Whilst international travel is restricted, native Brits can plan a fantastic staycation to the Cotswolds. Thanks to its wealth of canals and footways, it’s here that you’ll find some of the best walking holidays in the UK.
Feet Do Travel show why you need to visit the Cotswolds, England.
The Cotswolds boasts more conservation areas than any other region in the country, however it offers more than rolling hills and lush green countryside, it’s a place of historical importance.
Just to the north is the birthplace of Shakespeare in the mediaeval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon.
At the southern tip of the Cotswolds, you will find the historic City of Bristol which has a rich maritime history. It is believed the famous pirate Blackbeard was born in Bristol. Just up the road is Bath which is known for its well preserved Roman Baths, after which the City was named. Bath’s Georgian architecture is stunning, especially the Royal Crescent, so it’s no wonder that the novelist Jane Austen made this area her home for six years.
What is there to see in the Cotswolds?
Although the majority of the Cotswolds is to be found in Gloucestershire, it actually stretches across several counties, including Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Northeast Somerset. As such, it packs in plenty of attractions, including some of the country’s most picturesque towns and villages. Let’s examine a few of them.
Warwick is home to an incredible castle. Built in 1068 by William the Conqueror and fortified extensively throughout its lifespan, the castle remains among the most striking examples of military architecture dating from the medieval period. As well as being visually stunning, it’s also well looked-after, and a fantastic place to take children.
This part of the Cotswolds is best known as the home of Hidcote Gardens. It provides a warren of narrow pathways and secrets to explore, as well as a few secluded spots where you’ll be able to settle down and spot the local wildlife.
For dessert lovers with a sweet tooth, Three Ways Hotel hosts the Pudding Club every Friday and Saturday. The Pudding Club has a parade of seven traditional English desserts known as “puddings”, all of which you can sample then cast a vote for your favourite. A dream weekend for many!
We’ve already mentioned the birthplace of Shakespeare, but the must-see attractions here are the restored 16th-century half-timbered houses.
Walk in the footsteps of the famous playwright and visit the actual house of Shakespeare’s’ Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s house (Shakespeare’s wife’s home), or Mary Arden’s farm (Shakespeare’s Mother’s childhood house). Listen to stories of how the Tudors lived and admire the gorgeous countryside as you travel from one attraction to the next.
As well as the Bard’s birthplace, there’s the school where he was educated, and a theatre which used to stage productions (pre Coronavirus).
This little village draws in hordes of tourists, thanks to its combination of attractions and classic looks. There’s Birdland, home to over 500 birds set in nine acres of gardens and woodland. Here you will find the country’s only group of breeding king penguins, as well as hornbills, parrots, and a few life-size dinosaurs in the Jurassic Journey section. Bourton is also home to a motoring museum, which should provide automotive enthusiasts with an interesting way to spend an afternoon.
Last but not least is Gloucester, the County capital of Gloucestershire. For Harry Potter fans, author JK Rowling was born in Gloucestershire, and drew inspiration from the county for many of her names and characters (The Dursley’s for example)
Gloucester Cathedral is an active place of worship dating back over a thousand years. It not only has magnificent architecture, but it has featured in multiple scenes for two of the Harry Potter movies (The Philosophers Stone and Chamber of Secrets).
The historic Cloisters were transformed into the corridors of Hogwarts, the original door to the Gryffindor Common Room is here, the toilet occupied by Moaning Myrtle, plus some of the troll scenes.
Now you have seen what the Cotswolds has to offer, which area will you visit first?
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