The Cotswolds are a quintessentially English area covering 790 square miles of English countryside on the sloping Cotswold hills. They are bordered between Bath and Oxford in the South and Worcester and Stratford upon-Avon in the north. The Cotswolds are typified by the honey-coloured stone which most of the cottages, walls and buildings are built from. Beautiful houses, fine buildings and churches make this a delightful area to visit. It is a worthy holder of the title ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Outdoor leisure pursuits such as walking in the river valleys and beech woods, or exploring the sleepy villages and historic market towns can be readily enjoyed. It seems that time has stood still in this idyllic area.
It is hard to know where to start when recommending must-see places and attractions, for the Cotswolds has more than its fair share of treasures. The towns in the Cotswolds were founded upon the wool trade and many fine churches and manor houses were built from the proceeds of this lucrative business. With the advent of cloth in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Cotswolds were left behind in their own time-warp. The legacy of wool can still be seen at Burford, where tombs are shaped like wool bales and 14th century wool merchant’s houses still remain. The Cotswold Woollen Weavers is a working mill demonstrating the processes of spinning and weaving wool from fleeces.
Kelmscott Manor is a typical stone-built house, once the home of the architect and textile designer, William Morris. The nearby Trout Inn was no doubt his favourite local and still accommodates travellers and locals alike.
The cities of Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon are well documented for their beautiful architecture and fascinating history. Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, is a massive mansion built in 1705. This masterpiece includes the Long Library and the Great Hall with a magnificent ceiling painting. Set in 2500 acres, the gardens were designed by Capability Brown, the master garden designer of that period. The nearby town of Woodstock is delightful and is on the outskirts of Oxford, another breathtaking part of England’s heritage.