It’s no wonder that the Cotswolds have been named the second largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales. The Cotswolds has many unique and pretty villages that are often hidden down long country roads, nestled between market towns, dense woodland and the lush green, rolling Cotswold hills. Feast your eyes on stunning manor houses with beautiful gardens and discover the incredible views and walking trails with the most picturesque views in England. Cotswold market towns are built from the honey coloured pale-yellow Cotswold stone, a special limestone that is famous for the area. In summer, beautiful colourful hanging baskets decorate the villages and towns, daffodils fill the grass verges and riverbanks and wildflowers grow sporadically in the meadows.
Stow-on-the-Wold Market Town
If you enjoy arts and crafts, then Stow-on-the-Wold is the highest known town in the Cotswolds, boasting art galleries, a large market square where regular sheep markets used to take place and some of the most inviting gift shops in the area. If you love art, then the Red Rag gallery and Fosse Gallery are worth exploring, plus there are clothes boutique shops, friendly cafes and restaurants to see. On a summer’s day, crowds of people sit at cafés on the edge of the square and enjoy a cool drink or coffee while you people-watch in the town.
The charming village of Bourton-on-the-Water is centred around the village green, overlooking the slow meandering River Windrush. Visitors and locals sit on the grass and picnic while dogs paddle and children play. Bourton has some great tourist attractions offering plenty to do in such a pretty Cotswold village. The Model Village is a fun stone built replica of Bourton village, standing just waist-high, complete with houses, streets, trees in the village. Bourton also has Birdland where you can discover a fantastic selection of rare and exotic birds. The British Motoring Museum is also on the edge of the village and popular with classic car enthusiasts.
If you love historic places with plenty to do, there’s a delightful buzz in Broadway Village with popular arts and crafts being the centre of conversation. The village sits at the foot of the Cotswold Edge, overlooked by Broadway Tower an stunning 18th-century folly that has a famous exhibition on William Morris. In the early 20th-century the well-known artists and writers Edmund Gosse, John Singer Sargent and Henry James lived in Broadway Village and famous furniture designer Gordon Russell also grew up in the village and had a workshop here. Now his workshop is popular with visitors and a design museum called the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery.
On the northern borders of the Cotswold escarpment in Gloucestershire is a beautiful old market town called Chipping Campden. In the town is an ancient wool church close to a unique 17th-century covered marketplace. In the village, walkers gather every day by the stone marked The Cotswold Way, a path that explores one of the highest points in the Cotswolds with the most amazing views. The Old Silk Mill on Sheep Street and the Court Barn Museum makes the town popular for those who are keen on arts and crafts.
The Secret Cottage Tour
If you want to explore some of the most beautiful towns and villages in the Cotswolds, then book a Secret Cottage Tour. We take guests from all over the world to all the best places in the Cotswolds, including pretty market towns, magnificent stately homes, charming villages, historical buildings and show you the best views around. Our tours are unique because we invite you in to our home – the Secret Cottage. The cottage is a 400-year old thatched cottage with pretty gardens, open fires and an Aga in the kitchen for cooking. We provide a homecooked delicious lunch for our guests with a traditional Cotswold cream tea and a private tour of our beautiful home. After the tour, we will return guests to the train station so you can be back in London for the evening. Book your place with the Secret Cottage Tour today, to avoid disappointment.