Luxury Hotels In The Cotswolds

If you want a luxurious time, superior values and customary hospitality then you are looking for luxury hotels in the Cotswolds. Cotswold includes a castle, manor houses, and historical inns. If you take pleasure in being a visitor and not just some other room number, these extravagant hotels are for you. Here are some hotels that may be of interest to you.

Chargingworth Manor

Charingworth Manor is a beautiful escape. The views are commanded over calm rural Gloucestershire Countryside for over 700 years. Perfect for exploring this gorgeous part of England, Charingworth Manor is a peaceful location for vacations to important conferences. Enjoy yourself in the 26 bedrooms that have been newly refurbished to the highest standard offering modern style, all-new beds and duvets, plasma TVs, internet available, and extraordinary bathrooms. Enjoy a relaxing walk through stunning gardens, open country side, and more.

Dine in the intimate AA rosette restaurant with seasonal menu that make the most excellent of fresh Cotswold produce. Unwind in Cotswold spa with its own gym, sauna, steam room and pool. The heart of England is on their doorstep with historical houses and renowned gardens to explore. There is Shakespeare’s Stratford to discover and Broadway and Burford just is just a short drive away. Charingworth is a pet friendly hotel and welcomes your dogs to stay.

Thornbury Castle

Want a romantic getaway to the past? Then visit Thornbury Castle where Kings and Queens have stayed, Courtiers have flirted with ladies-in-waiting in the very old yew hedged gardens, and service girls have whispered in the halls. Thornbury is the only Tudor castle in England to be open as a hotel and still resonates with history. Nevertheless, step behind heavy oak doors and you will find a splendid hotel with roaring fires, extravagant bedrooms, holistic and massage treatments suitable for men and women.

The lunch menu changes on a daily basis enabling the Chef to integrate the freshest seasonal produce. Walk the grounds and benefit from the open air where Kings of England once walked. Enjoy a royal night’s sleep in the Duke’s Bedchamber where King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn slept. If you favor the Cloucester Bedchamber, wake up to a view of the oldest Tudor gardens in England.

The Goring

If you are looking for a historical getaway then The Goring is your place. Built in 1910 flanking to Buckingham Palace it is ideally the location you want to stay. You can gaze on the historical castle of the Queen. It is within walking distance of the Royal parks, London’s major shopping areas and the spirit of the West End. The Goring has luxurious bedrooms and one of the first to have personal spacious bathrooms.

Lounge in the bar with elite access to the private gardens, dinning on the Veranda during the season of summer, private dining rooms for meetings and special occasions, approved membership to local health club with full access to pool and gym, high speed internet, internet on TVs with infra-red keyboard, and much more. The Goring is one of the oldest but elegant hotels in London but is one of the most updated.

Something Different

If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded and exclusive, check out our blog post on places to stay near the Cheltenham Festival for some other suggestions.

Hotels in Bibury

Arlington Row in Bibury

Despite its diminutive size, there are a number of hotels and other places to stay in the ever popular village of Bibury.

It is often regarded as the quintessential country village, with beautiful Cotswold stone buildings surrounded by meandering rivers and sporadic, overgrown birch trees.

If you are looking for a country weekend getaway then read on for recommendations on the top 4 places to stay in the village (in no particular order).

Swan Hotel Bibury

The iconic Swan Hotel is a 4 star hotel nestled in the heart of the charming village of Bibury. Take a look for yourself at Swan Hotel Bibury.

Cotteswold House

A beautiful Cotswold stone bed and breakfast. Commended with a Four Diamond Gold Rating by the AA, it assures quality similar to a Mayfair hotel, but maintains a personal touch expected from a family run business. If you prefer a more flexible stay, you can stay in one of the self-catering spacious cottages. The Cotteswold House is definitely a place for the luxurious country getaway.

Bibury Holiday Cottages

If you prefer a traditional 17th century country cottage then this may be for you. These highly sought after cottages (there are only four) are situated on the edge of the River Coln – a calm river separating the village. They may have been built over 300 years ago but the interior is very much modern fitted with modern day heating! Each cottage sleeps up to 4 people. In the summer, the glorious sun shines on the neatly kept gardens surrounding the cottages.

A few minutes down the road and you can reach 2 fantastic restaurants serving only local produce and a picturesque country pub serving local beverages. Visit Bibury Holiday Cottages here.

Arlington Row

The iconic and much photographed cottages of Arlington Row are owned by the National Trust. One of these cottages is available to rent as a holiday cottage, for more information visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/9-arlington-row-the-cotswolds

Arlington Row in Bibury
Arlington Row in Bibury

The Typical English Cottage

Thatched cottage in the Cotswolds village of Broad Campden

Great Britain is famous for its scenic countryside and cottages. Here the refreshing greenery and cleanliness of the air are really amazing.

The countryside is also characterized by a pristine beauty including green hills sloping down towards rugged mountain ranges with hundreds of waterfalls, inhospitable gorges, sand eddies, cliffs, subtropical vegetation and numerous lakes.

It is a romantic setting composed of endless pastures and wheat fields. For certain aspects it reminds of Tuscan landscapes; may have this been the reason why in the Eighteen and Nineteen-hundreds English literates moved to and celebrated Tuscany in their accounts and works?

Typically hedges and stone walls delimit the landscape. Here the heritage is without any doubt the pride of this friendly people.

An important part of the history of the place are the worldwide famous English cottages, especially those in the Cotswolds area. But it does not matter from which cottage you depart, in Britain there is always a bit of nature to discover.

Thatched cottage in the Cotswolds village of Broad Campden
A thatched cottage in the Cotswolds village of Broad Campden

The impressive castles, beautiful churches and stately country houses surrounded by beautiful gardens should not be left out from your program of visits.

It would be a pity not to discover the ancient British traditions: cricket tournaments and horse races amongst them. But let’s not forget the afternoon tea; this is a lovely tradition that you can enjoy organizing a tea party yourself when renting a home or cottage.

Most of the times you will find a typical English tea set for your personal use. And how can you say no to having an abundant English breakfast, a “Full Monty”, perhaps in the garden, during a beautiful summer morning?

The English countryside is also famous for its small but lively pubs, still rooted in the ancient rural traditions. Having a pint with the locals adds so much flavour to your holiday!

The Village pub, Barnsley, Gloucestershire
The Village pub in Barnsley, Gloucestershire. It’s far more more chic than the name might suggest

As a matter of fact, cottages started out as humble rural homes, although nowadays they have become desirable and fashionable, and can be quite prestigious homes.

The term indicates the typical country house of British provinces, intended for one family. Almost always cottages still in use are the result of subsequent additions and enlargements from what the original nucleus used to be.

This was carried on to satisfy the growing needs of a family. The resulting structure is very picturesque due to the combination of various colours and textures, but the most common appearance is composed of stone or bricks.

The typical cottage architecture and look can not only be found in private homes for rent, but also in many hotels, and summer and winter resorts.

Nevertheless, private cottage villas are the best way to enjoy a self catering holiday in the Cotswolds. Just imagine staying in a cozy and quaint English-style cottage. Rooms are fully furnished and comfortable, while fireplaces and fully equipped kitchens provide all the necessary for a romantic holiday in any season.

The intimate and romantic atmosphere of a cottage is ideal for a honeymoon or even just a weekend. These small country houses surrounded by nature are perfect to switch off and recharge your batteries.

A Walk in the English Countryside

3 Must-See Attractions in Castle Combe

Castle Combe, otherwise known as the Prettiest Village in England, is nestled in the southernmost corner of the Cotswolds. Visiting this sleepy, rural community is like stepping back into the 14th century.

Elegantly crafted stone houses, weavers’ cottages, stately gardens and narrow byways combine to create a traditional and picturesque English village.

While the castle on the hill made famous by the Normans no longer exists, the village of Castle Combe is a beautifully preserved example of the way life used to be in the English countryside. If you are out on a walking tour of Wiltshire, be sure to stop here to have a pint and explore its ancient sites and quiet charm. Here are three must-see highlights.

1. A 14th century Market Cross can be found in the centre of the village. These stone landmarks were used to signify the market squares in medieval times. Adjacent to the Market Cross, you will also find a Buttercross. This stone structure is where traders and market goers would tether their horses.

2. Located in the centre of the village, St. Andrew’s Church was built in the 13th century. The tower was added in the 15th century. Wealthy wool merchants funded the tower. The tower’s clock, which was designed by a local blacksmith, is the most famous attraction at St. Andrew’s Church. The clock is not only faceless, which makes it unique, but it is also considered to be one of the oldest working medieval clocks in England.

castle combe church

3. Take a stroll from the Market Cross to By Brook. By Brook is the river that powered Castle Combe’s wool industry in the Middle Ages. The Town Bridge and the Roman Bridge both span this river, and they are charming, well-preserved relics of a bygone era.

A Guide to Cirencester

When you are looking for great holiday ideas for a getaway, check out Cirencester, in the Cotswolds, United Kingdom. Located Northwest of London, near Bristol, Cirencester is a very historic part of Britain and is a great place to learn about British history and architecture. Cirencester will provide you with a fantastic travel experience.

Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds, has been around since the days of Alexander the Great and during the Roman Empire it was the largest city in England next to London. The city is filled with amazing architecture like St. John the Baptist Cathedral, built in 1490 and the Corinium Museum with many historical artifacts from the Roman Empire.

The photo above shows St. John the Baptist, Cirencester.

Image Source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3547/3407152222_758a2056ab_m.jpg

Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/3407152222/

Cirencester has a number of great attractions for you to enjoy including Cirencester Park with its lush geometric landscaping, the Cirencester Street Market and several walking tours that highlight the amazing landscape around the city. The Gloucestershire Way walking tour features a 100 mile walk through the Cotswold farmland. The walking tours are a great environment for taking photographs and just enjoying the fresh air.

Other attractions in the area include the Broadway Tower that was built in 1799, the Abbey House Gardens, Batsford Arboretum, Mill Dene Garden, the Bristol Aero Collection, the Chedworth Roman Villas, Rodmarton Manor, the Brewery Arts Centre and the Cirencester Amphitheatre.

The Corinium Museum features many great artefacts that go back to the prehistoric days as well as exhibits from the Roman Empire that range from tombstones and mosaics to sculptures, artwork and more. There are also relics and artefacts that have been unearthed by archaeologists around the area and examples of Victorian lifestyle during the 1800′s. The museum is open every day during various hours and an entrance fee is charged for admission.

The photo above shows a view of the Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

Image Source: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3453/3390060859_dcdb05b1f4_m.jpg

Image Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbury/3390060859/

The Bristol Aero Museum in Cirencester features a number of aircraft exhibits from the Bristol Aeroplane Company as well as displays of British Aircraft, missiles and aircraft engines. The Bristol Aero Museum also features several events throughout the year that display the company’s business practices and industry projects.

Cirencester also features many activities such as ballooning, cycling, horse riding, golf, fishing and more. There are also a number of artistic classes like pottery, wood turning and furniture restoration classes that you can take to learn various crafts.

County Cotswold is known for its great shops and arts and crafts heritage, where you can find British antiques and many art galleries that showcase the artists around Cirencester and County Cotswold.

The city of Cirencester also includes many Cotswold villas that provide very comfortable lodging during your stay in Cirencester. There are also several cottages, hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area for you to stay. If you enjoy camping, there are some camp grounds nearby that offer spaces for tents as well as caravans. There are also several car rental agencies in the area that can provide you with a vehicle to get you around the area.

When you are ready for a great experience in the English countryside, check out Cirencester for your next holiday getaway.

5 Tips to Save Money on Your Travels

Travelling is associated with a lot of expenditure these days. As a result, either drop the idea of travelling or have reduced the number of travel destinations on their lists. However, if you properly plan your trip and take some precautions during travelling, you can easily reduce the expenditure involved while travelling. This post covers 5 tips to save money on your travel. If you follow these tips during travelling, you can keep the costs involved in limit without comprising the quality of the tour.

Do not Travel in the Peak Season

It is a known fact that high season is associated with higher prices for everything involved. For instance, during peak season, you will have to pay more for the hotels, transportation will be costlier and entry fees to the parks, museums and other attractions will generally be higher. As a result, travelling during peak season can cost too much on your pocket. In order to save money, you should consider travelling in the shoulder season or just after the high season. You will find discounts at these times and an added bonus is that places tend not to be as busy, so you don’t have to deal with the kind of crowds that you’ll encounter at the busiest times of the year.

Compare the prices online

You should check the fares online and compare the prices offered by different airlines. Also plan your trip in advance and book the tickets one month before as it comes with discounted prices. You will be surprised to know that the difference can be as much as half the cost of an immediate booking.

Eat Your Lunch during the Afternoon

When you are travelling, you should take your lunch at about 3 o’clock as the prices are lower during that time in most of the restaurants. You can take snacks before if you feel hungry. The food served during this time is of the same quality and you even get more attention from the restaurant staff as there are less people. Moreover, no reservation is required for such timings and thus you need not pay any special fee. You can save a lot of money this way depending on the number of days involved in the whole trip.

Use City Buses and other public transport

One of the easiest ways to save money during travelling is by using city buses. The fares in the city buses are quite low in comparison to cabs and taxis. Thus if you are tight with the budget, there is no harm in using city buses instead if a private cab. If you travel a lot, you can even get a weekly or monthly pass to save more money. Having proper knowledge of the local places and distances will also ensure that you do not get overcharged for transportation. Thus make a proper if you are travelling to a new place.

Get a Travel Reward Credit Card

In case you travel frequently, you should get a travel reward credit card. These cards provide you some points on every purchase made using it. You can later redeem the points for cash or another purchase. Thus in the longer run, it is just like discount on the overall expenditure done through the travel credit card. However, you need to be careful while selecting the card offers. You need to have a card that offers services useful to you in exchange of the accumulated points. The best option is to choose a travel credit card that offers some cash back for the points accumulated.

A Guide to Bourton on the Water

Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds is also known as the “Venice of the Cotswolds” and is one of the prettiest villages in England rivalling the Spa town of Cheltenham.

Built from the local golden coloured stone, the houses and cottages make a picture perfect village and a very popular tourist attraction. Many of the houses are three hundred years old and some are from the Elizabethan era, four hundred years ago.

The River Windrush gently flows through the village with neat stone banks and tree shaded greens. There are also several elegant 18th century stone bridges that cross the river and connect the many Cotswold homes, but the town dates back to 709AD with the building of a wooden church.

It was rebuilt in stone in 1110 and has a 12th century crypt. A chancel was built in 1328, and the church is still in use today.

Along with its natural beauty, Bourton-on-the-Water offers several interesting and fun entertainments for visitors including Birdland, a Motoring Museum and Toy Collection, Cotswold Perfumery, Walking tours, a Model Village and many other interesting attractions.

Birdland

Birdland is a zoo full of birds that includes penguins as well as a large variety of exotic birds. Established in 1957, it is a natural setting that is home for over 500 birds.

Storks, cranes, pelicans, flamingos, cassowary and the many varieties of waterfowl that live on the several wetland areas are just a few.

There are also over 50 aviaries of falcons, parrots, hornbills, turacos, toucans, ibis, pheasants and more.

The Motoring Museum

The Motoring Museum and Toy Collection takes visitors on an imaginary road trip through the 20th century. It’s easy to see the progression of technology over the century of the engineers and mechanics who loved the automobile and motorcycle.

There are seven galleries with vintage vehicles, classic cars and memorabilia that come alive with the sounds and smells of the earliest cars to the extravagant vehicles of the present entertainment industry. Everyone loves Brum of TV fame, and they can visit him in the museum, have their photo taken with him and even get a special ride.

Cotswold Perfumery

For over 30 years the Cotswold Perfumery, which is based in an 18th century traditional stone building, has been blending fragrances. Visitors see a charming room with a crackling fire, oak beams and ancient floors, but the idyllic scene is just the beginning of this hugely successful company that makes some of the most famous perfume brands in the world.

Model Village

Another attraction that is truly worth seeing is the Model Village that was built by a few local craftsmen in the early 1930s. It is Bourton-on-the-Water in 1/9th the size and has been painstakingly built with the local golden Cotswold stone. It includes a miniature River Windrush, a working water mill and replicas of five of the famous low stone bridges.

Model of the motor museum, Bourton on the Water

It is easy to enjoy cheap villa holidays in Bourton on the Water. Visitors use their Cotswold villas as a base to enjoy several walking tours, from casual strolls through some of the Cotswold’s famous gardens to longer hiking trails.

There are guided walking tours that give visitors a close look at the villages and landscapes in the area including Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden and Broadway. Walking tours include transportation to and from the beginning of the walk and visits to Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of Shakespeare), Blenheim Palace (the ancestral home of Winston Churchill) and Oxford University. All meals are provided including vegetarian options with a picnic lunch.

Bourton on the Water is an excellent place for a relaxing holiday or weekend getaway. The natural and man-made beauty remove the stress of everyday life and the hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes join in the inviting atmosphere welcoming visitors and locals alike.

Things to Do in Cheltenham

Cheltenham began life as an Anglo Saxon village in the 11th Century.

Located in the Cotswolds, surrounded by beautiful green countryside, Gloucester also lies nearby, although protected Greenbelt land has stopped them from forming an area of conurbation.

In the 18th Century, medicinal waters were found over what is now the Cheltenham Ladies’ College – a prestigious independent school for girls. The town, with a population of around 110,000 oozes elegance and finesse.

It’s famous for its Regency architecture, cream white terraced houses protected by wrought iron railings.

See below for our top 5 things to do if you’re in Cheltenham:

Cheltenham Cricket Festival

If you’re a fan of cricket then this is a must see festival. Full of beer, sun and cricket, it could not be any better.

A great atmosphere, great food and usually great games located on the grounds of the prestigious private school, Cheltenham College. You’re surrounded by a road which makes it feel like a bit like the jewel of the countryside has invaded the urban landscape.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Taken place over 14 different venues across the town, the music is as diverse as where the venues are.

Contemporary jazz acts can start from gospel, salsa to flamenco. The Town Hall usually hosts local schools’ jazz bands, allowing the young talent of the area to flourish the given opportunity to perform.

Pittville Pump Room

Built on the estate of Joseph Pitt, this became the main attraction in the town in 1788 when King George III came to visit.

Today, The Pump Room is used for music concerts, poetry readings, formal black tie events as well as a back drop for famous visitors such as Lord Byron, Jane Austin and the Duke of Wellington.

The beautiful Regency style room isn’t just available to the upper class, it is more often than not hired out and commonly used for weddings and dinner events.

Montpellier and the High Street

This gorgeous area is dominated by Edwardian and Georgian town houses, lined up neatly like an army of soldiers.

Wide open spaces, not too dissimilar to spaces found in London (for example, Trafalgar Square), can be found near many of the shops on the high street.

The choice of shops are excellent, accommodating everyone and you could spend a whole day walking up and down the high street.

As an added bonus, if you visit during the Light Up Cheltenham festival, the area is illuminated with various colourful displays and they run guided tours detailing the history of the town.

Night Life

Again, based around the high street, there are tonnes of bars and pubs for you too choose from. Everything is within convenient walking distance so you won’t be running up unnecessary taxi bills!

Begin your night out in a pub such as the Beehive Inn, try some local beer and ale (from what I hear they’re excellent) before moving onto a classy upmarket bar like Bentley’s. End the night either in Blush, a trendy, chic club conveniently close to the Bus Station and taxi rank. If you prefer something a little less alternative, Sub-tone is a great place. It’s a club with the layout of a house!

So there you have it, 5 great things to do and see if you’re in Cheltenham. Be sure to check them all out, you won’t be disappointed.

B&Bs in the Cotswolds

Located in the west-central region of England, the Cotswolds is 90 miles long and 25 miles across. Known for its beautiful hills and lush scenery it is one of the most magnificent areas in the UK.

The Heart of England consists of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Warwickshire and Worcestershire counties.

If you have been thinking about surprising your partner with a weekend getaway, pack your bags and head to the Cotswolds as it has some of the most delightful B & B’s in Britain.

These are our personal favourites and, although they may be popular, you are guaranteed to have some of the nicest B & B stays of your life!

The English countryside

Byfield House

Painswick is just a two hour drive from London and is known as the gem of the Cotswolds. Featuring limestone buildings that date back to the 16th century, it was home to one of the most popular Bed and Breakfasts in the UK.

Byfield House proprietors Brett and Jill Hutton welcome guests and will make you feel like you are part of the family. If you are unsure of the area they can help you find antiques in the village, or point you in the right direction for an afternoon walk. Stay in the charming Garden Suite. Enter through your own private entrance and have a cup of tea in the delightful garden. Fully self-contained, the suite has a fully-equipped kitchen. Bring the family and stay on the second floor which has a second bedroom available. Take a walk and explore the village and have a bite to eat at a traditional English pub.

Kissing Gate

The name says it all, and if you are looking for a romantic getaway in Ebrington for you and your better half spend a weekend at Kissing Gate. Upon arrival you will be treated to afternoon tea. Kick up your feet in the sitting room and decide how you are going to spend your time at Kissing Gate. You can relax on the patio with a glass of Pimms, or warm your toes in front of the cosy fireplace. Challenge each other to a game of Scrabble in the conservatory or take a walk through the beautiful garden. After a good night’s sleep you will be treated to a traditional breakfast. Expect locally grown produce with a full range of breakfast items to choose from. If you hire a car you will be able to spend the afternoon driving around the Cotswolds before you head back to your B & B.

Bowers Hill Farm

Shakespeare fans will undoubtedly know that Stratford-upon-Avon was the writers old stomping ground and if you want to walk in his famous footsteps, book your holidays at Bowers Hill Farm which is only twenty minutes away. Owned by the Bent Family since 1904 this delightful B & B is the perfect accommodation for you and your family. To this day Martin and his wife Sarah make sure that every guest feels right at home on the farm. Every room features a comfy bed, and families are also accommodated for. When you get up in the morning you will be treated to a full English breakfast which features locally sourced food including pork sausage, succulent bacon, tomatoes ripened by the sun and delicious eggs from the hens that call Bowers Hill home. Indulge in fried bread, black pudding, porridge and scrumptious French toast. The B & B also serves fresh fruit, yogurt and cereals.

The Old Post Office

Lovingly restored in 2007 this luxury Bed and Breakfast used to be an old post office, hence the name. More than a B & B, The Old Post Office serves delicious dinners that only source locally grown meat, fruit and vegetables. Upon request proprietors Christopher and former chef Nicola will prepare you a delicious two or three course supper. Of course if you would like to get out and about The North Cotswolds has plenty of gastro pubs, eateries and restaurants to satisfy your appetite. Breakfast is served in the main dining room and offers guests delicious home-made scones, pastries and even porridge and kippers. Do not be surprised if you wake up to Eggs Benedict and bacon with fried tomatoes and toast. Situated in Adlestrop, The Old Post Office is ideal for walkers. Take a tour of the old church or explore the Gloucestershire countryside. If you feel like relaxing, book a massage at the Hay Barn or opt for a body wrap or scrub. Although most people like to relax on their holidays you can take a cooking class at Davleford Organics farm shop.

Yew Tree Cottage

Turkdean is home to this delightful cottage style Bed and Breakfast which offers guests the modern comforts of home in a unique and traditional cottage setting. Anytime of the year is perfect at Yew Tree. Enjoy a cup of tea in the garden during the warmer months and snuggle up in front of the open fire in the winter. This recently refurbished cottage provides visitors with a relaxed atmosphere and authentic home-style English cooking. You can expect home-caked cakes and breads using only the freshest local ingredients. There are quite a few local pubs and eateries where you can enjoy a bite to eat if you prefer to get out and enjoy the day. Yew Tree Cottage recommends the Horse and Groom, The Fox Inn and The Golden Ball among many others. If you do decide to dine in let the owners know ahead of time as they can prepare a delicious supper. Although only one main dish is served you can choose from traditional Steak and Kidney Pie, Pork Cutlets, Beef Stroganoff or Roast Lamb.

If you fancy splashing out on accommodation then Cowley Manor near Cirencester and Cheltenham is a place a supreme luxury. A more traditional place would be The Fleece Inn – a 15th century inn with a scriptures of history.

If you have been dreaming about the Cotswolds consider hiring a car for the trip. You can tour the countryside and indulge in activities that would be impossible if you travelled by tour bus. Spend the afternoon at the shooting range or shop for antiques in the local shires. Take the family to the Cotswold Wildlife Park where you can get up close and personal with birds, reptiles and mammals. Cotswold is called the Heart of England for different reasons, but the only way that you can find out why is to discover them yourself.

The Wye Valley

The Wye Valley is home to one of the finest woodlands in Britain, some of the most atmospheric ruins, and several rare wildlife species. It has been popular with visitors from Victorian times but it’s rarely crowded, and the position on the southern border between Wales and England makes it very easy to get to by car or by train.

The area is best known for gentle walking along the banks of the Wye and in the wooded hills on either side. Several long distance footpaths wind through it- Offa’s Dyke Path is probably the most famous but the Wye Valley walk is just as spectacular. It runs from Chepstow all the way up to the river’s source in the hills of Mid Wales, 136 miles away. Day walkers will find plenty to see too, from the high crags of Symonds Yat Rock to Tintern Abbey. There are castles, caves, traditional pubs, and panoramic hillside views.

Tintern is a typical Wye Valley town. It’s perfectly picturesque, from the restored water wheel to the village cricket green to the Old Station- once a stop on the Victorian rail line, the Old Station has been transformed into a museum and picnic spot. It was recently voted Britain’s favourite park. The Abbey lies right beside the river on the edge of town. The ornate arches of the Cistercian monastery really make this ruin stand out from the crowd and it’s hard not to be impressed by their huge scale alone.
If you’re looking for something a little more thrilling than a walk or a picnic, canoe and kayak hire is available at Symonds Yat or Ross-on-Wye. Rock climbers come to the Wye Valley from across the UK but complete beginners are welcome at the local adventure schools. There are a wide variety of ways to enjoy this part of the world.

Even a casual wanderer will almost certainly see some kind of wildlife, even if it’s only the swans on the river. Lucky ones might also see kingfishers or catch a glimpse of a shy otter. Those that venture into the woods might spot roe, fallow, or red deer, peregrine falcons, and even wild boar and polecats.