7 Reasons Why You’ll Fall in Love With the Cotswolds

If you’ve decided on a trip to England for your next vacation, after you’ve enjoyed the bright lights of London, with all its glamor, sophistication and culture, one of the best places to slow-it-down and experience the quintessential English countryside is the Cotswolds.

1. The beauty will astound you

Cotswolds landscape. Credit Marina De Vos
Cotswolds landscape. Credit Marina De Vos
Several varieties of Lavender. Credit Saffron Blaze
Several varieties of Lavender. Credit Saffron Blaze
Linseed flower. Credit Herry Lawford
Linseed flower. Credit Herry Lawford
Bourton-on-the-water. Credit BritainandBritishness.com
Bourton-on-the-water. Credit BritainandBritishness.com

2. The buildings are made from the gorgeous honey-colored local stone

Rich in fossils and dating from the Jurrasic period, the yellowish limestone of the Cotswolds varies in color from honey in the north to golden in central and southern parts and almost pearl-colored in the city of Bath.

The color takes on an especially warm hue as it reflects the afternoon sunlight.

House in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. Credit Anguskirk
House in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. Credit Anguskirk
Arlington Row in Bibury, Gloucestershire was built in 1380 as a monastic wool store. The buildings were converted into weavers' cottages in the 17th century
Arlington Row in Bibury, Gloucestershire was built in 1380 as a monastic wool store. The buildings were converted into weavers’ cottages in the 17th century
The Royal Crescent in the City of Bath
The Royal Crescent in the City of Bath

3. The Cotswolds is steeped in history

Dating from the 14th century, Chipping Campden was once a thriving market town made rich from the wool trade.

Under these arches and on this cobbled floor, 17th-century wool merchants would ply their trade.

Built in 1627, the Market Hall was donated to the village by Viscount Campden.

The cobbled floor of the 17th century Market Hall in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. Credit Anguskirk
The cobbled floor of the 17th century Market Hall in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. Credit Anguskirk

Clockwise from top left: Almshouses donated to some of the village's poor folk by Baptist Hicks, 1st Viscount Campden; the banqueting hall is all that remains of Viscount Hicks's country mansion in Chipping Campden; Viscount Hicks; Viscount Hicks and his wife at rest in St James's church, Chipping Campden
Clockwise from top left: Almshouses donated to some of the village’s poor folk by Baptist Hicks, 1st Viscount Campden; the banqueting hall is all that remains of Viscount Hicks’s country mansion in Chipping Campden; Viscount Hicks; Viscount Hicks and his wife at rest in St James’s church, Chipping Campden

Standing 65 ft (20 m) tall, the Broadway Tower has a commanding view as the second-highest point in the Cotswold hills.

Built for Lady Coventry in 1799, the “Saxon” folly was the inspiration of Capability Brown—”England’s greatest gardener”—who wanted to answer a whimsical question from Lady Coventry: if a beacon tower were built here, could she see it from her house 22 miles away? Lady Coventry was so intrigued, she sponsored the construction.

Broadway Tower. Credit Phil Dolby
Broadway Tower. Credit Phil Dolby

Even buildings in the high streets of dozens of small Cotswold towns hold stories from centuries past.

Below, a rider passes in front of the Lygon Arms hotel in Broadway. Once called the White Hart Inn, Oliver Cromwell stayed here on 2nd September 1651, the night before the Battle of Worcester—the final and decisive battle of the English Civil War, fought between King Charles I’s royalist “Cavaliers” and Parliament’s “Roundheads”.

A rider passes in front of the Lygon Arms hotel in Broadway. Credit Saffron Blaze
A rider passes in front of the Lygon Arms hotel in Broadway. Credit Saffron Blaze

4. The Cotswolds is a garden lover’s dream

For gardening fans, there are several famous and historic gardens.

Hidcote Manor Garden at Kiftsgate is owned and managed by the National Trust and open to the public.

5 images of Hidcote Manor Garden. Use mousewheel, arrow keys, or simply swipe from a touchscreen device. Image credit: JR P, flickr. 

Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds. Credit JR P_slider1
Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds. Credit JR P_slider2
Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds. Credit JR P_slider3
Hidcote Manor 5
Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds. Credit JR P_slider4
Bourton House Garden, Gloucestershire. Credit JR P
Bourton House Garden, Gloucestershire. Credit JR P

Property owners love their gardens and it’s common to see flowers used as creative decoration to adorn front doors.

Broadway Terraced Cottages. Credit JR P
Broadway Terraced Cottages. Credit JR P
A cottage in Moreton-in-Marsh with wisteria growing round the front door
A cottage in Moreton-in-Marsh with wisteria growing around the front door

5. It’s like stepping back in time

Dreaming of a bygone era? Look no further than the Cotswolds where good old-fashioned values take prominence over progress.

Delivery bicycle at Tisanes Tea Room in Broadway, Worcestershire. Credit Mick
Delivery bicycle at Tisanes Tea Room in Broadway, Worcestershire. Credit Mick
1924 Vintage Vauxhall. Credit Roland Turner
1924 Vintage Vauxhall. Credit Roland Turner
1937 Austin van at the Cotswolds Motor Museum in Bourton-on-the-water
1937 Austin van at the Cotswolds Motor Museum in Bourton-on-the-water
Steam locomotive 92203 at Toddington on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway
Steam locomotive 92203 at Toddington on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway
Old fashioned Ice Cream Van. Credit Jim Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
Old fashioned Ice Cream Van. Credit Jim Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway

6. Shops, pubs, tea rooms, and restaurants abound

The Cotswolds is a place where villages still have a greengrocer on the corner and local residents walk the dog to fetch a morning newspaper, stopping along the way to chat with neighbors.

Shops along High Street in Broadway. Credit Saffron Blaze
Shops along High Street in Broadway. Credit Saffron Blaze
The Fox Inn in Lower Oddington in the Cotswolds. Credit JR P
The Fox Inn in Lower Oddington in the Cotswolds. Credit JR P
Waterfront Tea Room and Eatery - Riverside, Bourton-on-the-Water. Credit Elliott Brown
Waterfront Tea Room and Eatery – Riverside, Bourton-on-the-Water. Credit Elliott Brown
Afternoon tea or a cocktail in the garden of the Broadway Hotel
Afternoon tea or a cocktail in the garden of the Broadway Hotel

Whatever time of year you visit, the Cotswolds will delight and surprise. Enjoy fine dining or a beverage (or two) by a cozy fireplace.

The Trout Inn on the River Thames at Lechlade, Cotswolds, England
The Trout Inn on the River Thames at Lechlade, Cotswolds, England

7. There are public footpaths and cycle paths everywhere

Signpost along the Cotswold Way. Credit Richard Cocks
Signpost along the Cotswold Way. Credit Richard Cocks
Blockley, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. Credit JR P
Blockley, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. Credit JR P
A footpath in Blockley, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. Credit JR P
A footpath in Blockley, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. Credit JR P