Rural England at its Glorious Best

The Cotswolds is England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covering almost 800 square miles. The hills, rolling grasslands, ancient woodlands and captivating villages built from the golden Cotswold stone create an outstanding English landscape; loved equally by the British and visitors to England.   The area provides wonderful inspiration for artists and photographers.   In addition to its stunning natural beauty The Cotswolds offers many opportunities for outdoor activities.

Many of the fine manor houses and churches throughout the area were built from the wealth generated by the wool trade. The Cotswold Lion rare breed sheep is prized for its long golden fleece which can weigh ten kilos. Joe Henson founded both The Cotswold Farm Park and The Rare Breeds Survival Trust to promote and protect our native breeds of farm livestock. These principles of conservation and sustainable farming continue to be adhered to throughout The Cotswolds.

This wonderful area has lively market towns, historic Oxford and Cheltenham and some of the country’s finest palaces, castles and country houses. The picturesque villages of honey-coloured stone are just waiting to be explored. We have now created a Printable Day Tour of the North Cotswolds with directions. The excursion includes hidden villages and some of the most beautiful areas. The tour takes two hours without stops and covers fifty miles. You can also Fly the Tour and access the Road Trip.

Limestone quarries have been in production here for hundreds of years, supplying the stone for some of England’s most famous buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle and many Oxford Colleges. Careful planning ensures the Cotswold towns and villages remain unspoiled. Our stunning countryside is maintained by dedicated local people who possess skills that have been passed down through generations; there are miles of dry stone walls which require constant repair and ancient woodlands which benefit from knowledgeable management. Local craftspeople conduct courses in these rural skills.

The Cotswold area is famous for its local produce such as Gloucester Old Spot Pork and Single Gloucester Cheese. Several award-winning chefs including Emily Watkins have chosen this area for their own restaurants, preparing fabulous dishes from the fresh produce of nearby farms. Farmers’ Markets are a regular feature and many visitors seek these out in order to take home superb quality meats, cheeses, smoked fish and Cotswold honey. The Cotswolds is also the proud home to farm shops selling their own delicious produce; Old Farm at Dorn and Daylesford Organic are amongst many others. Artisan breweries and distilleries are now an essential part of the Cotswolds and our village pubs provide plenty of opportunities for sampling.