The quick answer to this question is yes… But we admit that everyone at Rosehill Travel is more than a little biased. After all, there’s a reason why we based our tour company around offering luxury tours in the Cotswolds. Given the subjectivity of beauty, the only accurate statement we could make about whether the Cotswolds is genuinely the most beautiful region of the UK is to say that it easily competes with the Scottish Highlands, Snowdonia in Wales, and the Lake District in Cumbria. However, if you’ll indulge us, we’d like to offer some travel inspiration for anyone visiting the UK, or anyone already here considering a staycation. We’d like to wax lyrical about the Cotswolds, hopefully doing some justice to the wealth of beauty found here. And if anything in this guide inspires you to visit, you may like to consider our tailor-made Cotswolds breaks and tours.
What is the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty — with some gorgeous traditional English stately Manors, cottages, and houses thrown in for good measure. It exists due to an enigmatic area of Jurassic limestone that creates and fosters a very different kind of grassland than anywhere else in the UK. Often, when you see a photograph of England’s lush, idyllic countryside, it is in the Cotswolds. This unique biome of plant life is coupled with some of England’s most picturesque and traditional architecture, with many of the country’s most beautiful little towns and villages.
Stow-on-the-Wold would be a breathtakingly beautiful town if it were set anywhere in England, but the fact that it rests atop a hill in the Cotswolds makes it so much more impressive. You’ll find this market town resting on top of a hill a little over 30 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon by car. Expect stunning hill views, charming architecture, and friendly locals. We recommend making a visit to St Edward’s Church and to Chastleton House — an impressive Jacobean mansion faithfully preserved.
This sleepy village is a worthy stop either on your way to or from Stow-on-the-Wold. The village has a great deal of history, stretching back almost 1000 years, and the hills nearby make for the perfect Sunday stroll. Popular with locals and visitors alike, make sure you try the food, or just a nice pint, in The Black Horse Inn.
Tetbury is a picturesque market town historically defined by the wool trade. Tetbury was famous for its wool merchants and legendary markets for centuries. Today, markets are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and you can ask your driver to take you to the Tetbury Market, if you’re curious to see what it looks like today. Antique shops are another reason people travel to Tetbury; if you’re searching for something special, it’s very likely you’ll find it in Tetbury!
Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the larger villages in the Cotswolds, and this means there is plenty to see and explore. It offers visitors an authentic sense of traditional English country life, and it’s also large enough to provide ample restaurants and cafes. Look out for the numerous small bridges over the River Windrush. Take your time in Bourton-on-the-Water; you won’t regret it.
Bibury is a beautiful village roughly in the centre of the Cotswolds, not far from Cirencester. It was described by the artist William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds’. Bibury is perhaps what the rest of the world sees when they imagine a sleepy little English village. The idyllic charm of the village is undeniable and a lot of that is thanks to the perfectly maintained 16th-century architecture, complete with the authentically English steep pitched roofs. Resting on the River Coln, Bibury’s good looks and charming personality make it a prime location for the film industry.; it was used as a filming location for Bridget Jones’s Diary and Stardust.
This blog only explores some of our personal highlights in the Cotswolds, but there are many other reasons why we think it is the most beautiful region in the UK. If you’re inspired to visit Cotswolds and you’d like to make it a luxury experience with your own personal guide, then please check out our private luxury tours in the Cotswolds and get in touch if you have any questions.