See the Cotswolds: introduction video

Visit Britain, our national Tourism organisation have launched a new campaign to promote the countryside. The “Countryside is GREAT” will run for three years promoting “Britain’s countryside as a place to enjoy modern culture, top quality food and world-class accommodation in a beautiful landscape”. They’ve launched a new website with loads of information including this video highlighting the Cotswolds.

10% discount on Winter tours & Website updates

You may have noticed a few differences on the website this week, here’s whats new:

1. 10% discount on Winter tours. Yes folks, thats £34.00 off the price of a “Famous North Cotswolds tour”. Applies to any one day or two day tours we do from now until the end of March.

2. New menu for Cotswold tours and holidays. The list was getting too long so we’ve divided anything Cotswold related in to:
a. 1 day tours
b. 2 day tours
c. Short breaks & holidays

3. New ‘Book Now, Tour & accommodation’ button. One and Two day tours can now be booked with or without hotel accommodation.

4. Links to accommodation information page. We know how important where you stay on holiday is. Now, each tour page has links to the relevant hotel information on the accommodation page. Click the images for a slideshow.

Hope you like the changes. Let us know the good or bad in the comments section or send us an email.

 

Arlington Row, Bibury

What draws people to Cotswold holidays time and time again?

Even a mere mention of the words ‘Cotswolds’ conjures up idyllic images of picture-postcard
towns and villages in pleasant rural surroundings, so you might imagine that there is little need
to spell out the more exact reasons people across the UK and beyond are continually seeking
Cotswolds holidays. However, it is instructive nonetheless to consider what makes this Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty such a consistent draw for so many visitors, year after year.

After all, Cotswolds holidays don’t just grant you access to a range of hills spanning south-
western and west-central England. They also grant you access to a dizzying range of things to
do and see across so many enchanting towns and villages, rather more than one would expect
of a part of the UK with such a sleepy reputation. Yes, you will definitely encounter no shortage
of charming countryside, but in-between, you’ll discover the likes of prestigious stately homes,
ancient churches and impressive castles. So much about Cotswolds holidays is about history, but
it’s also about preserving those traditions that help to keep the area so alluring today.

With the Cotswolds stretching more than 100 miles from Ilmington in Warwickshire to historic
Bath, you’ll have only explored a small area of the region by the time you leave, no matter how
thorough you may be. In any case, Cotswolds holidays are the perfect holidays on which to take
your time, idly whiling away the hours. You could spend all day strolling through the picturesque
countryside that defines this part of the world, or you could pay a visit to an antique shop or art
gallery in the nearest village. Alternatively, just relax back in your accommodation, of which the
Cotswolds offer a lot. From three star hotels to Country house hotels, there’s always a fine place
to stay.

Struggling to think of somewhere to start? Well, there’s always the beautiful Chipping Campden,
where you will find one of the country’s oldest chartered weekly markets, or the busy spa town
of Cheltenham, famous for its world-class horse racing and a range of year-round cultural
festivals. And don’t forget the so-called ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’: the picturesque village of
Broadway, with buildings dating back to the 16th Century. Any of these would make ideal bases
to explore all that Cotswolds holidays have to offer.

St Mary's Churchyard, Painswick

Painswick, Queen of the Cotswolds

We’ve just had our sofa upholstered and it looks fabulous. (Bought on ebay for £10, fabric cost around £300, as did the work itself). Looks new. So much better than anything you get from DFS etc.

Anyway, we got the fabric from a shop in Painswick. Painswick Fabrics. Great place, and really helpful with advice if you need. Because it’s such an interesting town we walked about for a few hours and stopped for coffee at The Patchwork Mouse.

Painswick is between Cheltenham and Stroud, on the A46. See the location on a Google map here.  It’s built on the side of the valley with much of the town sloping steeply downwards. The centre and main road is perched up high getting a splendid view across the valley to the South East as you drive you in from Cheltenham. The town landmark is St Mary’s Church, a tall tower and spire and then you see the church yard and 99 Yew Trees sculptered in to great big mushroom shapes. Its another photographers/artists heaven (where isnt round here). Lots of interesting history I will leave you to discover, but look for the English civil war shrapnel marks in the tower wall and the pyramid tomb in the grave yard. There are some interesting shops and galleries including a wood turner, vintage and antiques. About half a mile from the centre is the Rococo Garden, a restored early 17th century ‘Pleasure Garden’ open mid January to end of October. Its pretty famous in these parts, carefully restored since the mid eighties. Not open the day we were in town but I’ve been a couple of times and its well worth a visit.

Plenty of good walking in these parts. Highly recommend Walk 24 from ’50 Walks in the Cotswolds’ published by the AA, which takes you on a circuit around the countryside above and through the town.

Check TripAdvisor for accommodation, but some excellent b&bs in town. Great choice for food aswell. Love the coffee!

Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam railway

Steam railway in the Cotswolds

One of the best days out in the Cotswolds has to include the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam railway (GWSR). A dedicated group of volunteers have restored and reopened a section of the Honeybourne line, which ran from Cheltenham to Stratford upon Avon. Currently you can ride the trains between Cheltenham racecourse and Laverton but in the next few years when restorations are complete the trains will run as far as Broadway.

Last weekend we did the round trip from Cheltenham racecourse to Toddington. The boys love trains anyway but it’s impossible not to get excited and feel nostalgic when you hear the whistle and see the first puff of steam. Each of the stations have been restored and there’s plenty to see along the route which also stops at Gotherington and Winchcombe. At Toddington there is a cafe, kids play area, museum and a narrow gauge railway which will take you up to the train sheds. If you’re in the area May bank holiday weekend there will be a ‘Steam celebration’ with up to 7 engines, fairground rides, traction engines, brake van rides and engine footplate visits as well as hot and cold food and a beer tent! There are events all year, but check the website for news and the timetable.