Whatever the season, whatever the weather, you just cannot beat the Cotswolds. The unspoiled, natural beauty of the lush rolling hills, and the pretty stone villages, there’s just nowhere quite like it.
To help make the most of your visit, I’ve included some of my top tips on where to stay and what to do.
Nestled in the beautiful Lower Slaughter, I recommend staying at The Slaughters Country Inn. A tiny village on the banks of a babbling stream.
Wake up and enjoy breakfast beside the river, with the 100-year-old oak trees rustling overhead.The name “Lower Slaughter” comes from the Old English name for wet land ‘slough’ or ‘slothre’ (Old English for muddy place). Thankfully, it’s not quite so muddy now! And there are two old footbridges for crossing to either side of the river that runs through its heart.
A sroll through the village will bring you past the little chocolate box houses and to the old mill which was listed in the Doomsday Book of 1086. So, it’s fair to say that this village has seen its fair share of history.
A short walk out of town (make sure to pack your boots), you’ll find the beautiful countryside, ripe for walks and picnicking.
For those who would like to visit Upper Slaughter, which is also very beautiful. Take these directions:
– Take the footpath hidden next to the old mill. There should be a sign to ‘Wardens Way’. Follow it along the river’s edge and cross three fields.
– Take the little stone bridge over the river, and once you find the road, turn right.
– Cross the river again and turn left when you see a sign that says, “unsuitable for motors”.
– Keep walking until you come across a ford (where the road is submerged beneath the river) and cross over (wade through in your boots or keep dry on the little footbridge, depending how adventurous you’re feeling!)
– Walk all the way to the top of the hill until you find the village square and take the road to the left.
– Walk on until you find the footpath sign and head back to Lower Slaughter the way you came.
The Cotswolds was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966 – the largest in England and Wales. With its extensive limestone grasslands, ancient woodlands, and pretty villages, it’s not hard to see why.
The beautiful green hills are heaven for grazing sheep, which is how the area came to be known as the very best place to source wool in Medieval times. People would flock (excuse the pun!) from all over Europe to trade for the highly prised fabric. This success is visible in the grander towns like Chipping Campden and in the sheer number of stately homes in the surrounding areas.
I highly recommend renting a car to venture a little further afield. Within just a short distance, you’ll find some of my favourite villages including, Stow On The Wold, Chipping Norton, Bourton on The Water, Kingham (home to my favourite pub, The Wild Rabbit) and so many more, just waiting to be discovered.
There are lots of stately homes to see, along with their rambling grounds for exploring. Just to get you started, a few favourites include Snowshill Manor, Upton House, Chastleton House, Charlecote Park, Blenheim Palace, Kelmscott Manor, Buscot Park, Hanbury Hall, and the spectacular Batsford Arboretum.
Of course, you could always take the pressure off and book a tour with a local expert. Who will whisk you away to see all the very best bits, in comfort and style.
No trip to the British Countryside would be complete without a visit to a pub or three. You won’t find a village without one. In the colder months you’ll be able to spot them a mile away, with a plume of smoke rising from the chimney. Step across the cold stone threshold and into the warm embrace of a proper English pub. The sweet smell of cider, the waft of warm bread, the sound of boisterous banter and the inviting glow of a warm fire.
Local favourites dishes include pie & mash, bubble ‘n’ squeak, beef Wellington, shepherd’s pie, toad in the hole, ploughman’s lunch, potted shrimp, fish ‘n’ chips and of course, a classic Sunday roast. Order up a storm, and don’t forget a pint! Then find yourself a snuggly spot beside the fire to while away the afternoon.
Just be sure to top it all off with a generous helping of my all-time favourite British dessert, sticky toffee pudding. Or maybe a good crumble, with lashing of custard, or bread and butter pudding. But then you’ll want to save room for an afternoon tea of scones, clotted cream and jam.
With so much to see, eat and do, you’ll just have to stay a little longer!
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About the author
Lifestyle blogger, Rosie Londoner runs the very successful blog, The Londoner, where she shares her thoughts on everything from travel and style, to some of her favourite recipes and London hot spots. Follow Rosie on Instagram at @rosielondoner or at https://www.thelondoner.me/“
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