Cotswolds Travel Guide

Castle Combe, Wiltshire, Cotswolds - © Saffron Blaze

Introduction and Overview

The Cotswolds Travel Guide outlines some of the many attractions in the region along with useful tourist information and tips. The area guide includes travel information on local events, entertainment and accommodation in the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are a region centred on the slopes of the Cotswolds Hills north of Oxford.

The Cotswolds are officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), it is the currently the largest region that has the designation. The Cotswolds consist of parts of seven English countries these are, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Wiltshire and Somerset.

The Cotswolds area is steeped in history with some great unspoilt scenery, here visitors can see the picture postcard image of gentle rolling green hills and the beautiful English countryside. There are historic buildings, timber frame houses, and the honey-coloured local stone creates some of Britain's most picturesque villages and towns.

There is also good choice of friendly pubs, offering food, accommodation and plenty of opportunities to go for a good walk in the countryside.

The region is famous for its honey coloured limestone villages that seem to blend into the countryside and its vibrant market towns. Many of these towns and villages have changed little in over 300 years. This historical significance makes the Cotswolds region one of the best loved and visited places in the UK.

Visitors are unlikely to see such well preserved timeless history elsewhere in the UK. The Cotswolds was at one time an area once given over entirely to sheep-farming. Many of the fine churches and manor houses owe their existence to the generosity of the wealthy medieval yeoman farmers and wool merchants.

The dignified villages and towns owe much of their charm from the use of the warm, honey-coloured limestone which was locally quarried by hand and used alike for humble weavers cottages, mansions, and churches. Never far from sight, numerous streams wind through the valleys and chatter alongside main streets.

The market town of Cirencester is located in Gloucestershire, the town is known for being the home of the Royal Agricultural College that dates back to the 19th century and Corinium Museum, known for its extensive and impressive Roman collection, with a collection that ranges from Neolithic to Victorian times.

Local attractions include the historic Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester, the Church of St Peter’s and Cirencester Park known for its scenic landscaped gardens. The Corn Hall is home to a number of antique and flea markets, with its famous market place holding regular markets each week.

Bourton-on-the-Water located in Gloucestershire is a picturesque village known for the arched bridges giving it the name the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. The village is a popular one with visitors, local attractions include the model village of the village itself, the Cotswolds Motoring Museum and the wildlife park, Birdland Park and Gardens. The historic village includes a number of cottages and houses over 300 years old.

Chipping Norton is a market town in Oxfordshire, known for its character and charm. The town has an interesting mix of shops including antique shops, markets, inns and cafes. A few miles away are the Rollright Stones, an ancient site that includes Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monuments.

Chipping Campden is a market town located in Gloucestershire. The scenic town is among the most charming and unspoilt of the towns in the Cotswolds and is known for its elegant High Street with Market Hall its centrepiece.

The town includes a number of hotels, inns and restaurants making it a popular destination for visitors to the Cotswolds. Attractions close by include Hidcote Manor Gardens and Kiftsgate Court Gardens.

The Cotswolds ANOB was first designated back in 1966 and has subsequently been extended to include an area of over 2,000 square kilometres. The Cotswolds ANOB recognises the historical, geographical and scientific importance of the area and aims to conserve and enhance the area for the future. The area includes the famous limestone grassland habitats and the beech woodlands that have become synonymous with the area.

The Cotswolds offers visitors a wealth of attractions with charming villages and towns, historic houses, summer fairs and a choice of eclectic markets. The scenic beauty of the area epitomising the best in the English countryside and wealth of local attractions ensures the Cotswolds remains one of the UK’s most popular and best loved holiday destinations.

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