The Cotswolds is an area of England that is commonly referred to as one of the most charming and picturesque areas of England in its entirety. Located just under a 2 hour train ride out of London, this is a popular day trip for visitors to London to experience rural English lifestyle, especially if you’ve landed yourself a spot on the daily Secret Cottage Tour which will take you beyond the pretty towns and into an original Cotswolds thatched cottage, as well as to many secret locations that aren’t typically accessible for visitors.
Visiting the Cotswolds
For most visitors to the Cotswolds, it all begins in London. It is entirely possible to visit the Cotswolds on a day trip from London, as it is under a 2 hour train journey away. If you plan to visit more of England and would like to stay for longer, there are some fantastic boutique B&Bs in the area, or a little further out to save some extra pennies. For example I was staying in nearby Woodstock, just a half hour drive from Moreton in Marsh, at the centre of the Cotswolds.
Because you really need a car to get around and see all there is to see in the Cotswolds, it is recommended to hire a rental car, or the easier alternative for day visitors from London is to join the Secret Cottage Tour, which collects you from the Moreton in Marsh train station at 10am for a 6 hour full-day tour, inclusive of all transport, 3 meals in the day (breakfast pastries, a buffet lunch, and afternoon scones + tea and cake). In fact tea is always on hand, for this is Great Britain after all!
Everything you should See in the Cotswolds
There’s much to see and do in the Cotswolds, so there really is no time to waste! On the Secret Cottage Tour we went to a number of small towns that just continued to get prettier and prettier throughout the day. These included:
Stow on the Wold – one of the bigger towns in the Cotswolds with many shops and cafes.
Lower Slaughter – has a very cute little shop hidden behind the houses with great local products.
Upper Slaughter – has a 14th Century Church worth wandering inside.
Great Tew – an incredible little village with a great pub for a pint “The Falkland Arms”.
Chastleton House – an impressive house that has been restored.
Adlestrop Manor – where Jane Austen spent some time.
Cornwell Manor – Used as a film location in “The Holiday” (Jude Law, Cameron Diaz).
If you have more time in the area beyond a day, there is so much more of the Cotswolds to explore (the opportunities to explore here are endless)! Consider:
Castle Combe – One of the most photographed villages in the Cotswolds.
Bibury – a typical Cotswolds village & very picturesque.
Cotswold Water Park – The UK’s largest marl lake system and an impressive sight to see.
Hidcote Manor Garden – an impressive garden located in Hidcote.
& so much more! To see and enjoy all the Cotswolds has to offer, you would really need a few days in the area. However the Secret Cottage Tour was a great introduction to the area and the rural British way of life.
With thanks to Visit Britain & Visit Oxfordshire for co-ordinating my visit to the Cotswolds and to Becky for such an amazing introduction to the Cotswolds!