An expert guide to a weekend in the Cotswolds

These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Note that our writer visited pre-pandemic.

Adventures in Arcadia

With its honey-stone villages and manor houses, its rolling landscape of sheep-nibbled hills and its handsome churches, the Cotswolds is heart-tuggingly beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to visit for a short break – or a long one, for that matter? The 800 or so square miles that make up the region are criss-crossed with footpaths and bisected by dry stone walls, about 4,000 miles of them, adding architectural embellishment to the natural artistry here. There’s a wealth to explore, from Roman remains at Chedworth to contemporary craft in Cirencester – and a cornucopia of great country houses to visit as well.

But you couldn’t possibly take in the entire region over a couple of days. So home in on an appealing part. To the north are the delights of exquisite Chipping Campden and the glorious gardens of Hidcote and Kiftsgate. To the east is historic Burford, lined with fabulous old coaching inns. To the west is Laurie Lee’s Slad Valley and pretty, creative little Painswick. Further to the south east is Tetbury, royally connected and oddly off-radar to major tourism for its charms. And wherever you go you’ll find immensely pleasing, if often pricey, places to stay, from boutique and country house hotels to characterful pubs and elegant b&bs.



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