty of fantastic restaurants and traditional pubs and tearooms to try. Last but not least, superb Golf Clubs, walks and cycling…what more do you need!
How To Get To The Cotswolds
This is the rolling heartland of southern England, so access is easy. The major gateways are Oxford to the east, Birmingham to the north, Bath to the south and, of course, Cheltenham and Cirencester.
If you are travelling from overseas, please note that the closest international airports are Birmingham and Heathrow. (Oxford and Gloucestershire airports are small operations principally offering charter services, as is the Cotswold Airport near Cirencester).
The M40 lies to the east and provides easy access to the northern Cotswolds. The M5 on the western edge presents good gateways to the core of the Cotswolds. The M4 from the southern, provides reasonably quick access to Cirencester and to Bath and Lacock.