The Cotswolds is a charming region not far from London that truly embodies the quintessential English countryside look and feel. Rolling hills, honey colored villages with thatch-roofed cottages, castles, palaces, gardens, and so much more can all be found here. The area is perfect for those looking for a laid back getaway full of country walks, sipping tea in the afternoons, and exploring quaint villages. Easily added on to a London itinerary, or a trip all of its own, here are a few reasons why you should consider the Cotswolds for your next vacation.
Castles, Palaces, and Historic Houses
Blenheim Palace is one of my favorite places to visit. This monumental palace is packed full of beautiful art and the gardens are a true sight to behold. I enjoy visiting at all times of year, in the summer it is perfect for lazy walks amongst the meadows full of sheep and in the winter there is a fabulous Christmas Light Trail around the grounds and the interior gets all dressed up as well. While Blenheim Palace certainly steals much of the limelight in this region, there are a number of other places to visit as well. Visit Broadway Tower for the views, Sudeley Castle for the gardens (and rare pheasant collection), and Berkeley Castle for the impeccably preserved medieval castle (still lived in by the family who built it 900 years ago!). Also make time for Chavenage House, Kelmscott Manor, Woodchester Mansion, Buscot Park, Newark Park, and so much more.
There are a number of must-see gardens on any visit to the region. Start with HRH Prince Charles' country home, Highgrove House near Tetbury. This spectacular garden is truly the Prince's pride and joy, and you can feel his love for the place in every corner. Don't miss Hidcote Manor, one of England's greatest gardens which is known for its rare plantings and spectacular herbaceous borders. Another beautiful spot is Snowshill Manor and Gardens, famous for their enormous collections of plantings from all around the world. A few others to see include Owlpen Manor, Rousham, Bourton House Garden, Batsford Arboretum, Westonbirt, and more.
The Cotswolds has so many options for kids and families. The Cotswolds Wildlife Park has over 260 different species living on 120 acres of parkland, while the Cotswold Farm Park is committed to rare breed preservation. The Glocestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway and the Cotswold Motoring Museum offer a fun day out for the family as well.
There are also endless things to see and do for fans of British television from Downton Abbey to Midsomer Murders, active travelers who want to include hiking or biking in their trip, and even for those who just want a relaxing weekend at the spa. All of this and more can be found in the Cotswolds!
Thinking that a visit to the Cotswolds sounds like the perfect idea for you? Then why not click here to take a look at our group trip heading there this September. Get in touch at (610) 880-7381 today!