Facts About The Cotswolds: An Area Of Outstanding Beauty (2023)

Discover the beauty of the Cotswolds, a breathtaking region in central-southwest England famous for its idyllic landscapes, rolling hills and enchanting English towns.

Here are some facts about the Cotswolds that go some way in explaining why millions of tourists flock to this enchanting region every year.

One of the most interesting facts about the Cotswolds is that, since 1966, it is a recognized Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

This captivating area spans over 800 sq. miles (2,038 km²) and is home to the largest collection of conservation villages in the UK.

Other facts are that the region is home to over 3,000 miles of dry-stone walls and it is thought that some of the stones in the area cannot be moved, according to legend.

Or that The Mill Inn in Withington was the first to create the ‘Chicken in a Basket’ meal (fried chicken and fries) which went onto become wildly popular worldwide?

Read on as explore captivating facts about the Cotswolds, giving you a deeper insight into this enchanting region.

Overview of the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world and is home to several English counties including Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire, and Oxfordshire.

Driving through the traditional rolling English countryside is a treat in itself and is most enjoyable.

Known for its rolling hills, unspoilt countryside, and picturesque villages, the Cotswolds is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Stretching across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and Somerset, the Cotswolds is primarily rural, with a few small towns and villages scattered throughout.

The area has a rich history, dating back to the Roman period when it was an important centre for the wool trade.

The area’s distinctive honey-colored limestone buildings are a testament to its medieval past, and many of the villages and towns have retained their historic charm.

Visitors to the Cotswolds can enjoy numerous outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, kayaking, cycling, and horse riding.

There are also plenty of cultural attractions, such as museums, galleries, and historic buildings and home to a number of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Cheltenham Festival, Cheese Rolling, Tetbury Woolsack Races and even a bluegrass festival.

Overall, the Cotswolds is a beautiful and diverse region that offers something for everyone. Its outstanding natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the heart of England.

Facts About The Cotswolds

Cotswold Villages

The Cotswolds is home to some of the most charming and picturesque villages in England. With their honey-colored stone houses, quaint cottages, and winding streets, they offer a glimpse into a bygone era.

Here are some of the top Cotswold villages to visit:

Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton On The Water
Bourton-On-The-Water

Often referred to as the “Venice of the Cotswolds” due to the small bridges that cross over the River Windrush that runs through the village, Bourton-on-the-Water is a popular tourist destination and has plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore.

There are many wonderful gardens to be seen from the streets around the town.

Bibury

As a quintessential Cotswold village, Bibury is often featured in travel guides and on postcards. Its most famous attraction is a row of 14th-century weavers’ cottages named Arlington Row and all are owned by the National Trust; a charitable body.

Castle Combe

Castle Combe is a charming village that has been used as a filming location for many movies and TV shows, including War Horse and Downton Abbey. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular with filmmakers, with its picturesque streets and historic buildings.

Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden is a market town that is known for its impressive High Street, which is lined with beautiful 17th-century buildings and home to the famous Cotswold Way, a long-distance walking trail that runs through the heart of the Cotswolds.

Stow-on-the-Wold

Once an important center for the wool trade, the market town of Stow-on-the-Wold is a popular tourist destination known for its antiques shops, tea rooms, and pubs.

These are just a few of the many charming villages the region has to offer and each one has its own unique character and charm, but all worth exploring for anyone looking to experience the beauty and history of this stunning region.

Activities in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a perfect destination for those looking for a mix of outdoor activities and relaxation.

Here are some of the activities that visitors can enjoy in the area.

Camping in the Cotswolds

Camping is a popular activity in the Cotswolds, and there are plenty of campsites to choose from. Some of the best campsites are:

  • Cotswold Farm Park: This campsite is located on a working farm and offers a range of activities for families, including animal feeding and tractor rides.
  • Greenway Farm Camping: This campsite is situated in the heart of the Cotswolds and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and is close to the historic town of Cheltenham.
  • Bibury Camping: This campsite is located in the picturesque village of Bibury and is surrounded by beautiful countryside and close to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens and other attractions.

In addition to camping, visitors can enjoy a range of outdoor activities in the Cotswolds, on land, on / in water, and in the air (hot air balloons, helicopter trips).

Overall, the Cotswolds is a great destination for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

Best Viewpoints in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are known for their stunning natural beauty and breath taking views, here are some of the best viewpoints in the area:

Cleeve Hill

At 330 meters above sea level, Cleeve Hill is the highest point in the Cotswolds. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the River Severn, Cheltenham, Winchcombe, and even Wales on a clear day. There is a pub on the hill where visitors can enjoy a pint while taking in the views.

Broadway Tower

Facts about the Cotswolds, Broadway Tower offers generous views of the surrounding countryside
Broadway Tower, Cotswolds

Located near the village of Broadway, the Broadway Tower offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

On a clear day, visitors can see up to 13 counties from the top of the tower. The tower itself is also an interesting attraction, with a history dating back to the 18th century and known as a folly as it was built without practical purpose.

Haresfield Beacon

Haresfield Beacon is a hilltop viewpoint located near the town of Stroud. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Severn Vale, the Malvern Hills, and the Forest of Dean. The area is also a popular spot for hiking and walking.

Leckhampton Hill

Leckhampton Hill is a popular spot for hiking and walking, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can see as far as the Brecon Beacons on a clear day. The area is also home to an Iron Age hill fort and a nature reserve.

Dover’s Hill

Located near the town of Chipping Campden, Dover’s Hill offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The hill is also home to the annual Cotswold Olimpick Games, a traditional sports event dating back to the 17th century.

Overall, the Cotswolds offer a wealth of stunning viewpoints for visitors to enjoy. From hilltops to towers, there are plenty of opportunities to take in the natural beauty of the area.

Famous Attractions in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is home to a number of famous attractions that draw visitors from all over the world. Here are just a few of the most popular:

Blenheim Palace

Carrying on with the facts about the Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace is a magnificent stately home located in Oxfordshire and is the only non-royal country house in England with the title of palace.

Blenheim Palace is the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and is where Winston Churchill was born. Visitors can explore the palace’s opulent interiors, stroll through its beautiful gardens, and even take a boat ride on the lake.

Highgrove Estate

The official residence of King Charles III, Highgrove Estate offers visitors an opportunity to see beautifully kept gardens in the tranquil countryside of Gloucestershire.

The Model Village

This is a quirky attraction located in Bourton-on-the-Water. It is an impressive 1/9th scale replica of the scenic village and is a great way to get a sense of what the area is like. Visitors can explore the miniature village, complete with tiny houses, shops, and even a model of the village’s famous river.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is a popular attraction for families. It is home to a wide variety of animals, including lions, giraffes, and rhinos. Visitors can also explore the park’s beautiful gardens, which include a stunning walled garden, a tropical house, and a maze.

Cotswold Farm Park

The Cotswold Farm Park is a working farm that is open to visitors. It is home to a wide variety of farm animals, including cows, pigs, and sheep. Visitors can also take part in a range of activities, such as sheep shearing, milking demonstrations, and tractor rides.

Overall, the Cotswolds is famous for its beautiful countryside, charming villages, and historic attractions.

These facts about the Cotswolds reveal it to be a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the heart of England and experiencing its outstanding natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture.

Whether you are interested in history, nature, or just relaxing in a picturesque setting, there is something for everyone in this stunning part of England.

Enchantment Awaits
Enchantment Awaits

The Cotswolds region is home to many charming villages and towns, churches, historic landmarks, outdoor activities, in a beautiful part of England. After visiting the region many times, we created the TravelCotswolds.com website dedicated to helping others plan their own trips to the Cotswolds.

Here’s our current pick of the top ten villages to visit in the Cotswolds; BiburyBourton-on-the-WaterCirencesterCompton AbdaleCondicoteLower SlaughterMiserdenSomerford KeynesStroud, and Yanworth.

Contact: hello@travelcotswolds.com

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