The Cotswolds is a rural area of south-central England characterised by rolling hills and chocolate-box villages. There are many beautiful hotels, restaurants, manor houses and gardens to visit but it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.
Days 1 & 2
The village of Broadway is popular amongst many. Located in the far north of the Cotswolds, this honey-coloured village is home to a wealth of independent shops, galleries, restaurants and hotels, it is also home to Broadway Tower, a historic monument standing 65 ft high with views stretching as far as the Welsh Mountains.
Things to see or do:
Broadway Tower – Enjoy the second-highest point in the Cotswolds at Broadway Tower, built for the Earl of Coventry in 1798 by renowned 18th Century architect James Wyatt. On a clear day, you can see up to 16 counties from the top of the Tower, including the beautiful Welsh mountains.
The tower can be accessed via a public footpath for those wanting to embark on a countryside walk, and with a car park for visitors. The Tower boasts three floors of exhibitions reached via a spiral staircase and a rooftop viewing platform looking out over the Cotswold escarpment.
Admission: £5 adults/£3 children
Snowshill – The epitome of English living, Snowshill is one of the prettiest villages in the country. Less than 3 miles from Broadway, it is a great place to enjoy a casual stroll and a pub lunch. It also boasts Snowshill Manor, a Cotswold manor house packed with extraordinary treasures collected over a life time by Charles Wade.
Admission: £12.80 adults/£6.40 children/Free for National Trust members
Chipping Campden – Another great place to base yourself, Chipping Campden is a 10-minute drive from central Broadway. This small market town can trace its origins back to the 7th century, it has a long, wide high street flanked with some great shops and restaurants.
Chipping Campden was one of the most prosperous towns in the Cotswolds in the 14th and 15th centuries thanks to the successful wool trade. Today Chipping Campden has retained its outstanding architectural heritage thanks to the renowned etcher and architect FL Griggs who moved to the town in 1904. For over 25 years he devoted all his resources and time in protecting the heritage Chipping Campden. Houses were restored, and in 1929 the Campden Trust was formed to continue the conservation effort.
Hidcote Manor Gardens – Home to a famous arts and crafts garden, Hidcote comprises a series of small gardens within a garden with long avenues bordered by different plantings.
Admission: £14.20 adults/£7.10 children/Free for National Trust members
Places to stay:
Lygon Arms ££ – With roaring open log fires, original panelling, a great hall and oodles of history, the Lygon Arms epitomises everything English. Dating back to the 1300s, guests can even visit the very suite in which Oliver Cromwell stayed the night before the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
The hotel became one for the upper class in the first half of the 20th century and has an array of Hollywood stars on their booking list, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stayed here in 1963 at the height of the scandal surrounding their affair.
Prices start at £160 per night, book here.
The Broadway Hotel ££ – The Broadway Hotel has been designed to be a home away from home, sitting on the village green alongside beautiful boutique stores the property has just 19 individually designed guest rooms so make sure you book in early to avoid disappointment!
Prices start at £110 per night, book here.
Days 3 & 4
Whilst the name ‘Slaughter’ isn’t the nicest, the neighbouring villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter could not be much sweeter! However, when you look into it, there is a reasoning behind the names. Slaughter derives from wetland ‘slough’ or ‘slothre’ (Old English for muddy place) upon which it lies due to the link is the tiny River Eye, a tributary to the nearby river Windrush.
Upper Slaughter, the smaller of the two villages, could easily be mistaken for a movie set, but people really live here! Just a small collection of golden cottages, there is no place more peaceful and pretty to walk than this village. Lower Slaughter is a little more well known and more visited thanks to its iconic mill which dates back to the 14th century. If it’s been a sunny week the walk between the two villages is very pleasant, it is around a mile in distance between the two but this walk is not possible when it’s flooded.
So why stay here? Both villages are very charming, quiet and the perfect escape into a peaceful countryside setting. As long as you have a car to get around in, there are many nearby places to enjoy whilst in the area.
Things to see or do:
The Old Mill Museum – A mill has been stood on the same site in Lower Slaughter since the Domesday records of 1086, and by the 14th century, it was known as the Slaughter Mill. the last production of flour was in 1958, the mill had been in the same family for four generations until sadly the last owner, Joseph Morris Wilkins, passed away from a heart attack.
The mill was opened to the public in 1995 and visitors can see the two sets of stones which were used for both grist milling and flour milling as well as an array of old machinery.
Admission: £2.50 adults/£1 children
Stow on the Wold – Stow on the Wold is a charming market town with a population of around 2000 people, making it one of the most delightful small towns in the Cotswolds. Home to grand manors and gardens, quaint cottages and a host of places to eat, visitors could easily spend a few hours meandering around the town.
Make sure you experience a very English afternoon tea at Lucy’s Tea Room and check out the ancient doorway of St Edward’s Church!
Bourton on the Water – Another well-known town in the Cotswolds, Bourton on the Water straddles the River Windrush, creating a picture-perfect village with beautiful waterside views and plenty of places to eat in and shop at.
The Cotswold Brewing Company – Do you like beer? The Cotswold Brewing Company is one of the oldest independent lager microbreweries in the UK with a diverse portfolio of lagers.
The Model Village – An attraction that kids never forget, the Model Village in Bourton on the Water is the only Grade II Listed model village in the country, offering a one-ninth scale replica of Bourton itself.
Admission: £4.20 adults/£3.40 children/Under 3s free
Places to stay:
The Slaughters Manor House ££ – A contemporary country house hotel in the heart of Upper Slaughter, guests can expect to wake up to the sound of singing birds rather than the rumbles of traffic.
The beautiful 4-star manor house combines a contemporary interior within a very country surrounding. With just 19 luxury guestrooms, the hotel never feels too busy and staff are able to offer you the highest levels of attention and service.
Prices start at £198 per night, click here to book.
Lords Of The Manor Hotel £££ – Described as one of the finest hotels in the Cotswolds, this 17th-century property in Upper Slaughter is set amongst 8 acres of stunning gardens and boasts not one but two sumptuous restaurants.
Prices start at £215 per night, click here to book.
Days 4 – 6
Located right on the edge of the Cotswolds, Cirencester was once the second largest town in Britain during the Roman times, surprising due to its relatively small size today. A once-prosperous Medieval wool town, Cirencester is now a typical British market town with a great array of high-end shops, independent businesses and plenty of nice architecture.
The central location of Cirencester makes it a go-to option for anyone wanting to explore the north or south of the Cotswolds, located an hour from Oxford and an hour from Bath, visitors have plenty of places to explore.
Things to see or do:
Bibury – Most well known for being printed in our passports, Bibury is home to Arlington Row, one of the most recognisable streets in England. Owned fully by the National Trust, Arlington Row is lined by weaver’s cottages dating back to the 14th century, guests can even stay at number 9 if they fancy it!
Corinium Museum – Thanks to its historic past, Cirencester has a lot of interesting artefacts to show off. The Corinium Museum presents a fascinating display of prehistoric tools, Roman mosaics, Anglo Saxon grave goods and even Medieval sculpture.
Admission: £5.80 adults/£2.80 children
Cirencester Park – Originally laid out in the 1700s, Cirencester Park has been a deer park, a military base, a hospital and the venue for a Glenn Miller concert. The park is easily accessible from town and offers expansive views, great for countryside walks.
Admission: Free of charge
Rodmarton Manor – Set amongst 8 acres of stunning gardens, Rodmarton Manor is a remarkable example of a house built and all its furniture made according to Arts and Crafts ideals. It was one of the last country houses to be built and furnished in the old traditional style when everything was done by hand with local stone, local timber and local craftsmen.
Opening: Wednesdays and Saturdays
Admission: £10 house/£7.50 garden only
Places to stay:
The Fleece ££: The Fleece at Cirencester is a 5-star 17th-century hotel with 28 elegant bedrooms with all the 21st luxuries you could need.
For those looking to end their trip on a high, why not book into the Fleece’s Feature Room?
Prices start at £110 per night, click here to book.
Corinium Hotel & Restaurant £: A small hotel on one of the oldest streets in Cirencester, the Corinium Hotel offers warm hospitality, delicious food and friendly service.
Prices start at £70 per night, click here to book.
Housed in a building dating back to the 16th century, the hotel is oozing in historic charm, encompassing 15 individual guestrooms, a cosy bar and a popular restaurant.
Prices start at £69 per night, click here to book.