A short guide to the Cotswolds

The British countryside is already the stuff of legends among travelers and would be travelers, and they provide a nice counterpoint to the fame of the UK as a cultural or shopping paradise. Sure, British weather tends to be on the wet and cloudy side, but nothing can deter the intrepid traveler from exploring the beauty and wonders of the countryside. And among all rural regions in the UK, the Cotswolds, the gentle hilly region in south-central England, is among the most picturesque. So if you are planning a nice long trip to the British countryside, here’s a short guide to the Cotswolds.

Transport

Getting to the Cotswolds is not a problem (Gloucester, Cheltenham and some other of the larger towns all have train stations), but when it comes to getting around, renting a car is pretty much the only option, seeing as bus service is rather limited and the railway network equally so. But the Cotswolds is a great country for walking or cycling – it has gentle hills that won’t take a great toll on your muscles and the countryside is too beautiful to be seen through the window of a car or bus anyway.

Towns and villages

The Cotswolds, even a tiny portion of it, is not a place to be visited in a daytrip, so you will need to choose a town or a village as your base of explorations. The cities, towns and villages in this area of exceptional natural beauty are great tourist attractions. The charm of Cotswolds lies not only in its scenic natural areas, but in its human settlements too. The largest city is Gloucester, and the largest town in the Cotswolds is Cheltenham, a historic spa town with lots of cultural attractions. But it’s the villages that are always more fun to visit: Adlestrop, one of the most beautiful villages in the region, with a perfect, calm and picturesque pastoral atmosphere. Other villages of interest include Chedworth, Broadway, and Minchinhampton.

Attractions

The Cotswolds is famous for its large number of historical houses surrounded by beautiful parks or countryside. Snowshill Manor, Chavanage, William Morris’s house at Kelmscott, Sudeley Castle and Berkeley Castle are only a few of the historical buildings you can visit, and even if you cannot enter the houses, their parks are real works of art. Even if you don’t have a particular destination in mind, wandering around the Cotswolds will provide you with more than enough things to see. You can find a huge list of attractions on the official Cotswolds website.A

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