The Cotswolds is a wonderful part England and to many the quintessential English countryside with it honey coloured stone buildings. It covers a huge area of more than 2000 km2, and runs through five counties – Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. We are able to create a bespoke group tour so you can follow your historical and horticultural passions and here you will find some of the UK’s greatest palaces, castles and country houses.
Snowshill Manor and Garden – Snowshill Manor is a 16th C Cotswold manor house in the village of Snowshill, Gloucestershire, this beautiful house was once the home of Charles Wade, an Edwardian gentleman who spent his life and inherited wealth collecting beautiful and interesting objects. The house which is owned by the National Trust is filled with over 22,000 objects from tiny toys to Samurai armour, musical instruments to fine clocks, they are all laid out exactly as Charles Wade intended. The gardens that surround the Manor are quintessentially English with formal lawns, colourful herbaceous borders and water features, with plenty of places to sit and relax. Next to the Manor House is the humble cottage, the Priest’s House where Charles Wade lived. Snowshill Manor, Garden and the Priest’s House are open from March to October, dogs are not allowed.
Ashdown House – an extraordinary 17thC building which resembles a doll’s house. It is set in a beautiful valley on the Berkshire Downs with panoramic views across three counties from the rooftop. Surrounded by woodland the house was built for the Queen of Bohemia in 1662 in an unusual Dutch style. The house is owned by the National Trust and access is only by guided tour on limited days from April to October, to reach the rooftop to admire the views visitors need to climb a 100-step staircase. The woodland surrounding the house is open all year and is a wonderful place for a walk, dogs are allowed on leads.
Blenheim Palace – The picture-perfect British stately home of Blenheim Palace sits among more than 800 hectares of extraordinary landscaped Parkland and Formal Gardens in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Blenheim Palace is home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family, it was also the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill. This 18thC palace was built in the rare English Baroque style, it is one of England’s largest houses and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Blenheim Palace is home to one of the most important and extensive collections in Europe, which includes portraits, furniture, sculpture and tapestries, there is so much to see on a tour of the State Rooms, from February- September you can also visit the Private Apartments and look behind the scenes in parts of the Palace which are still used as a home. The extraordinary landscape of the Park with the Great Lake and thousands of trees appears natural, but it was all designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Surrounding the Palace are the Formal Gardens, these delightful gardens include majestic Water Terraces, the Duke’s Private Italian Garden and the new Churchill Memorial Garden. In the family-friendly Pleasure Gardens, you can take a ride on a Miniature Train, get lost in the Marlborough Maze, and play in the Adventure Playground. Blenheim Palace is a wonderful day out for all the family and is open all year round.
Chastleton House – near Moreton-in-Marsh, this Jacobean country house which is built in wonderful Cotswold stone was owned by the same family for over 400 years until it was bought by the National Trust in 1991. It is one of England’s finest and most complete Jacobean houses and is filled with a mixture of rare and everyday objects which had been collected by the family since the house was completed in 1612. The gardens at Chastleton have been preserved with their Jacobean layout with a kitchen garden and plenty of topiary. From April – September you can play croquet on the lawns or watch a demonstration game, Chastleton is said to be the ‘home of croquet’ because it was here that the rules of the game were invented in 1865. The house and gardens are open from March to November.
Sudeley Castle & Gardens – Sudeley Castle is in a beautiful setting in the heart of the Cotswolds near to the village of Broadway. Surrounded by an estate of nearly 500 hectares and with 10 award winning gardens Sudeley Castle has played an important role in England’s history for over 1,000 years and it the only private castle in England to have a Queen buried in the grounds. Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s wives is entombed in the beautiful 15th C church within the gardens of the castle. Inside the castle rooms there is so much to see, it is one of the most interesting castles to visit in England. The 10 gardens at Sudeley are wonderful all year round, and the centre piece is the Queens Garden, names after four of England’s queens who once walked here, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I.
Sudeley Castle is a memorable family day out on your holiday to the Cotswolds, with something for everyone. The Castle and Gardens are open from March until December, dogs are not allowed.