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The Cotswolds covers six UK counties, with rolling hills dotted by grazing sheep. The region is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and offers the quintessential experience of the English countryside. You’ll find Cotswolds hotels, cottages and apartments to rent, and cosy B&Bs throughout the area.
Walking, hiking and cycling
It’s said that the Cotswolds area is more or less the same size as central Tokyo in Japan. The Cotswold Way National Trail walking route is 102 miles long, running from Chipping Campden to Bath. Cyclists can take on the gentler slopes of the south Cotswolds or the more challenging inclines in the north.
On your travels, you’re likely to see 18th and 19th-century drystone walls. These were built without cement – before it was invented – and show off a considerable skill.
The Church of St Peter & St Paul in Northleach is ‘the cathedral of the Cotswolds’. You’ll also see many ‘wool churches’ around – medieval religious buildings built with money from the area’s booming wool trade.
Food in the Cotswolds
Restaurants in the Cotswolds can claim to use some of the freshest ingredients in the world. They are often sourced straight from local farms and used the same day, adding a little more flavour to your dish.
If you’re in the mood for afternoon tea with home-made scones and cakes, this is often offered at hotels. Most of the hotels, manor houses and inns will have a restaurant attached to them. The eatery at Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter has been awarded a Michelin star.
Add to your day out by picking your own fruit. Hayles Fruit Farm near Cheltenham has apples, raspberries, plums, and more unusual fruits including gooseberries and tayberries (when in season).
Souvenirs and shopping
Bigger towns and cities in the Cotswolds such as Bath, Cirencester, Gloucester and Cheltenham have more shops and facilities.
The scents at Cotswolds Perfumery in Bourton-on-the-Water are made by hand. You’re likely to stumble across other unusual finds at any of the area’s antiques shops.
As there are over 3,400 farms in the region, the regular farmer’s markets are always packed with enticing stalls and eager customers. Each market only sources from within a 30-mile radius, keeping things reassuringly local.
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