The Cotswolds is a vast area stretching across several counties, covering 800 square miles. It is a stunning region in England and has been named as an area of outstanding natural beauty. If you are staying in England and thinking of visiting the Cotswolds, you will be astounded at how beautiful the area is. There is a direct train from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh taking only 1 hour and 40 minutes, so the Cotswolds is within distance and an easy place to explore on a daytrip.
The Abbey of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Tewkesbury is in the county of Gloucestershire. It is is the second largest parish church in England and a former Benedictine monastery. It is officially the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Tewkesbury and is a majestic parish church in a small Cotswold market town. The abbey was built in the early 1100s and it boasts the largest Norman tower in the world alongside the largest exterior arch in Britain. The interior is truly breath-taking with stout Norman pillars and round arches with Gothic lierne vaulting and gilded bosses. The Dissolution of the Monasteries (1538-41) brought the destruction of the monastic buildings of Tewkesbury Abbey in 1539, but the town managed to bravely save the church by paying King Henry VIII a sum of £459 for the building. King Henry also sold eight bells to the parish for £142 but most other monastic bells elsewhere, were sadly melted down to make cannons for Henry’s warships.
Malmesbury Abbey is in the market town of Malmesbury. The abbey was founded in the 7th Century as a Benedictine Monastery by Aldhelm who was a nephew of King Ina of Wessex. The Abbey was once an astounding major European centre of scholarship and learning. The present building is now around a third of the original size and was consecrated in 1180 AD. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII, the abbey was sold for £1500 together with its land to William Stumpe who was a local wealthy clothier. In recent years, the Abbey is the Parish Church and has been dedicated to St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Adhelm and to St. Mary. The Abbey was an important place for pilgrimage because it is the sacred burial place of St. Aldhelm and King Athelstan. The abbey house gardens are enchanting and believed to be one of the most beautiful gardens in England.
Prinknash Abbey is between Painswick and Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. It is home to seventeen monks and also a complex range of buildings, spread majestically over an estate of 300 acres that overlook the valley. The new Abbey is described as dominating the land but there are also several other buildings which include pottery, the farm, houses for tenants, a bird park, a centre for recreation, a café and workshops. The old Abbey of Saint Peter’s Grange is now a Retreat and Conference Centre and the place has over 100,000 visitors each year. It is a friendly and communicative association of Monks and Laity who work in partnership to form a happy, living community for the benefit of all around them. Prinknash Abbey is approached through a pretty drive and a tunnel of trees, and is perhaps one of the most attractive tourist places around the Cotswolds.
The beautiful Abbey Church of the Holy Cross in Pershore has been a centre for Christian Worship for around 1300 years. The abbey remains include the monk’s Quire (now called the Nave) with its unique and inspiring ploughshare vaulting, the combined triforium and clerestory building, and the astounding tower with its unique lantern and standing platform. Pershore Abbey is believed to be one of the best examples of Norman architecture in England but unfortunately much of the building is damaged. Henry VIII decided to destroy the nave of the abbey during the dissolution of the monasteries, when the north transept collapsed in the middle 1600s. But, despite this the Abbey is still beautiful and worth visiting to learn about the history.
A Cotswolds Tour
A Cotswold tour is a huge change of scenery from any city in England and it is a magical place to visit if you’re coming to the UK. If you’re thinking of visiting the Cotswolds for a tour around the area, then you can see all the beautiful countryside on a journey with the Cotswolds Mystery Tour. If you’re travelling from London, then you can take a direct train to Moreton-in-Marsh from London Paddington. We pick our guests up from the train station in our 7-seater luxury Mercedes minibus taking you to see some stunning Cotswold stately homes, the prettiest villages, some of the best Cotswold attractions and tell you all about the history of the beautiful market towns in the area. We then take you for a delicious lunch at a Cotswold 16th century inn and stop for a drink and pastry at a village café in the morning. Book your daytrip with the Cotswolds Mystery Tour today!