Once described as “the most beautiful village in England” by designer and artist William Morris, Bibury is set on the River Coln and is home to one of the most photographed streets in England: Arlington Row.
A row of cottages built in 1380 as a wool store, the buildings were converted into weavers’ cottages in the 17th century.
There’s also Bibury Trout Farm where people can feed fish — or catch them, if they prefer to feed themselves.
Packed with more of the same charming Cotswolds architecture, one of the village’s highlights is St John’s Baptist Church.
Dating back to the 11th century, the church was used as a prison for The Levellers, a group that rebelled against Oliver Cromwell’s army in the 1600s. Three of the Levellers were shot dead in the church garden and there are three holes in the church wall that some believe are from the bullets that killed the men.
“There is nothing to do in the Slaughters but take photos,” says our guide Gary. “You couldn’t get much more picture perfect than this.”
The name may sound grim but these little towns have nothing to do with blood, aside from the fact they’re bloody gorgeous.
Lower Slaughter is a beautiful village set on a tiny river, where ducks and a water mill make for postcard-pretty scenery.
There’s a bit more to do in Bourton-on-the Water, with its perfumery, motor museum and Birdland park.
Dubbed the “Venice of the Cotswolds” because of the river that runs through it (although the similarity ends there), it is one of the most popular towns in the region.
There’s a handful of quaint stores to browse through and it’s also a great place to stop and re-energise with tasty cream teas.
Cream teas are a time-honoured English tradition. While they’re usually associated with Devon, cream teas are served all over Britain. Sitting down to indulge in one against the backdrop of the Cotswolds is a must.
Expect a pot of tea served with massive, crumbly scones slathered in strawberry jam and clotted cream so thick you can stand your knife up in it.
More English countryside
Get out of London into the countryside to remind yourself that there’s a lot more to England than Tube trains and office blocks.
Home to England’s highest peaks and, not surprisingly, its largest density of lakes, this National Park has seduced legions of visitors. Some come to follow in the footsteps of poet William Wordsworth or Beatrix Potter, others to brave the elements on a few days’ hiking and many more simply to take in the spectacular views around every corner.
One of England’s most popular holiday destinations, Devon has something for everyone — from pretty coastal towns such as Dartmouth and Clovelly to rural villages of thatched cottages and the wild moorland and prehistoric sites of Dartmoor and Exmoor.
Once a vast, sprawling county, Yorkshire is now divided into compass points — and its landscape is similarly split. There are the Dales to the north-west, a National Park of green, rolling hills and valleys. Further north-east you’ll find the heather-covered moorland and dramatic coastline of the North York Moors, and to the south the hills and plains of the Wolds.
Neater on the whole than the other areas listed here, Kent is often given the tag ‘the Garden of England’. But what it lacks in rugged hills and haunting moorland it makes up for in gently undulating fields crisscrossed by tidy hedgerows and patches of woodland.
» Natasha Vuckovic travelled with Anderson Tours (020-7436 9304). A day trip to the Cotswolds and Oxford is £65.