There are many beautiful market towns in the Cotswolds but the most beautiful and famous towns are situated in the north of the Cotswolds. Discover popular Cotswold tours that show you the true heart of this quintessentially English region that is notably an area of outstanding natural beauty. North Cotswold market towns have pretty buildings, a magnificent market square and friendly locals welcoming visitors. Market towns were once home to regular wool markets where sheep farmers would trade their flocks, when the Cotswolds was once one of the largest suppliers of wool to the European market. Since the industrial revolution when the cloth trade moved to the north of England, sheep farming has lessened, allowing the Cotswolds to remain underdeveloped, tranquil and free from industrialisation.
More commonly known as ‘Chippy’ to the locals, Chipping Norton town was originally built on the site of a Norman castle. This pretty and bustling market town in Oxfordshire is one of the highest towns in the area. The weekly markets have taken place in the market square since the 13th century and the town was one of the largest wool towns in the Cotswolds during the 15th Century. Chipping Norton is perhaps more well-known for Bliss Mill, a majestic Cotswold stone mill built on the outskirts of town that was once a thriving tweed mill and now beautifully renovated apartments and homes. Chipping Norton Recording Studios once saw the likes of Gerry Rafferty, Beverley Craven, Status Quo, Bay City Rollers, Duran Duran and many more musical stars perform and record. The studio closed in 1999 and is now a dental practice.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in Woodstock is Blenheim Palace. The palace is now home to the late John Spencer-Churchill who was the 11th Duke of Marlborough. Blenheim Palace was originally called Blenheim Park and was gifted to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough after his success for victory over France in the War of the Spanish Succession. The gift was from Queen Anne, along with £240,000 to fund the renovation of the home because it was in a dilapidated state. Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace and is now buried with his family in a nearby church in the village of Bladon. The market town of Woodstock was once described in The Domesday Book of 1086 as a royal forest where English Kings would often stay or visit. Henry I had a menagerie in the park and Woodstock town was famous for the courtship between King Henry II and Rosamund Clifford.
The pretty and magnificent town of Stow-on-the-Wold is one of the most well-known towns in the north Cotswolds. Stow is surrounded by the lush green rolling Cotswold hills and was built on the old Roman road called the Fosse Way. Stow is known as the highest town in the Cotswolds at 800 feet above sea level and was once a regular meeting place where six roads meet from various locations in the town. Stow is a charming market town where there are several shops in town centre around a large market square, next to cafes, hotels, art galleries, antique shops and restaurants. Stow has thousands of visitors every year from all over the world, here to admire the beautiful architecture and discover the intriguing history that engulfs this part of the Cotswolds.
Moreton-in-Marsh is positioned on the Fosse Way, a famous Roman road that leads through the Cotswolds. The town was developed in the 13th century as a Cotswold market town with a wide high street and large market square. Off the main street are interesting narrow lanes and streets where beautiful Cotswold homes and cosy cottages reside. Moreton-in-Marsh has been a traveller’s town for around 1700 years and was once used as a coaching station for travellers passing through the Cotswolds. A main line train station was introduced in 1853 connecting Oxford and Worcester, and popular 18th century inns and houses were built to cater for locals and visitors. The market square includes the Redesdale Market Hall, constructed in 1887 by the 1st Baron Redesdale.
Secret Cottage Cotswold Tours
If you’re thinking of booking exciting Cotswold tours, discover the Secret Cottage Tour. The Secret Cottage Tour shows guests the hidden parts of the Cotswolds. Explore charming villages, pretty market towns, see stunning far-reaching views, hidden villages and the secret beauty spots in the Cotswolds. If you’re staying in London, then you can get an easy train to our nearest station in Moreton-in-Marsh from London Paddington. We collect guests in our 7-seater luxury Mercedes minibus and take you on our unique 6-hour tour around the Cotswolds, also inviting you into our home The Secret Cottage. Experience an interesting tour of our 400-year old thatched cottage and enjoy some delicious homemade food from our kitchen. You provide hot drinks and pastries in the morning, also a tasty homecooked buffet lunch, then a traditional Cotswold cream tea in the afternoon. If you want to experience exclusive Cotswold tours, then book with The Secret Cottage. Read our 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor!