The Cotswolds spans across the counties of Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Somerset, and is picture-perfect, whatever time of year you decide to visit. With temperatures starting to drop however, escaping to this quaint little apart of the UK makes light work of weekend getaways.
Whether you like to spend your time walking and exploring the pretty towns and villages, or snuggled up on a comfy sofa reading a book with a glass of wine by your side, the Cotswolds has you covered…
Where to stay?
The Fish’s contemporary bedrooms are located on the hillside and are spread throughout various individual buildings in the grounds. They have five Hilly Huts and three Treehouses nestled into the woodland and five shiny new Hideaway Huts – all of which help you get back to nature in the most luxurious way.
You’ll find this hotel in the heart of one of the most picturesque Cotswold villages, offering up the authentic charm of a traditional village inn: exceptional food made with local produce, large fireplaces to warm up next to and a stunning terrace for when the sun shines. The Slaughters Country Inn is the perfect location for when wellies and walks are on the agenda.
Located in the middle of Cheltenham – labelled the cultural heart of the Cotswolds – No.131 is home to 11 rooms in a converted Georgian townhouse, fusing traditional architecture with eclectic modern design. Expect to find original features, period bathrooms, and antique finishing touches, along with statement wallpaper, industrial lighting, and original artwork from the likes of David Hockney and Banksy.
Housed in a 17th-century stately manor, The Barnsley House boasts 19 boutique rooms, designed by the owner themselves, who has a keen eye for sleek sophistication. The building’s original quirks are still evident, seamlessly blending old and new. Take note: the gardens span for 11 acres, and the spa has an undeniably relaxing environment.
Where to Shop?
Stroud Farmers’ Market, Cornhill, Stroud
For a farmers’ market with celebrity attendees, try Stroud – Damien Hirst and Cath Kidston are both regulars. You’ll find everything from fresh, hot falafel served in warm pitta bread, tasty sausages, local russet apples, and the creamiest of cheeses.
The Cotswold Cheese Company, Burford
Voted Britain’s best new delicatessen in 2007 at the British Cheese Awards, The Cotswold Cheese Company store stocks 50 different varieties to try. We recommend Simon Weaver’s organic Cotswold Brie and Charles Martell’s Stinking Bishop.
Burford Garden Company, Burford
Originally this store was a family-run plant nursery, however, now people travel from all over to visit – there’s even a lovely café. Explore the vintage furniture, sleek children’s department, and everything and anything for the home.
Highgrove Shop, Tetbury, Gloucestershire
This gift and gardening accessories store located in Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate is prim and proper at its finest. Discover the jams and chutneys, complete with Prince of Wales fleur-de-lis packaging, which make excellent presents. For yourself, and for others.
Exploring on foot?
Chedworth’s Roman Villa, Gloucestershire
Start at the ancient monument – one of the grandest country houses of fourth century Roman Britain – and take a stroll through the millennia-old woodlands nearby. If you head down Monarch’s Way from Chedworth village and along the River Coln, you’ll eventually reach a quaint little bridge, which will lead towards footpaths back towards Chedworth.
Marshfield to Cold Ashton, Chippenham
Make Weir Lane your starting point, keep walking up the road and eventually the street gives way to Beek’s Lane, then leading to brook, and a few fanciful footpaths to choose from. Meander through the woodlands and after a few kilometres, you’ll find yourself in Cold Ashton. Stay on the path after moseying about the village and carry on straight through the valley. There, you will see an old derelict farm building to your left and, eventually, a stream will follow to the right. Turn left at Green Lane towards Marshfield High Street, bringing you back to where you started.
Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill, Wiltshire
On this circular route, start in the idyllic village of Castle Combe, and look for the public footpath that leads from there to Parsonage Wood. You’ll pass the Common Hill Plantation, discover bridges that pave the way over brooks and beech woodland, swimming with wild garlic in the spring months, and eventually Castle Combe. A pretty little village with its stone cottages, market cross and church that has lazy Sunday afternoons in mind.
Trails of Westonbirt
At the National Arboretum in Westonbirt you can discover over 2,500 tree species from all corners of the world. Inside its gates are 17 miles of trails to explore – comfortable footwear recommended. We suggest starting in the Old Arboretum and then making your way towards the Silk Wood, where you’ll find more traditional British woodland.
Where to eat?
The Coconut Tree, Cheltenham
If vibrant flavours and punchy dishes are what you crave, then opt for this elevated street food restaurant, opened in 2016 by five young Sri Lankans. Make sure to taste the traditional hopper, kotthu and devilled dishes, and wash them down with the selection of fine wines, beers and the ‘cocotails’ on offer. The Drunken Sri Lankan 3.0 comes in a vessel shaped like an elephant and is a potent creation.
This eponymous Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar in Cheltenham was founded by MasterChef finalist, British-Japanese chef Andrew Kojima. Note however, they prefer to cook, rather than serve their fare raw: you’ll notice an ox-heart burger bun and grazing dishes including miso roast cod and KFC – Koj fried chicken.
Lords of The Manor, Upper Slaughter
Charles Smith, who took over in 2017, creates delicious dishes and a seven-course tasting menu that offers elegant iterations of British classics. The preserved lemon with scallops is a firm favourite, as is the whipped anchovy-and-horseradish crème fraîche with English-rose veal. Complete your meal with the intriguing goat’s-milk panna cotta with rhubarb jelly.
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
This lovely 18th-century stone pub supports British farmers and artisan producers with its reflective menu. The award-winning kitchen, headed by Nathan Eades, creates dishes that work in tandem with the seasons to celebrate traditional British cooking with a contemporary twist.