“ Anyone in search of the true English countryside need look no further than the Cotswolds, considered by many to be amongst the most beautiful areas in England. „
The cotswolds, one of the most beautiful areas of britain if not the most beautiful, with rolling hills of countryside, exquisitely formed cottages and houses in cotswolds pale stone, long haired sheep, incredible architecture, culture and overall villages that have a classic picture postcard magic towards them. If you visit one place in england for a stay away it has to be the cotswolds.
We visited the cotswolds only a few weeks ago. My husband and my daughter aged 3 and had a fantastic time. The weather was classic british weather with rain and yet it didnt ruin our trip at all as we managed to visit many of the villages on our planned route and visited not only the picturesque hamlets but the cities located within the boundaries of the cotswolds and the rolling hills in between.
On our first stop we set into oxford. A classical city thriving with culture, harry potter esque architecture and scholar attributes everywhere. A city bustling with life, elegance and magic and one not to be missed. The christchurch college and cathedral was an area of beauty and fascination as was the grand hall and the castle.
Onto the inner cotswolds we entered immediately into moreton in the marsh, possibly not the most desirable areas of villages so not one to put on the must see list however beyond this village lies broadway, a superb village with the most ornate high street ever seen and almost toy style buildings full of character. Further down are stow on the wold and snowshill. Snowshill is a must where they hold a lavender farm, has to be seen to be beleived, a tiny hamlet of houses and a beautiful old pub. The area is up on a hill and isnt the easiest to access however so worth it once you are there.
The slaughters and bourton on the water are picturesque. The slaughters have a stream running all the way through the middle of the village and the peacefullness is something unique. Bourton on the water again strikes you with ornate quality and you are more likely to drive alongside a duck rather than a car!
Coming right up further you come to stratford upon avon, the home of shakespeare and albeit we only visited this area in the evening when it was dark it was incredibly beautiful and with the classic tudor buildings this was certainly one to see.
Overall an exquisite part of the country with easy travel access if by car and coach, however if you want to get the train then some villages are very difficult to get to. Great for outdoors enthusiasts and for walkers as well as areas to suit all the family.
Having never been to the Cotswolds I had no idea what to expect except that it was in the country. I was not disappointed. We stayed at Oatfield Country Cottages near Etloe which is not far from Balkeney on the north of the Severn Estuary. The accommodation was excellent. It was reasonably priced and extremely friendly. The cottage was clean and well equipped. The only downside was when it transpired that the twin room could not be properly turned into a double and so my friend and his wife were slightly miffed. The countryside was as unspoilt as possible and with the nearest town of any significance (ie having a supermarket!) being some 20minutes drive away we really were in the middle of nowhere. We went horse riding at the Little Dean School of Riding which was a ridiculously cheap £12 for 1 hour (and I think only £16 for 2 hours). The ride took us up into the Forest of Dean and was extremely relaxing. We also went to Cheltenham that boasts some extremely exquisite shops (my wife was in heaven) and some excellent sales (not guaranteed at all times of the year). As for the locals - I cannot praise them enough. One night on getting stuck on ice a few of the locals helped pushed us out and then proceeded to change my tyre for me in the freezing cold absolutely refusing to let me do it myself. The local pub (The Red Hunt) was the cheapest pub I have been to in a long time and served up some excellent real ale. I am sure that in the summer this could be an even better holiday but all 4 of us found it to be relaxing and enjoyable and well worth doing again.