If you’d like time to get to know the iconic North Cotswolds in more depth, then this two-day break is ideal. You will see quintessential historic market towns and chocolate-box villages that bring tourists flocking. You can visit iconic gardens and historic buildings, and there’s there’s Sudeley, known as England’s most romantic castle. Here lies buried one of her most tragic queens.
Our tour, led by a knowledgeable local driver-guide, meanders through some of the Cotswolds’ most iconic spots. Chipping Campden was once the home of medieval sheep barons, who used their wealth to build marvels such as 14th century Grevel’s House and St James’ Church, considered by many to be the finest wool church in the region.
Rock stars, supermodels and fashion designers are among those who’ve bought manors in the area in recent years. But that’s not a new phenomenon. Broadway is still full of galleries, a throwback to the 19th century when painters such as the American Francis Davis Millet fell in love with its wide main street and quaint tranquillity. Broadway Tower was once owned by Pre-Raphaelite William Morris; you can see 13 counties from this, the “highest little castle in the Cotswolds”.
This area is also prized for its outstanding gardens. Hidcote Manor, an Arts and Crafts masterpiece, is one of the finest of its kind in the world; while Kiftsgate boasts England’s largest rose. On your second day of exploration, we’ll see unspoilt Winchcombe – home to Sudeley Castle with its marvellous gardens; there’s historic Stow-on-the-Wold, and Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the Venice of the Cotswolds and famous for the five bridges that picturesquely span the River Windrush. These are some of the prettiest settlements you’ll ever see; but none are more prized than glorious Upper and Lower Slaughter, which attract visitors from all over the world to wander along secluded pathways by the side of the babbling River Eye.
We finish at Burford, known as the Gateway to the Cotswolds, with its half-timbered buildings and wonderful roofline – a complex and beautiful jumble where no two houses look the same. The view from the top of its steep high street down to its medieval triple-arched bridge is one of the Cotswold ‘classics’. The town is a fantastic shopping destination, whether for fashion, gifts or antiques.
Everywhere you go in this region, you’ll see the spectacular countryside that’s little changed with the passing centuries: rolling slopes, cattle grazing on grasslands dotted with wild orchids, the spires of quaint village churches, sloping lichen-covered cottage roofs, and clear, cool streams where ducks dabble and trout splash. Underneath it all – in the earth beneath your feet – lies the rich Cotswold limestone that gives the local buildings their distinctive honey colour. So beautiful and valued are its golden hues, it was even used in the building of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament.
The route can be adjusted to fit with any start and finish point – for example, a hotel in Cheltenham, Bibury, Oxford or London. If you require accommodation, we will also make a reservation at one of our selected hotels. Please see our accommodation page for more information.