If you are the type of person who adores city life, the hustle and bustle, doesn’t mind getting stuck in traffic jams, likes a lot of constant noise, enjoys the challenge of trying to find somewhere to park, doesn’t mind paying a fortune in parking charges when you have done so, and has enough money to pay £1 million or more for a small flat, then it has to be said that a holiday in the Cotswolds is probably not for you.
However, if you love beautiful countryside, rolling hills (“wolds” means “rolling hills”), small country villages, farmland, cattle, sheep, lakes and streams, woodland, thatched cottages, country pubs and small restaurants, and local markets, then the Cotswolds will suit you to the proverbial “T”.
Life here is so much more relaxed and easy-going. You can wander down small country lanes without seeing anyone else at all – or if you do it will only be one of the locals on a bike going to work in the fields or in a small country town. Some of the little villages are so far off the beaten track that they are inaccessible by public transport: there just isn’t any.
Wind Down And Relax
This is countryside where you can wind down and relax and look up at the sky on a sunny day knowing that the only thing that you need to think about is what time the local pub opens or which restaurant you will visit that evening. That is, if you do want to go out to eat rather than cooking for yourself in a small country cottage on the outskirts of nowhere at all.
Trust us, the Cotswolds – above all else – is so utterly peaceful that it is literally like being in another world. There are some 800 square miles of the Cotswolds covering the shires (Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire), and about four fifths of it is still farmland making up the largest of the designated 38 Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales. Not for nothing is the Cotswolds the home of the Prince of Wales at Highgrove House, and Gatcombe Park chosen by the Princess Royal. Manor houses built by affluent textile merchants, along with stunning churches, abound.
Where to stay? If you are escaping from one of the big cities such as Birmingham (not too far away). Manchester, London, Glasgow, or Cardiff, you will probably want to stay away from Bath and Oxford, and opt for one of the smaller towns like Cheltenham or Cirencester. However, for the real peace and quiet of this stunning countryside you would do better to go to somewhere like Chipping Camden in the north, Moreton-in-Marsh, or stay in a small out of the way village such as Blockley or Drayton, Little Compton, Snowshill, Broadway, or the oddly named Lower Oddington.
Things to do in the Cotswolds abound. There is the Cotswold Falconry Centre at Moreton-in-Marsh, Tewkesbury Abbey at Tewkesbury, the Royal Gardens at Highgrove House, the Warwickshire Steam Railway, Cotswold Farm Park run by Adam Henson of BBC Countryfile fame, which he set up to preserve rare breeds of farm animals, Westonbirt Arboretum (for tree lovers), and much more. Of course, in the middle of March there is the Cheltenham Festival which is arguably the premier horse racing event of the year.
Then there is Chavenage House, Snowshill Manor, the Cotswolds Distillery, the Mechanical Music Museum, the Cotswold Motoring Museum, Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucester Cathedral, the Cheltenham Playhouse for theatre lovers, Bibury Trout Farm, and if you are feeling fit you can walk the Cotswold Way which is only 100 miles long.
Where to stay? Well there are plenty of hotels in the Cotswolds, although it has to be said that they are not cheap. You will probably struggle to find a double room for less than £90 a night. However, there are many alternatives, such as B&B’s, or better still from many people’s point of view is to book a self-catering holiday home which lets you come and go as you please. There are many country cottages, or you could choose a boutique Cotswold apartment which will cost considerably less than a hotel.
Cotswold Grey is a business based in Moreton-in-Marsh which sells furniture, rugs, textiles, homewares, and vintage and unique decorative items sourced from around the world. It also owns a boutique Cotswold apartment which is available for holiday lets, along with two country cottages in nearby hamlets, a five bedroomed home with its’ own private grounds and garden, and a further two apartments to let in Moreton-in-Marsh.