Top tips to make the most of your visit to the Cotswolds.
1. Visit the market square at Stow-on-the-Wold
The village of Stow-on-the-Wold has a big market square, which feels somewhat out of place among the rolling hills. It’s a beautiful space, which gives the impression it belongs on the Continent. This market square is integral to the town’s history as a central trading point when up to 20,000 sheep were sold in a day. These days the bulk of the trading is done in the many antique shops.
2. Explore Bourton-on-the-Water
Bourton-on-the Water merits exploration, but don’t fall for the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ hyperbole – the two are about as similar as your local church and St Peter’s Basilica.Still, it is one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds, and with good reason.The River Windrush meanders through town, and local businesses have latched on to the idea of enjoying life by the water, with a number of bankside restaurants and pubs for you to visit.If you want to enjoy the place at its most idyllic, avoid visiting at lunchtime when it’s overrun by coach-loads of daytrippers. Arrive in town later in the day and stay the night instead.
3. Enjoy a cream tea
Cream teas are a time-honoured English tradition. Sitting down to indulge in one against the backdrop of the Cotswolds is a must. Expect a pot of tea served with huge, crumbly scones, which are slathered in strawberry jam and topped with thick cream.
4. Take great photographs at Bibury
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.
On it are a clutch of cottages built in 1380 as a wool store, which 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.
5. Wander through the history of Chipping Campen
Chipping Campden is regarded as one of the most authentic market towns in the Cotswolds. The historical market hall, built in 1627, stands testament to the importance of this village.
What you need to know about The Cotswolds
When to go You can visit the Cotswolds at any time of the year, but it can feel overcrowded in summer so be prepared.
Getting there National Express bus services run from Victoria to some Cotswold destinations, including Bourton-on-the-Water. Train services don’t cover the whole of the Cotswolds but it is possible to get to some of the bigger towns in the region, including Bath, Cheltenham and Kingham, from Paddington.
Getting around Hire a car if you’re not on a tour. See easycar.com/tntmagazine for a 5 per cent discount.
Going out A beer costs about £3.
Accommodation A bed in a dorm starts at £20.