The Cotswolds is famous for its sheep farming and the sheep were once nicknamed the ‘Cotswold Lions’ because of their shaggy golden wool. The area was once one of the largest contributors to the English wool trade before the industrial revolution. After the cloth trade moved to the north of England, the Cotswolds area was left unspoilt and tranquil, avoiding any major industrial development apart from the remains of the magnificent wool mills. Several of the remaining wool mills have now been converted to residences or offices throughout the Cotswolds, retaining the beautiful structures and making them a magnificent landmark in the rolling hills of the countryside.
If you’re thinking of coming to the Cotswolds for a few days or planning a daytrip, then you won’t be disappointed with the stunning sights and the beauty of the area. The Cotswolds has been named as an area of outstanding natural beauty and is known to be the second largest noted area in England. The area covers 800 square miles and stretches across Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and north-east Somerset, having a population of around 139,000 people.
Cotswold market towns are famous for being constructed around the town’s focal point – a pretty market square. The market squares still regularly have weekly markets but were once famous for regular sheep markets where sheep would be traded amongst farmers. The towns were purposefully built around the market square to ensure the flocks of sheep coming to market could be counted through the small alleyways and lanes that led to the market. The Cotswold market towns include Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-Wold, Woodstock and Cirencester.
Chipping Norton Market Town
Chipping Norton is famous for Bliss Mill and was one of the largest wool towns in the Cotswolds region. During the 15th Century, the Cotswold area was famous for being one of the biggest contributors for wool in Europe. When the cloth trade moved to the north of England, the town remained untouched in all its beauty, perhaps a distant memory to what was once such a busy location. Bliss Mill has now been renovated and converted into residences but still stands magnificently on the hill on the edge of the town. This stunning market town in north Oxfordshire is the highest known town in the area and was originally built on the site of a Norman castle.
Woodstock & Blenheim Palace
Local boutiques and pretty gift shops make up the picture-perfect market town of Woodstock in the Cotswolds. In the town centre is Oxfordshire Museum, an informative and interesting place where you can learn about the local history. The Textiles Trail in Woodstock exhibits the Blenheim Palace Tapestries, the beautiful Woodstock Wallhangings in the Town Hall and the fascinating Stonesfield Embroidery at The Oxfordshire Museum. Woodstock is the famous landmark for the beautiful home of Blenheim Palace. Blenheim was the residence to the Churchill family and famously known as Sir Winston Churchill’s birthplace. The remarkable palace is set in 2000 acres of land and is still home to the late Duke of Marlborough. Woodstock is popular with many tourists because of the famous palace, the museums and the pretty, antique shops in the town.
Stow-on-the-Wold Sheep Market
In recent years, Stow-on-the-Wold has become a beautiful market town where shops overlook the large market square that includes cafés, the town hall, antique shops and stunning art galleries. Stow-on-the-Wold was built on the old Roman road called The Fosse Way and was a regular meeting place as six roads leading from various locations joined in the town. It is known as the highest town in the Cotswolds at 800 feet above sea level and visitors used to flock from everywhere to attend the sheep markets. The town was originally called Edwardstow and was founded in the 11th Century. Markets have taken place in the towns market square since 1107 when a charter was granted by King Henry II, but since the sheep markets faded out, regular gypsy fairs have replaced them and Stow Fair is still held twice a year in a nearby field on the edge of town.
Secret Cottage Cotswolds Tour
If you’re staying in London or visiting England and would like to see more of the English countryside, then the Cotswolds is only one hour and 40 minutes from London Paddington Station to Moreton-in-Marsh train station. Experience an amazing Cotswolds tour with Secret Cottage to soak up the true atmosphere of the region. We will pick you up directly from the train station in our 7-seater luxury minibus and take you on a stunning 6-hour tour of the Cotswolds. A Cotswolds tour will take you to chocolate box villages, stunning stately homes, show you pretty Cotswold hamlets and quaint Cotswold market towns. There’s no need to bring a picnic as we take you to our home The Secret Cottage for a hot drink and pastry in the morning, then back for a delicious homemade buffet lunch. We also treat you to a traditional Cotswold cream tea in the afternoon! After the Secret Cottage Tour, you will be returned to the train station so you can get your train back to London in time for the evening. Don’t miss out on a truly memorable experience – book your Secret Cottage Tour today!