England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds is a compact land of rolling hills ideal for walking interspersed with charming villages built in the local honey-coloured cotswold stone, some with traditional thatched roofs.
The Cotswolds are located between Stratford upon Avon and Bath in south-central England, easily accessible from London. It is a prosperous area built on the 13th century wool trade and now home to many affluent Londoners with permanent or second-homes. The main town is Cirencester with attractive smaller towns and villages worth visiting with quaint names including Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Larger towns on the edge of the Cotswolds are Bath to the south, Cheltenham and Gloucester, with Oxford to the east and Stroud to the west.
As a major UK tourism area, the Cotswolds have many attractions. Top is Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, built by the Duke of Marlborough amidst extensive parkland. Family attractions include Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water and the Cotswold Farm Park run by Adam Henson of BBC Countryfile fame. Racing at Cheltenham attracts large crowds particularly the famous Gold Cup meeting in March. The Cotswold Motor Museum at Bourton-on-the-Water is a fascinating look back over a century of motoring.
Check out tours of the Cotswolds in our selection of touring holidays in the UK
There are many possible boating holidays close to the Cotswolds.
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