A vision of golden villages nestling in a softly undulating green landscape, the Cotswolds epitomise the rural English idyll. The region is surprisingly large, stretching across 800 square miles, absorbing the most beautiful corners of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
The Cotswolds’ wealth, once built on the medieval wool trade and subsequently the textiles industry, is now built largely on tourism. An endless stream of visitors flows through the area each year to marvel at the bucolic patchwork of rolling wolds and to amble through the picturesque villages hewn from honey-coloured stone.
This is a place where willows trail their wispy fingers in burbling rivers, where verdant scenery unfurls before your eyes like a giant blanket, and where you pause and set your picnic basket down to watch the swallows swirl and dive high above your head.
Picture-perfect Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the most famous locations within the Cotswolds. Frequently voted one of the prettiest villages in England, throughout the year visitors flock to see its biscuit-coloured houses and low stone bridges stretching across the River Windrush.
Historic Broadway is a must-see when visiting the Cotswolds. Records going back as far as 860 AD refer to the village and it is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086.
There are many Cotswolds gems, but Chipping Campden is among the best with its curved high street, townhouses in creamy golden tones and thatched cottages – ever-present reminders that you are in a truly English setting.
Moreton-in-Marsh has always been a town for travellers. It served as an important stopping point on the Fosse Way, a Roman road built in the 1st century between Exeter and Lincoln. It was a popular stopping place for stagecoaches traversing between Oxford, Worcester and London in the 17th and 18th centuries. And today, if you’re travelling from London to the Cotswolds, the service from Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh takes you right into the heart of the county.