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 glamour, sophistication and culture, one of the best places to slow-it-down and experience the quintessential English countryside is the Cotswolds.
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The Cotswolds is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) by the government, which provides the same level of protection from development as the UK’s national parks. And it’s not difficult to see why this area is protected—gently rolling hills and meadows dotted with honey-colored stone-built historic villages, towns, country houses, and gardens.
There are many, many places to visit, but here are a few we visit on our journey through the Cotswolds.
One essential piece of equipment will be your camera because when you visit, you will want to capture the memories of this beautiful place forever.
Here are 7 reasons why you’ll fall in love with the Cotswolds.
1. The beauty will astound you
2. The buildings are made from the gorgeous honey-coloured 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Property owners love their gardens and it’s common to see flowers used as creative decoration to adorn front doors.
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.
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.
Whatever time of year you visit, the Cotswolds will delight and surprise. Enjoy fine dining or a beverage (or two) by a cozy fireplace.