10 Towns And Villages In The Cotswolds You Should Visit
The Cotswolds really is the best of British. Historic market towns dating back centuries combine with lush countryside and countless fabulous pubs and restaurants to form the backbone of the region. There are so many different towns and villages to visit in the area, each offering something different to its neighbours. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 of the best places to visit when spending some time in the Cotswolds.
Often dubbed the “Capital of the Cotswolds”, Cirencester is one of the largest settlements in the region. The town dates back to Roman times when it was known as Corinium. Much of this heritage remains intact, with visitors flocking to see the Roman amphitheatre, as well as to relax in Cirencester Park and see the historic Church of St John the Baptist. The town boasts great transport links, making it easy to venture into more rural parts of the Cotswolds from Cirencester.
The best way to spend your time in Chipping Norton is by eating and drinking. The Fox, The Blue Boar and Wild Thyme Restaurant are some of the highest rated, serving a mouth-watering array of food and drink. There are plenty of walking opportunities in the area too, perfect for burning off your lunch. It’s also a great place for celebrity spotting. Famous faces such as Jeremy Clarkson live in the town, and former Prime Minister David Cameron also lived in the area during his premiership.
Naunton is a quiet, picturesque village on the River Windrush. Though small, Naunton is perfect for spending a couple of hours exploring before you head to nearby Stow-on-the-Wold. Take a walk to the top of the hill which overlooks the village, or tuck into a delicious lunch at the The Black Horse. Naunton is one of the oldest settlements in the country, having been recorded in the Doomsday Book a thousand years ago.
In medieval times, Chipping Campden was the heart of the British wool industry but it is now a popular tourist destination, with stunning architecture and quaint independent shops. It also has the second highest density of listed buildings in the whole of the UK, making it a perfect destination for lovers of history and architecture.
Stow-on-the-Wold is a historic Cotswolds market town, perched at the top of a hill and surrounded by lush countryside. Highlights of the town include St Edwards Church and the Fosse Gallery, whilst nearby Chastleton House is like stepping back in history. The iconic Farmers Market is still held in the town on the second Thursday of every month – it is worth timing your visit to Stow with this event if you can.
At the southern edge of the Cotswolds lies the historic spa town of Bath, which, as its name suggests, is famous for its Roman baths. The baths date back to 43AD, and visitors can still see the original structures and imagine how the Romans got together to bathe in this historic environment. It’s also worth climbing the tower at Bath Abbey for fabulous views over the town, and there are numerous top quality museums to visit.
Broadway is a charming village to explore, with a host of independent shops and eateries, including Russell Fish and Chips – often lauded as serving some of the best fish and chips in the country. Nature lovers will also want to take a stroll up the steep hill to Broadway Tower if they’re in the area. The reward will be breathtaking views of the Cotswolds countryside. Nearby Snowshill Manor is also worth visiting – the estate is managed by the National Trust and has a host of artefacts on display from all over the world.
Moreton In Marsh
There are two things which make Moreton in Marsh stand out. The first is the famous weekly market, which is one of the best in the country. Every Tuesday, more than 200 stalls set up with a staggering array of produce on offer, from food and drink to clothing, leather and gifts. The second is the Bell Inn pub. The pub serves a range of delicious food and drink but is most commonly associated with J R R Tolkien. It is believed that the “Lord of the Rings” based The Prancing Pony pub in his legendary novel on the Bell Inn in Moreton in Marsh, a pub he was known to frequent. Fans of Middle Earth will love tucking into a pub lunch at the very same establishment.
Bourton-on-the-Water is like a slice of Venice in the English countryside. The network of tiny bridges which crisscross the River Windrush are a quintessential charm which have helped to make the town one of the most popular in the Cotswolds. As well as wandering along the river, visitors to Bourton-on-the-Water can spend time browsing a host of independent shops, sipping tea in some of the cafes or visiting the nearby Cotswold Motor Museum.
The main attraction in the pretty village of Painswick is the historic St Mary’s Parish Church. The landmark is Grade I listed and the 99 yew trees in the churchyard are believed to be some of the oldest trees to be found anywhere in England. The Rocco Garden is also worth a visit, home to ornate gardens and a well-tended maze.
Many of the Cotswolds’ towns and villages can be covered in an hour or two, making it possible for a well-planned day trip to take in many of the highlights of the region. Alternatively, hotels or bed and breakfasts are in good supply throughout the area, so it is easy to spend a few days or a week exploring the area more leisurely.
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