A weekend guide to the Cotswolds
There's no place quite like the Cotswolds. It is one of England’s most unspoilt areas, where golden stone, quaint villages and rolling countryside tumble together in a world that time forgot. And just two hours from London, it is the ideal place to go for a weekend away (bank holiday or not). So if you're ready for a road trip this summer we've put together the ideal plan of how to spend 2 days in one of Britain's prettiest places.
Start your trip on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds, in the picturesque market town of Burford. Known as the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds', this riverside town has an ancient and interesting history that dates back to the Anglo Saxons. Today, you'll find plenty of places to eat, drink, and relax here. Yet Burford's independent shopping scene is what sets this town above the rest - with a high street lined with unusual antique shops and lovely boutiques.
Just 15 minutes away by car - Bibury is your next stop. William Morris once called it the 'most beautiful village in England'. And you'll certainly see why. Made up of sleepy honey stone buildings that lie higgledy-piggledy along the River Coln, Bibury is the definition of Cotswold charm. Whilst you're here make sure to visit the iconic Arlington Row of 16th-century cottages - one of Britain’s most photographed spots.
Cerney House Gardens
20 minutes further down the road, you'll find the Cerney House Gardens. A secluded place for a quiet afternoon, the 17th-century manor house's walled gardens have been carefully preened and pruned into a botanical haven. Beautiful flowers, fragrant plants and herbs, a Victorian green house and (of course) a tea shop are just a few of the things you'll find here, whilst wandering the manicured grounds.
Cotswold Water Park
Finish your day at the Cotswold Water Park, just a quarter of an hour away in the car. Set across an expanse of over 150 lakes, the park is home to nature reserves, an array of wildlife, and plenty of peaceful walking routes. Whilst the water presents a challenge for action lovers, with a range of activities and sports on offer to choose from.
Where to stay - Lake 6 is where you'll find one of our modern country hotels, De Vere Cotswold Water Park. At the end of the day, it is the perfect place to unwind with its own spa and two restaurants.
Only 20 miles north of Cotswold Water Park, Bourton-on-the-Water is another must see in the local area. This place is often called the 'Venice of the Cotswolds', thanks to its delicate low bridges that lace over the River Windrush. There's plenty to do here too. From their very own model village museum and railway exhibition to the unique Cotswold Perfumery shop (they've even made perfumes for the Queen) and rural walking trails around the surrounding countryside.
Next up, just over a mile away are two small villages known collectively as The Slaughters. Entwined by the River Eye, both have remained unchanged for over a century, and are some of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. Better yet, they can be easily reached on foot from Bourton-on-the-Water via a lovely country path. In Lower Slaughter, stop off at the 14th-century mill & cafe. Whilst in Upper Slaughter you'll find the charming Eyford House, a Gloucestershire mansion once voted Britain's favourite home.
Photo sourced from Flickr
Daylesford farm shop
Only 15 minutes further up the road, stop off at the Daylesford Organic farm shop for lunch. Daylesford is one of the most sustainable farms in the UK with a sole focus on healthy, organic produce. Their store includes a butcher, bakery, creamery, and homeware shop among others. Alongside a popular cafe and a restaurant where you can sample some of the farm's seasonal delicious fare.
After that, the Cotswold Lavender farm is your next stop. Here, for a small entrance fee, you can experience the wonderful sights and smells of the farm as you wander through its endless strings of lavender fields. The farm itself is only open to guests during the summer months when the lavender is at its fullest and most vibrant. But there's also an online shop open all year round that sells their own lavender skin care products, homeware and essential oils.
Photo sourced from Pexels
Finish your trip at Chipping Campden, an old wool market town just 10 minutes away. Best known for its winding high street flanked by buildings dating back as early as the 14th century, the town is an architectural treasure. Make sure you visit of the cosy pubs nestled in the centre for some proper Cotswold food and drink before beginning your journey home.