The Cotswolds incorporates Oxfordshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and parts of Wiltshire, having a population of around 139,000 people. At its most productive time, the Cotswold wool trade produced just over half of the country’s output of wool having an amazing half a million sheep dwelling on the Cotswold hills. The Industrial revolution moved the production of cloth to the North and the area subsequently stopped producing so much wool. While the rest of England continued to evolve in production, the Cotswolds stayed peaceful and unspoilt in all its beauty.
Honey-coloured stone cottages with unique thatched roofs, wildflower filled meadows, bluebell woods and winding meandering streams. It’s no surprise that The Cotswolds have been titled as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ known as the second largest of the 38 named areas in the country. The Cotswolds have more monuments and listed buildings than most places in the UK, with stunning views covering over 790 square miles. Cotswold market towns are very much still considered working towns, with bustling streets and majestic town halls that usually stand overlooking the town square where flower baskets are dotted on each building.
The Beautiful Chipping Campden
Chipping Campden is thought to be one of the most charming market towns in The Cotswolds. The main street is shaped in a gentle curve, lined with pretty ancient houses, each with their own embellished exteriors. The word ‘Chipping’ means market or market place and is derived from the old English name ‘Ceping’. Chipping Campden is considered one of the most famous medieval wool towns in Europe. St James Church in the town is one of the most stunning examples of churches in The Cotswolds with a majestic 120ft tower, well-known for having one of the oldest altar tapestries and the largest brass in England. The church was built using money from the developing wool trade and it’s believed that each of the lime trees from the entrance to the door, represent an apostle from the Bible. The English historian G.M Trevelyan claimed that Chipping Campden was “the most stunning village street now left on the island”.
Market Town of Moreton-in-Marsh
Located in the north of The Cotswolds, Moreton-in-Marsh is built on the Fosse Way, an ancient Roman road. It originally had a huge coaching station which was eventually replaced with a local train station with a direct link from London Paddington. The train station now brings The Cotswolds thousands of visitors all year around, from all over the world. It was originally developed in the thirteenth century boasting a wide high street. The pretty market town has been known as a travelling town for around 1700 years. The popular high street has quaint shops, pubs, hotels, inns and restaurants, B&B’s with tea shops. It also has the Redesdale Market Hall which was erected in 1887 in memory of the Earl of Redesdale. The market town of Moreton-in-Marsh is also believed to have famous connections with well-known author J.R.R Tolkien who based The Prancing Pony Inn (Lord of the Rings) on one of the town’s most popular locals, The Bell Inn.
The Hilly Town of Burford
Burford is a lovely, busy market town that is popular with tourists and for its impressive and attractive steep hilly climbing high street. The centre of Burford offers pretty gift shops such as antiques and woodcraft, has plenty of pubs where you can relax and sit outside to watch the world go by while you have a drink. The market town of Burford thankfully escaped the Victorian building boom with a purpose-built 18th century bypass, therefore it has not changed much over the last few centuries. The town is easily accessible from the A40 Oxford to Cheltenham road and Burford has grown to be an increasingly popular location for tourists who visit The Cotswolds in awe of this magnificent medieval market town perched on the hill.
The Village of Bibury
The picture-perfect village of Bibury is situated on the River Coln in Gloucestershire. The pretty village centre is the square that sits next to St. Mary’s church, a majestic Saxon church that boasts impressive Norman carvings and medieval windows. The church was believed to be founded as far back as the 8th century. The famous cottages of Arlington row are one of the village’s most well-known places, a small and attractive row of quaint ancient cottages that are believed to date back to the 16th century. The village of Bibury was once named “the most stunning village in The Cotswolds” by designer and well-known artist William Morris. Many of the locations in Bibury were used for the set and backdrop of famous blockbuster films, inclusive of Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary.
The Secret Cottage Tour
The Secret Cottage Tour is one of the most exciting and best ways to explore The Cotswolds. If you’re staying in London, this six-hour special tour picks you up directly from Moreton-in-Marsh train station and takes you off on an amazing tour of The Cotswolds in a 7 seater Mercedes minibus. You will see pretty, chocolate box villages, stately homes, cosy thatched stone cottages, ancient churches and the most stunning impression of countryside in England. We provide a delicious buffet lunch in our beautiful home – the Secret Cottage. We also give you tea or coffee and a tasty pastry in the morning and a wonderful traditional Cotswold cream tea in the afternoon, so you won’t go hungry! Treat yourself to a stunning tour of The Cotswolds so you can discover one of the most beautiful places in England. The Secret Cottage Tour will drop you back at Moreton-in-Marsh train station to ensure you will be back in London in time for the evening! Don’t miss your place, book now.