If you’re planning a weekend in the Cotswolds and you’ve never been before, you will not be surprised that the region has been named as the second largest area of outstanding natural beauty in England and Wales. The Cotswolds spreads across 800 square miles, through Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and parts of north east Somerset. Cotswold villages are dotted between hills, market towns and wildflower meadows.
Not only are the Cotswolds famous for being a beautiful, unspoilt and idyllic area in England but it was also well-known for being one of the largest suppliers to the European wool trade. Before the Industrial Revolution, the Cotswolds was carpeted in sheep and farmers would gather their flocks at weekly sheep markets in the Cotswold market towns. After the Industrial Revolution, the cloth trade moved to the north of England and the Cotswolds remained under-developed, peaceful and beautiful. Sheep farming has since reduced in the area, leaving the Cotswold hills for agriculture, cows and enthusiastic walkers. The landscape is smooth and hilly, in Spring the country lanes are lined with banks of daffodils and woodland is covered in bluebells. The Cotswolds is a fine example of English countryside at its best. Villages in the Cotswolds are typically small, pretty and beautifully kept. Often found down hidden lanes and more than a stone’s throw for the local market town, villages offer something special to visitors in the area.
Lower Slaughter Village
Lower Slaughter is attractive for its stunning Cotswold stone houses, a honey-coloured pale yellow limestone that is famous for the area. The village is in Gloucestershire, nestled between Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold where the River Eye runs through the centre on the main street. Copse Hill Road in Lower Slaughter was named as the ‘most romantic street in England’ by Google Maps and close by is a 19th century corn mill that ceased operating in 1960. The mill is now called The Old Mill Museum, showcasing local crafts and open to visitors with a friendly café.
The pretty village of Naunton has the River Windrush flowing through it with beautiful banks of wildflowers in the summer and a water meadow nearby. Naunton village is between Cheltenham and Stow-on-the-Wold with a famous dovecote that was built in 1660. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Niwetone and now has only around 400 residents there. The church of St Andrew was constructed in the 15th century, replacing a Saxon church, and has two famous sundials with a Latin inscription meaning “light is the shadow of God”. Naunton village is hidden down country lanes at the foot of a hill which if you climb, gives you fantastic views of the village and surrounding area.
The small village of Snowshill is situated in Gloucestershire, near to Broadway village. Snowhill Manor is famous for its late owner Charles Paget Wade, a poet and craftsman who collected interesting artefacts and antiques throughout his life. The manor is now owned by The National Trust, still having Wade’s lifetime collection for visitors to discover. Cotswold Lavender Farm is in Snowshill, a 35-acre beautiful farm with fields of stunning Lavender in the summer months – a popular attraction for locals and visitors who come to the Cotswolds. The farm offers a wonderful gift shops which sells plants, Lavender products and local crafts.
Hook Norton Village
A few miles from Chipping Norton is the village of Hook Norton. Locally nicknamed as ‘Hooky’, the village is famous for its well-known brewery, an independent family-run business that produces delicious real ale. If you’re interested in ale, then the brewery runs tours – or you can sample some of their ale at any of the local pubs. The village stands on brown ironstone and the stone is used to build many of the village houses and buildings, presented as a darker stone compared to the traditional pale limestone of Cotswold stone.
Cotswold Village Tours
If you want to see the Cotswolds with an experienced tour company, then book your places with the Cotswolds Mystery Tour based in the north Cotswolds. If you’re staying in 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. We take you to all the Cotswold villages, showing you some of the most charming places, cosy thatched cottages, grand village stately homes and some of the most beautiful views you will ever come across. We stop at a pretty village café in the morning for a drink and pastry, then take you to a 16th century inn for a delicious lunch. Discover what our previous guests have said by reading our 5-star Trip Advisor reviews!