The beautiful region of the Cotswolds spreads across 800 square miles, through Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and parts of north east Somerset. Charming Cotswold villages are nestled between hills, market towns and summer meadows. If you’re planning a visit or a weekend in the Cotswolds, then you will not be surprised that the area has been named as the second largest area of outstanding natural beauty in England and Wales.
The Cotswolds is not only famous for being unspoilt and beautiful, it was also well-known for being one of the largest contributors to the European wool trade. Before the Industrial Revolution, the Cotswolds was covered in sheep and farmers would take their flocks to weekly markets in the Cotswold market towns. The cloth trade moved to the north of England after the Industrial Revolution and the Cotswolds remained under-developed, calm and beautiful. Sheep farming has since lessened in the area, leaving the countryside free for agriculture, cows and walkers. The landscape is vast and hilly and in Spring the lanes are lined with daffodils and woodland is covered in wildflowers including bluebells. The Cotswolds is the perfect example of English countryside at its best. Villages in the Cotswolds are perfectly kept, small and wonderfully peaceful. Often hidden at the foot of a hill or down narrow lanes, Cotswold villages offer something special to visitors to the area.
Snowshill Village is in Gloucestershire and near to the famous Broadway village. Snowhill Manor is well-known for its late owner Charles Paget Wade, a poet and craftsman who was an enthusiastic collector of artefacts and antiques from all over the world. Now owned by The National Trust, the manor still has Wade’s lifetime collection for visitors and guests to explore. Cotswold Lavender Farm is also in Snowshill, a 35-acre awe-inspiring farm with fields of bright purple Lavender in the summer months. The farm is a popular attraction for locals and visitors offering an inviting gift shop which sells Lavender products, plants and local crafts.
Hook Norton Village
The village of Hook Norton stands on brown ironstone and you will find the stone is used to build many of the village houses and buildings. It has an unusual colour, a darker stone compared to the traditional pale limestone of Cotswold stone. Hook Norton Village is a few miles from Chipping Norton and locally nicknamed as ‘Hooky’. The village is perhaps most famous for its well-known Hook Norton Brewery, an independent family-run business that produces an earthy real ale. If you’re interested in how ale is made, then the brewery runs tours – or you can sample some of their delicious ale at any of the local pubs in the area.
Lower Slaughter Village
The village of Lower Slaughter is very popular with visitors to the area and known for its stunning Cotswold stone houses and cottages, a honey-coloured pale-yellow limestone that is famous for the area. Lower Slaughter and its twin village Upper Slaughter are in Gloucestershire, nestled between Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold where the River Eye runs through them. Copse Hill Road in Lower Slaughter was once named as the ‘most romantic street in England’ by Google Maps and it’s no wonder when you visit. In the village, there is also a 19th century corn mill that ceased operating in 1960, now called The Old Mill Museum, showcasing local crafts and open to visitors with a friendly café.
Naunton village is between Cheltenham and Stow-on-the-Wold and is famous for being a pretty village where the River Windrush flows through it. Next to the river, there are beautiful banks of wildflowers and daffodils in the summer and a pretty water meadow nearby. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Niwetone and now has around 400 residents there. The village church of St Andrew was erected in the 15th century, replacing a Saxon church. Naunton village is hidden down far from the main road down country lanes at the foot of a hill which if you climb, gives you fantastic views of the village and surrounding area.
Secret Cottage Village Tours
If you want to see the Cotswolds with a friendly family-run tour company, then book your seats with the Secret Cottage Tour based in the north Cotswolds. If you’re coming from London, then there’s a direct train to Moreton-in-Marsh train station where we pick you up in our 7-seater luxury Mercedes minibus. Secret Cottage takes you to all the Cotswold villages, showing you some of the prettiest places, cosy thatched cottages with log-burning fires, magnificent village stately homes and some of the most beautiful views you will ever come across. We bring you to our 400-year old home The Secret Cottage and give you a delicious homemade lunch along with a tour of our ancient cottage. In the afternoon, we treat our guests to a traditional Cotswold cream tea before taking you back to the train station. Book your Secret Cottage tour today!