Undulating hills, quaint villages filled with tearooms and honeyed stone from border to border, The Cotswolds’ six counties almost glow with that iconic golden hue. This largest of England's AONBs is a sightseer's destination of the grandest proportions. Palaces, follies, woodlands and wildlife parks, there is certainly no lack of things to do when holidaying in a luxury home in one of the UK’s most popular tourist spots.

What to see


For culture vultures visiting the Cotswolds, there are castles upon castles to wander through, around and over. From Blenheim’s 300 years of history and parklands designed by Capability Brown to Katherine Parr’s Sudeley Castle, there's plenty to discover. In Banbury, Broughton Castle and its moat awaits, while Beverston’s medieval ruins invite imagination in children and Warwick’s lively events roster brings an abundance of music and theatre.

Gardens galore

For every castle or country manor hidden behind a fold of the Cotswolds' rolling hills, there is a garden to match its beauty. Tree lovers must not miss Moreton-in-Marsh’s Batsford Arboretum, while Westonbirt Arboretum promises Gruffalo trails and adventure playgrounds galore for those with children in tow. For more a more formal day out, Abbey House Gardens and Westbury Court showcase fine topiary, wild flowers and well-maintained kitchen gardens to wander at leisure.

Arlington Row

It’s not a trip to the Cotswolds without visiting Arlington Row in Bibury, arguably the most famous street (and the most photographed!) in the whole of Britain. This picture-perfect row of cottages first started life as a monastic wool store in the 14th century before being converted into a row of weaver’s cottages. Once the obligatory pictures have been snapped, head to one of Bibury’s many tearooms for a hot brew and wedge of cake.

What to do

Hike your own way

...or one of the many long-distance trails covering this picture-perfect AONB. The Cotswold Way, stretching 102 miles from Chipping Camden to Bath, traverses through woodlands and over common land, by neolithic settlements and through chocolate box villages en masse. The Five Valleys walk, Gloucestershire Way and Leckhampton Loop also offer exceptional walking opportunities for keen ramblers.

Antique shopping

Antique lovers will truly be in their element here, with both Cirencester and Stow-on-the-Wold offering treasure chests of sparkling trinkets and one-of-a-kind finds behind the doors of their esteemed antique shops. In Cirencester be sure not to miss the Antiques and Collectables Market, The Malthouse Collective and Old Bank Antiques; in Stow-on-the-Wold head to Station Mill Antique Centre and Cotswold Antiques and Tea Room.

Wander the summer lavender fields

If visiting during June or July, you'll catch the the Cotswolds’ lavender fields in full bloom, their soothing scent drifting through country lanes and into thatched inn gardens all over the land. The Cotswold Lavender Farm in Worcestershire is the obvious place to wander through the neat rows of purple flowers, while walking trails and wildflower meadows offer dog-walkers some of the most spectacular violet-tinted views in the AONB.

Where to eat and drink

YOKU, Cheltenham

Unassumingly glamorous and set within a townhouse on Cheltenham’s promenade, YOKU’s Japanese cuisine is a cut above the rest. Overseen by Ronnie Bonetti (of Soho House), the menu focuses on seasonal, local ingredients and is created in an open kitchen, served as and when dishes are ready. The sashimi platters and miso black cod come highly recommended.

The Coconut Tree, Cheltenham

This may not be fine dining, but The Coconut Tree has such a reputation for excellent food twinned with a lively atmosphere that it is not to be missed. Wooden benches, dizzying cocktails and authentic Sri Lankan street food combine to make this a culinary experience that will stick in the mind, no matter how many mojitos.

The Double Red Duke, Clanfield

Classically Cotswold in all its honey-hued glory, The Double Red Duke flaunts a strong menu of pub grub and bar snacks, with steak being a specialty here. The plant-filled conservatory is a fine place to indulge in after-supper coffee (or curated post-dinner cocktail) while the roaring fire will ensure cosy nights through the year.

Where to stay

Whether you're looking for a large farmhouse for the whole family to gather in, or cosy cottage for two, browse our luxury self-catering homes in the Cotswolds.