Cotswolds

Undulating gracefully across six counties, the Cotswolds region is a delightful tangle of golden villages, thatched cottages, evocative churches and honey-coloured mansions.

A quintessentially English area of outstanding natural beauty.

No one’s sure what the name means, but ‘wolds’ are rolling hills, while ‘cots’ might be ‘cotes’, or sheep pens. The region owes its wealth and exquisite architecture to the medieval wool trade, when ‘Cotswold Lion’ sheep were prized across Europe. Attentions later turned towards textiles instead, but the Industrial Revolution passed the Cotswolds by. Hailed by William Morris in the 19th century as encapsulating a timeless English rural idyll, it remains both a prime residential area and a treasured tourist destination.

Criss-crossed by long-distance trails including the 102-mile Cotswold Way, these gentle yet dramatic hills are perfect for walking, cycling and horse riding.

Beautiful medieval churches, built on the riches from the Cotswolds’ thriving wool trade, are dotted across the regions. Almost every town and village boasts its own so-called ‘wool church’, typically featuring a soaring Perpendicular Gothic tower, fine stained-glass windows and an elaborately carved interior.

Famous for a sustainable, locally sourced approach to cooking, the Cotswolds host some fabulous places to eat. Organic produce, seasonal ingredients and farm-to-table cooking inform most dishes, from delectable cafe breakfasts and gastro-pub feasts to Michelin-starred delights. You'll find organic delis, farmers markets and oh-so-English tearooms at every turn. It’s always advisable to book ahead, especially for upmarket restaurants but also for the best-known pubs, which attract diners from miles around.

View to
the hills

Peace
and quiet

Walk or biking
distance to a small village

Easy access
from most parts of UK

When to go

The region has a temperate maritime climate with typically warm rather than hot summers and cool to cold winters. The Cotswolds rarely experiences very extreme weather, meaning that it can be visited throughout the year.

How to get there

Because of its central location, the Cotswolds are easily accessible by car from all major UK cities. You can also take the train to Oxford or Birmingham and find local arrangements for the last mile.

August makes a lot of sense for me and my family. I go to both ski and beach holidays every year and could not decide whether I should get a summer house or a flat in the Alps. Now I’ll get both!
Jerome, London

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