The Cotswolds history beckons to be one of the most historical regions in England. Expanding over several counties, the Cotswolds has many tourist attractions, famous landmarks and a history that dates back to Medieval times. Many of the Cotswold market towns were once home to sheep trading when the Cotswolds was most well-known for being one of the largest contributors to the wool trade in Europe. After the industrial revolution and when the cloth trade moved to the north of England, the Cotswolds remained unspoilt and idyllic, untouched by major development.
Cotswolds guided tours take you to some of the most beautiful places in the area showing you hidden villages, pretty market towns, stunning farmland and many historical stately homes that boast acres of land. If you are interested in historical attractions, then the Cotswolds will not disappoint you.
Still home to the late Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace in Woodstock was once owned by the Churchill family. Sir Winston Churchill was born and raised at Blenheim Palace and the home was originally given to the 1st Duke of Marlborough John Churchill as a reward from Queen Anne on his victory over France in the War of the Spanish Succession. At this time, it was called Blenheim Estate and was sadly a run down and derelict building in desperate need of restoration. Queen Anne also gave John Churchill £240,000 that helped to pay for the rebuild of the estate. Now, the beautiful Blenheim Palace sits majestically overlooking an incredible 2000 acres of land with stunning lawns, woodland and lakes.
The historical attraction of Arlington Row is located in the pretty village of Bibury in Gloucestershire. Artist and designer William Morris once stated that Bibury was “the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds”. Arlington Row is a cluster of tiny weaver’s cottages that were built in the 16th century. The cottages were once a monastic wool store where cloth was made by weavers and then transported to the nearby Arlington Mill to be hung out. The Royal College of Arts has now preserved the Arlington Row cottages and flocks of tourists visit the location every year. The cottages have appeared in many famous films including Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary.
The beautiful stately home of Chastleton House is in the tiny village of Chastleton between Chipping Norton and Moreton-in-Marsh. The home was originally built by a wool merchant called Walter Jones and was completed in 1612 and has been passed on through family generations over four centuries. The house is still close to its original state because the family did not have the money to renovate it through the years, leaving the Jacobean home with many original features and a fascinating tourist attraction. Robert Catesby was once owner of Chastleton House who was believed to have played a major part in the gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament. It is thought that many of the theories for the ill-fated plot were thought up in his room in Chastleton House.
Snowshill Manor is in the pretty village of Snowshill in the Cotswolds and is owned by the National Trust. The stunning 16th century Tudor manor house in the Cotswolds county of Gloucestershire is most famous for its eccentric and odd owner, Charles Paget Wade. Charles was an English architect, a poet and a craftsman, and from an early age he was fascinated in collecting antiques and artefacts which are now all stored and on show in Snowshill Manor. It is believed that Charles lived in a small cottage in the grounds and his collection of artefacts and antiques were in the manor. Wade gave his home to the National Trust in 1951 and sadly died a few years later in 1956. Snowshill Manor showcases eccentric English life with a mass collection of antiques and crafts.
Tewkesbury Abbey is the second largest parish church in England and is officially the Church of St.Mary the Virgin in Tewkesbury, a former Benedictine monastery. Built in the early 1100’s, the abbey has the largest exterior arch in Britain and the biggest Norman tower in the world. The Dissolution of the Monasteries claimed the destruction of the monastic buildings of Tewkesbury Abbey in 1539, but fortunately the people of the town saved the church by paying King Henry VIII £459 for the building. The interior of the abbey is a breath-taking vision with stout Norman pillars and round arches with Gothic lierne vaulting and gilded bosses.
The beautiful Sudeley Castle is known for having many royal influences for around a thousand years. The last wife of Henry VIII Katherine Parr lived and died at the castle and she is buried within the grounds. Sudeley castle has 10 award-winning gardens set amongst 1,200 acres of beautiful land with the most famous being the Queens Garden. It was aptly named after 4 queens who once lived at the castle – Katherine Parr, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. It is worth visiting The Pheasantry at Sudeley Castle which showcases an incredible collection of 16 rare and endangered species of birds from all around the world.