Included here are the most interesting places to see and visit in the Cotswolds, some familiar, at least in name, others that are overlooked or ignored. I have tried to provide enough information on each to illuminate without venturing very much into the recondite.
Because prices and timetables change so rapidly and because the internet is to hand, practical information is kept to a minimum, confined for the most part here to location, access, and telephone numbers where applicable. Suggestions are offered about travelling on public transport or on foot, not to preach a ‘responsible travel’ sermon but to indicate that such possibilities do exist (sometimes) and may offer unexpectedly cheap and pleasant preferences to driving on congested roads.
Inevitably, there are other claimants for inclusion – the author welcomes all ideas.
Christopher Knowles spent his early adult life as a professional traveller. During that period he lived on trains in China, Mongolia and the USSR. He loves walking and so settled in the Cotswolds.
All you need to know about the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds - what are they?
The Cotswolds are a range of hills in western England, part of a region sometimes referred to as the Heart of England, an area 40 miles across and 120 miles long. These figures are debatable, as many people will have their own interpretation of where the Cotswolds begin and end; but it is certain that they roll principally through the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, extending into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Although the name refers originally to the hills, it has come to be associated with a broad geographical area with certain architectural, historical and geological characteristics. A broad, modern definition of the boundaries might be described by three motorways – the M4 in the south, the M5 in the west, and the M40 to the east, plus a few bits outside each. Everywhere within the area encompassed by those roads is the Cotswolds. Beyond any geographical definition, the Cotswolds have become a brand: a characterisation of rural England, just as red double-decker buses characterise London. That is all very well as a selling point for the tourism industry, which tends to freeze its victims in convenient packages, but gives a distorted picture of a region that is much more than a series of picturesque villages.