Think about England. If one thinks about rolling green hills, lush trees, and picture-perfect estates and villages - that could be the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are an area in south-central England of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper River Thames to an escarpment above the Evesham Vale and Severn Valley.
Not so far away is the small polish English city of Chester. This little city is known for its quaint and charming Tutor architecture as well as its Roman Fort layout and Roman ruins. Also not far from the Cotswolds is the historic town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, this is the hometown of Shakespeare, and many of the buildings owned or associated with him and his family still remain.
What Makes The Cotswolds So Special
Today the Cotswolds are the third-largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. The area cuts through three counties in England (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire).
The area of the Cotswolds sits on a bedrock of Jurassic limestone. This both creates a rare kind of stunning grassland in the UK and creates the iconic golden-colored Cotswold stone.
Here one will find stone-built villages, historical towns, and stately homes built with this golden-colored Cotswold stone. It is one of the favorite getaways for English celebrities.
- Size: 787 Square Miles or 2,038 Square Kilometers
- Designated: An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Quarry: Famous For its Golden Colored Cotswold Stone
Cirencester is often thought of as the informal capital of the Cotswolds and is only an hour and 20 minutes train ride from London.
What To Do In The Cotswolds
If one would like to experience the quaint and charming side of England, then consider exploring, staying, and hiking in the Cotswolds. This is an area of quintessentially English villages with their honey-colored stone together with some of England's greatest castles, country houses, medieval churches, and palaces.
- Trails: There Are Numerous Historic Trails Cutting Through The Cotwolds
There are plenty of historic trails to discover that would take a lifetime to see. There are some 3,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways to hike. As one strolls over the ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows, gaze out at the 4,000 miles of historic Cotswold stone walls that split up the landscape.
Here one will find innumerable gastro pubs, old inns, and teahouses serving local cheeses, meats, and drinks.
When it comes to accommodation, choose from anything from castles, to stately homes, to country house hotels, cottages, manor houses, and more. It really depends on one's taste and budget.
Tours of the Cotswolds
If one would like a tour of Cotswolds, there are a number of them for offer as well. These can be a great option for those not familiar with the area and the tour guides can shine a light on all manner of hidden gems and rewarding places that one wouldn't have otherwise have found.
Many of the tours can be tailored and many focus on walking or cycling through the Cotswolds. Examples of tours include:
- Cotswolds Walks: Specialists in Both Self-Guided and Guided Walking Holidays in The Cotswolds
- Costwolds Electric Bike Tours: This Enables More Mobility to Discover More of The Hidden Treasures of the Cotswolds
- Cotswolds Mystery Tour: Explore Myster Villages And Private Estates For 6 Hours
Learn more about the tour options and other things to do on the Cotswolds website.
The Cotswold Way: Painswick to Tormarton
The UK's National Trails lists the Cotswold Way as a five-day hike cutting straight through the central section of the magical Cotswold Way National Trail. The length is only 61 kilometers or 38 miles from Painswick to Tormaton and over 100 miles of magical walking is offered by the Cotswold Way in total.
- Distance: 61 KM or 38 Miles (Shortened Trail)
- Grade: Gentle/Moderate
This hike commences at the historic wool town of Painswick before crossing the Cotswolds escarpment running through the seemingly endless miles of rolling countryside. It takes one through picturesque villages and ancient attractions.
- Full Length: The Full National Trail Goes From Chipping Campden to Bath
- Duration: The Full Hike Can Take Up to 10 Days to Walk
The UK's National Trails suggests a shorten five-day itinerary to see the best of the trail and the Cotswolds. This focuses on the central stages of the Cotswold Way. Their itinerary only calls for an average of around 13 kilometers or 8 miles of walking per day so that one can take one's time, soak in the surroundings, and check out the teahouses and other attractions along the way. Of course, one could complete it much faster if one only wants to focus on hiking.