The Cotswolds in Southern Central England has been a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for over 50 years and here are some reasons why you should include it on your vacation to Great Britain.
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1 – It is very pretty
The towns and villages which are built out of honey-coloured stone are quintessentially English; Painswick, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter, Burford and Bredon are just a few of the pretty villages in the Cotswolds which are well worth a visit.
2 – It covers a huge area
The Cotswolds cover an area of over 2072sq km across 5 counties; Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It is the biggest of the 38 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales, and each county has its own identity but they all have the same Cotswold features of golden stone and rolling hills ‘the wolds’.
3 – It has many literary connections
Stratford- upon- Avon is famous as the birthplace and home of William Shakespeare; it is popular with visitors from all over the world. Jane Austen lived in Bath, and it was here that she wrote ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Northanger Abbey’. The author of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, J M Barrie spent much of his time in Stow –on- the -Wold with his friend the Reverend Edward Litton, whose daughter Alice was the inspiration for his books. J K Rowling the author of the ‘Harry Potter’ series of books was born in Yate in the Cotswolds, and many of the castles in the area have been used as locations in the Harry Potter films.
4 – It also has many Royal connections.
Highgrove is the Cotswold home of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the gardens are open to the public during the week throughout the summer and it is advisable to book in advance. Many other members of the Royal Family live in the Cotswolds and Cirencester the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’ is popular with members of the Royal Family for shopping and playing polo.
5 – The gateway to some fine cities.
On the edges of the Cotswolds are some of England’s finest and most cultured small cities, these include; Bath, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Oxford and Worcester.
6 – Delicious local produce
The Cotswolds has become a foodie destination with food festivals in Tewkesbury and Cheltenham. There are many specialist food producers and some of the famous local delicacies are; Single Gloucester Cheese, Gloucester Old Spot pork, Bibury trout, Stinking Bishop Cheese, Cotswold Dry Gin and many local types of ale.
7- A great choice of accommodation
From luxury hotels, boutique b&bs, inns with rooms and lovely cottages there is a great choice of accommodation on offer to suit everyone.
8- There are plenty of beautiful gardens & historic houses
On a holiday in the Cotswolds you will be spoiled for choice with number of beautiful gardens and stately homes to visit. Some that you must see include; Hidcote, Blenheim Palace & Gardens, Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Painswick Rocco Gardens and Westonbirt Arboretum.
9- It is excellent for mountain biking & cycling
The Cotswolds is perfect for cyclists; there are plenty of cycle paths and country lanes to explore. It is also great for mountain biking with a 40sq km park near to Cheltenham.
10 – Wonderful for walking
There are many wonderful walking trails in the Cotswolds, there is the Cotswold Way a long distance path of over 160km from Bath to Chipping Campden which offers the keen hiker marvellous views along the way as it passes through picturesque villages. If you have time to make only a short walk, take the 1.6km walk between the villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter along the River Eye.