Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cotswolds is famous for its incredibly picturesque honey-coloured villages and stately homes set amidst gently rolling hills. It’s one of the best destinations in the UK for a staycation, with plenty of interesting attractions and exciting activities suitable for both adults and kids.
No matter how many times you have been to the Cotswolds, there’s a surprise waiting for you on every corner of its pretty streets. If you’re planning to visit the Cotswolds soon and wondering where to go, here are some of the best places to consider.
Woodstock is a charming town with a distinct Royal heritage and is filled with many ancient buildings, incredible museums, charming streets, shops, and cosy pubs. As you wander through its streets, you’ll come across the Woodstock Town Hall. This Grade II listed building was built in 1766 and is now the town’s major landmark.
The church of St Mary’s Magdalene is not to miss. Built during the reign of Henry I, it houses a carillon that’s played four times a day with a different tune for each day of the week. Venture outside town and head to the Parish Church of St Martin, where Sir Winston Churchill was buried.
If you want to learn more about the history of Oxfordshire, check out the Oxfordshire Museum along Park Street. The museum features interactive exhibits, exhibitions and events, and fun activities for adults and kids. You’ll find the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum through the same entrance, a military museum that showcases everything about the Military of Oxfordshire.
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Regularly voted as one of England’s prettiest villages, the Bourton-on-the-Water has a unique charm that delights visitors of all kinds. This beautiful town offers a wealth of attractions, restaurants, shops, and tearooms.
Enjoy the tranquil scenery along River Windrush and stroll through its beautiful bridges. Check out the great variety of hiking and cycling routes and stop at the Cotswold Motoring Museum, which showcases an exciting collection of vintage cars and toys. Head to the Birdland Park and Gardens to interact with the flamingos and penguins. This 9-acre park is home to more than five hundred birds with over fifty aviaries featuring falcons, parrots, hornbills, and more!
Never leave the town without dining at one of its fantastic restaurants. And if you’ve already had enough of the British cuisine, check out the Italian menu of L’Anatra. This lovely restaurant uses fresh local ingredients to make its delicious offerings of pasta, pizza, risottos, and delectable desserts!
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The Wychwoods consists of three quintessential Cotswold stone villages – Shipton-under-Wychwood, Milton-under-Wychwood, and Ascott-under-Wychwood. These villages are simply called the “Wychwoods”, each having its own considerable attractions.
Shipton is famous for its wide green spaces, beautiful railway station, and the Oxfordshire Way long-distance footpath. There’s an obelisk on the village, a tragic memorial to the 17 parishioners who emigrated to New Zealand in 1874 but sadly passed away when the ship they were travelling in caught fire. If you visit the Cotswolds during the Jubilee week, witness the Wychwood Festival, a three-day annual event featuring theatre, dance, literature, music, and arts and crafts. Offering a wide range of activities for all ages, it’s a fun event ideal for families with kids.
The Wychwoods is rich in history and were once the site of a hunting forest known as the Wychwood Forest. It is where Henry VII and other Tudor monarchs would go hunting. Nowadays, there’s not much to see in the forest, but the villages along the Evenlode valley offers endless opportunities for soaking up culture and history.
Dubbed the City of Dreaming Spires, Oxford is famous for its prestigious universities and beautiful buildings. It’s also a city home to world-class museums, cosy pubs, and many interesting sites to explore. No matter how many times you have visited Oxford city, there is always something new to discover. And to make the most of your visit, consider taking an Oxford canal boat trip on a narrowboat.
Christ Church is one of the most popular sites to see in Oxford. Aside from having remarkable buildings, this college has educated some world-famous philosophers and leaders. Head to Radcliffe Square to admire some of the city’s most beautiful architecture. The square is lined with magnificent buildings, including the renowned Bodleian Library and the medieval University Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
Spend some time at the Ashmolean Museum, which showcases a vast collection of antiquities. Established in 1683, it’s the oldest public museum in the country. The Bridge of Sighs, one of the most photographed sites in the city, is also worth a stop. It linked the two buildings of Hertford College over New College Lane, and you’ll see people crossing between the two buildings, with others pausing to take selfies.
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Stow-on-the-Wold is the highest of all Cotswold towns. It lies in the northern part of the region, surrounded by scenic rolling hills and pretty villages. This historic town is famous for its beautiful market square, antique shops, and a fantastic selection of traditional inns and pubs. In fact, if you choose to spend the night in town, you should consider staying above a classic Cotswolds pub, at The Porch House.
The historic centre of Stow-on-the-Wold is its magnificent Market Square, which has hosted regular markets since 1107. Check out the high-walled alleyways known as the “tures”, which funnel sheep into the square. Make a stop at the Market Cross, built to remind merchants to trade goods fairly. The Market Square is now lined with antique shops, townhouses, cosy cafes, and tea shops. It is a wonderful reminder of Stow’s colourful history. Here, you’ll also find medieval wooden stocks on the green, originally used to punish criminals during the 15th century.
The St. Edward’s Church is another landmark of the town. It dated back to the Middle Ages and played a significant role during the English Civil War. However, the church you’ll see today features a mixture of elements from the 11th century to the Victorian period.
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