The Cotswolds covers a huge area of almost 800 square miles, across five counties, with beautiful countryside, rolling hills and plenty more to see and do.
There’s no denying that the Cotswolds is a beautiful destination, with thousands of visitors each month from all around the world. But one thing you may (or may not) have noticed along the way is… it isn’t always spelt the same.
Yep, that’s right, the Cotswolds is often written another way…
Who knew! But yes, the Cotswolds is often confused with ‘the Cotswalds’, which to be fair, is a pretty easy mistake to make.
Nevertheless, those searching for things to do, see and places to eat in the ‘Cotswalds’ will likely be met with plenty of results still. Let’s take a look at some of the most common searches for the Cotswalds (the Cotswolds!).
Why visit the Cotswalds?
With a plethora of antique shops, breathtaking sights and stunning architecture, there are many reasons to visit the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds is famous for a number of things, including honey coloured stone cottages, lavender season, Warwick Castle, the Cotswold Way, Blenheim Palace and of course, traditional Cotswold pubs.
There’s no denying that the Cotswolds is an incredibly romantic area of outstanding natural beauty, with its quintessentially English market towns and villages and rolling countryside having inspired many writers and poets over the centuries.
Common queries about ‘The Cotswalds’
So, you’re planning a trip to the Cotswalds, huh? Sounds good to us! There is so much to do and explore in this area of outstanding natural beauty. From attractive small towns and villages, to fine dining restaurants, historic sites and fun for all the family, the list is never ending.
Where can I buy Cotswalds clothing?
If you’re looking for Cotswalds clothing, there are plenty of options available. We even have our own online store, with unique Cotswolds designs you won’t find anywhere else. Take a look at our cosy hoodies and plenty more, and take home a piece of the Cotswolds.
Things to do in the Cotswalds
Where do we begin! If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswalds, there really is so much to do and explore. You can check our events page for regular events in the Cotswalds, or here are some great things to consider when planning your trip.
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Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
Get up close and personal with the wonderful wildlife and Cotswold Wildlife Park, with over 260 different animal species across 160 acres of stunning parkland.
Expect to see beautiful giraffes, lemurs and even rhinos during your visit.
If you’re a fan of architectural buildings, you have to catch a glimpse of Gloucester Cathedral during your visit to the Cotswolds. With guided tours available, get ready to soak up the history of the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds Distillery
With tours available to book online, the Cotswolds distillery is the first and only full-scale working craft distillery located in the Cotswolds. With a cafe on-site serving light bites and refreshments, the Cotswolds Distillery is undoubtedly a great spot to plan into your itinerary.
Cotswolds Motoring Museum
This speciality museum is a must-visit for motoring fans! Located in the beautiful village of Bourton on the Water, the Cotswolds Motoring Museum will take you through an incredible journey, filled with cars, quaint caravans and motorcycles.
Cotswold Farm Park
From petting rabbits and guinea pigs to feeding plenty of goats, sheep and pigs, fall in love with the beautiful and friendly animals at Cotswold Farm Park. Situated in the heart of the Cotswolds, Cotswold Farm Park has a long-standing reputation for a fun day out for the whole family.
Visit the Cotswalds Way
The Cotswalds Way is a 102 mile long-distance footpath. So if you’re feeling fit, put on your most comfortable shoes and get walking! With magnificent views, ancient sites and beautiful countryside along the way, the Cotswalds Way is an absolute must-see for visitors.
Places to stay in the Cotswalds
From quaint cottages to Cotswold pubs and B&Bs, there are plenty of places to stay in the Cotswalds (the Cotswolds!).
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Take a look at our ‘places to stay‘ page for more information and some beautiful, home from home accommodation, including:
An independent holiday let agency based in the Cotswolds, StayCotswold houses an impressive portfolio of luxury holiday homes. From cosy cottages to barn conversions, you’ll be spoilt for accommodation choices.
Looking for self-catering accommodation in the Cotswolds? Look no further. Character Cottages give you the freedom to explore the Cotswolds, and come and go as you please.
With a local team based in Stow-on-the-Wold, you’ll be well taken care of.
The Bell at Sapperton
If you’re looking to really sink your teeth into a cosy atmosphere, The Bell at Sapperton certainly delivers. This cosy Cotswolds pub delivers all the classic food you could ask for – situated in the heart of the Cotswold Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
There are three beautiful bedroom suites available, all named after their local woods.
The Old Garage
While there is plenty of dog friendly places to stay in the Cotswolds, The Old Garage is certainly one in particular worth mentioning.
This stunning three bedroom cottage in the Cotswolds also comes with a hot tub, so come rain or shine, you can melt into the bubbles and relax! Sleeping up to six guests, there is plenty of space for you and your four-legged friends.
Located in Enstone, in the North Cotswolds, The Old Garage is perfect for groups or families itching for a break away in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside. For the warmer months, there’s also a BBQ, outdoor table and parasol, with seating for six. All you need to do is go shopping and get cooking!
Fancy something a little different? Glamping both across the UK and specifically in the Cotswolds has become increasingly popular in recent years. There’s no fighting with an awkward tent, going breathless trying to blow up a mattress – oh no! Coxhorne Glamping offers an incredible glamping experience in a luxury Lotus Belle Tent, with a king-size bed, wood burning stove and some breathtaking south-facing views.
Yep, it really is an experience like no other!
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The best market towns in the Cotswalds
The Cotswalds is renowned for its beautiful walks, outstanding natural beauty and dog friendly atmosphere (as well as many other things!). But what about finding the best market town?
Here are eight charming market towns to explore during a trip to the Cotswalds.
Often referred to as the ‘jewel of the Cotswolds’, Chipping Campden is packed with historical signature limestone buildings, delicious tea rooms and plenty of history. As you stroll through this wonderful market town, you’ll be able to spot Woolstaplers Hall – the base for wealthy traders to bring their wool fleeces to sell in the 14th and 15th century.
For even more beauty, explore Hidcote Manor Gardens and Kiftsgate Court Gardens nearby, home to some beautifully manicured floral displays.
Quite easily one of the prettiest towns in the Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Wold will greet you with honey coloured stone buildings, cosy pubs, tiny tea rooms and plenty of history to soak up during your visit.
Once famed for its annual fairs, where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time, this exquisite town – and its impressive market square – is a must-visit. With glorious buildings to admire, this town has plenty of character. Psst, don’t forget to check out England’s reportedly oldest inn, The Porch House!
Another incredibly pretty market town, with more than enough history and character, Lechlade-on-Thames inherits its name from the River Leach, which joined the Thames nearby.
The church of St Lawrence, dating back to 1476, has tall spires visible from many miles away and its churchyard inspired the poet Percy Shelley to compose ‘A Summer Evening Churchyard’ during a visit to the town in the 1800s.
Pssst, there are plenty of churches in the Cotswolds to explore!
Often referred to as the capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester is full to the brim with Roman history and a sense of local community. From fascinating exhibits at the Corinium Museum, to scoping out incredible architecture at St John the Baptist church, there is plenty to see and do in Cirencester.
Plus, if you’re a foodie, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a wide selection of places to eat in Cirencester, from Spanish-influenced dishes at Tierra and Mar to pub classics at The Falcon – there is certainly a taste to suit the whole family.
Chipping Norton is a vibrant town in the Cotswolds – once a thriving wool-trading town, Chipping Norton also offers visitors incredible sights, including the church of St Mary, with its striking town hall.
If you’re looking to indulge in a little history, Chipping Norton is also hope to the Chipping Norton Museum. For something a little different, check out its live theatre, stand up comedy and musical performance on offer at the Chipping Norton Theatre.
Fancy a spot of shopping? There are multiple antique shops and independent boutiques in the area, as well as plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat.
Just a short drive from Cheltenham, Winchcombe is famous for its Cotswolds stone cottages, independent shops and selection of delicious eateries.
Here you’ll also find spots to browse antiques, art and gifts, giving you plenty of opportunities to take a piece of the Cotswolds home with you. Just a short drive away you’ll also find the stunning sight of Sudeley Castle and surrounding scenic gardens.
Feeling hungry? Don’t worry! Winchcombe has you covered. There are plenty of cosy Cotswold pubs, tearooms and restaurants in this beautiful market town.
An attractive town with plenty of history and character, Burford is an incredibly popular destination for those planning a trip to the Cotswolds. Famous for its honey-coloured cottages at the top of The Hill, Burford is quite simply postcard-perfect.
Here you’ll be overwhelmed with beautiful walks and sights of the Cotswolds countryside, alongside plenty of retail therapy and impressive architecture. To learn a little more about the town’s history and culture, why not visit the Tolsey Museum – housed in a wonderful Tudor Market building.
When it comes to Cotswolds history, Witney certainly delivers. Dating back to AD969, Witney is Oxfordshire Cotswolds’ largest town. World famous for its production of Witney blankets, it’s easy to get absorbed in everything this beautiful town has to offer.
Get ready to browse independent specialist shops, take a stroll through stunning gardens (such as Blenheim Palace) and get your camera at the ready at Cogges Manor Farm.
Why is the Cotswolds called an area of outstanding natural beauty?
The Cotswold hills are a sizeable range of low, rolling hills, stretching far and wide. But why is the Cotswolds called an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’?
Well, an area of outstanding natural beauty (or AONB) refers to land that is protected by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. This protects the land to conserve and enhance its natural beauty. Put simply, the Cotswolds is pretty damn precious, and is recognised as such!
‘The Cotswalds’, or The Cotswolds?
Well… While it may be ‘the Cotswolds’, plenty of people continue to hunt for things to do, places to eat and sights to see in the Cotswalds.
Nevertheless, no matter the spelling of the Cotswolds, we’re here to help! Whether you need a little help planning your trip, you’re looking for a unique Cotswolds tour, or simply want to find the best places to eat – we’ve got you covered.