Cotswolds: Little Corner Of Natural Beauty In England
I still cherish my first visit to English country side - it was a trip to Cotswolds, Little Corner Of Natural Beauty In England. After moving to England we really did not want to visit popular cities of the UK first, rather we decided to explore the countryside first to get the feel of the history and culture of England. Though we visited the most popular ones like London, Oxford and Scotland but the Cotswolds won our heart the moment we stepped into this beautiful part of England.
I still cherish my first visit to English country side - it was a trip to Cotswolds, little corner of natural beauty in England. After moving to England we really did not want to visit popular cities of the UK first, rather we decided to explore the countryside first to get the feel of the history and culture of England. Though we visited the most popular ones like London, Oxford and Scotland but the Cotswolds won our heart the moment we stepped into this beautiful part of England. Let’s see what is Cotswolds and why it never fails to impress its visitors.
What is Cotswolds
Cotswolds is an area in south-central and south-west England that comprise many quaint, traditional and charming villages. It covers a huge area of 800 square miles and five counties – Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire (famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare), Wiltshire, Worcestershire. It is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is the second-largest protected landscape in England after Lake District.
Cotswolds is a combination of two words – cot and wold, which means sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides. Historically, during the middle ages, 15th and 16th centuries, Cotswolds became prosperous from the wool trade because of the breed of sheep known as Cotswold Lion, and eventually got its name Cotswolds.
These days, it is especially known for its most beautiful villages in England – adorned with honey-coloured stone cottages, cosy pubs, tiny tea rooms and narrow streets. Though each village here is packed with beauty and has its own identity, yet all have the features that truly defines Cotswolds: golden stones and rolling hills (the wolds).
Places to visit in Cotswolds
England is famous for its rich history and many places in this part of the world are still deeply rooted in its culture. But apart from history, there is another aspect to this country which gets dwarfed occasionally – its amazing rural escapes, patchwork hills, winding country roads and ancient woodlands. And Cotswolds is a kind of place that gives you the opportunity to witness the countryside beauty of England. Here are the top ten places that you shouldn’t miss while in Cotswolds:
This captivating village is known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ due to the sparkling River Windrush, which runs through the heart of town.
Lower and Upper Slaughter
These villages are joined by the River Eye, a tributary of the River Windrush. Upper Slaughter is known as a “sainted village” meaning it didn’t lose any residents during World War I.
The 19th-century old mill in Lower Slaughter
This town is located just an hour-and-a-half train ride from London’s Paddington Station, this lovely village is a popular weekend destination for big-city folk looking for peace.
Once a wool town, Painswick is located just over seven miles south of Gloucester and is also known as the ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’.
This village is located 20 miles west of Oxford. Lined with charming antique shops, boutique stores, and cafés, it offers stunning views of the countryside.
This is one of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds. It’s also considered the prettiest town in England.
Street view of Castle Combe, Cotswolds
It is a quiet village serenely set along the banks of the River Coln. Because of its impeccably preserved cottages, well-manicured gardens, and ancient Arlington Mill, this lovely spot is known as “the most beautiful village in England.” It is been said that you really can’t take a bad photograph in this pretty Costwold town.
Traditional honey-coloured houses line the streets of beautiful Broadway. If you’re on a hunt for antiques, you’ll find them aplenty on Broadway.
It is one of the largest and most vibrant villages of Cotswolds.
This town is home to a babbling brook and set on the picturesque banks of the River Windrush. While walking on the streets you can witness pretty houses made with honey-hued stone and thatched roofs adding charm to this town.
The hall, a well, and foundations of the east wing, from the southeast of Minster Lovell hall
My travel tips
Here are some tips to visit Cotswolds that will save your time and money whenever you want to visit this area of outstanding natural beauty:
- The best ways to explore the Cotswolds area is to rent a car or to plan a tour from London.
- If you are planning to explore the Cotswolds without a car, you’ll only be able to visit a limited number of villages at any given time and you’ll spend a lot of time travelling.
- Spring and autumn months (March to May and September to November) are ideal times of year to visit the Cotswolds.
- In my opinion, if you are planning to visit Cotswolds then stay in any nearby towns like Cheltenham and explore Cotswolds by car. It will save your time and money.
- Explore most famous and prettiest villages first like castle Combe, lower and upper slaughter.
We spent a day in the Cotswolds and visited three quaint and very well maintained villages (Castle Combe, Painswick, Lower Slaughter) among other towns of this area.
When we arrived in the village Castle Combe, it literally felt like we have stepped out of the woods and into a fairyland. I actually thought that these might just be facades like the ones done for the movie sets. While strolling around the village we couldn’t take our eyes off of those tiny houses built with honey-coloured stones and adorned with colourful flower plants. And when we reached the bridge over the By Brook river at the end of the village we couldn’t help ourselves but sit and enjoy the view.
Castle Combe cottages by the river, Cotswolds
When we entered Painswick, it was nothing like Castle Combe. Streets were narrow and the houses were made of golden stones like Castle Combe. But this village has its own unique identity. The parish church of St. Mary that we visited was something to appreciate and look around. While strolling around the town we saw beautiful buildings line the narrow streets along with some craft and antique shops, adding a distinct flavour to the charm of this town.
St. Mary’s Church in Painswick, Cotswolds
After that, we visited Lower and upper slaughter. These villages took us back to the old times as soon as we saw the 19th-century watermill with an undershot water wheel and a chimney for additional steam power. While walking around the village, we saw postcard-perfect streets and cottages made with limestones in the traditional Cotswolds style. The main attraction of this village is the old mill museum. I literally felt that I was at the set of some old English movie after visiting Lower Slaughter. I also felt that time has just stopped for the people living here. This is the place where I would wish to retire someday.
After our day trip to Cotswolds, we realized that there is nothing quite like exploring the English countryside. Words can’t describe the beauty of this place. It is indeed one of the stunning and beautiful parts of England.
If you are planning your UK trip, make sure to add this place to your list. One day trip is not enough to catch the beauty of the Cotswolds.
Visit the Cotswolds and you will feel like stepping into the pages of a classic English storybook.
Inspired? Pin it for later
I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa.