The Cotswolds Road Trip

The Cotswolds Road Trip

Length 68 miles / 109 kms

Is there anywhere more perfectly English than the Cotswolds? The lush and rolling countryside of south west England is dotted with honeyed picture perfect villages set around duck ponds and greens, and the winding country lanes are lined with stone walls and hedgerows.

The region is recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers close encounters with wildlife, and birdwatching opportunities at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre. If you prefer a bit more activity, paddle boarding, kayaking and archery are all available at the Cotswold Water Park, and there are lots of great cycling and hiking routes in the area. If you’re looking for a gentle escape and a slow pace, this is a perfect 1 week road trip in the UK.

Highlights

Burford

The medieval town of Burford in Oxfordshire, just 30 minutes west of Oxford itself, and an hour and 45 minutes by car from London, is on the edge of the so called ‘Golden Triangle’, bordered by the A40, A44 and A429. The triangle is home to some of the most idyllic chocolate box villages of the Cotswolds, including Kingham, Churchill, Broadwell, Bledington and Oddington, and a perfect place to start a Cotswolds road trip.

Burford itself has changed little over the centuries, other than becoming one of the most popular tourist spots in the area. Stroll down the famous High Street, lined with half-timbered houses and Georgian architecture, as it descends to the River Windrush. Dip in and out of the side streets and alleys for hidden treasures, more historic buildings and great places to stop for lunch.

Painswick

Painswick, known as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’, is a beautiful and historic wool town. One one of the best-preserved settlements in the Cotswolds, built from locally quarried stone, Painswick is a great starting point to travel around the area. Close enough to Cheltenham to make exploring easy, there are many small country roads and tiny villages between Painswick and Cheltenham to discover.

Sitting halfway along the Cotswold Way National Trail, Painswick is surrounded by fabulous hiking country and is a great base to start from. Painswick Beacon has spectacular views across the Severn Valley to the mountains of Wales.

Stonehenge and Glastonbury

Further afield embrace Arthurian legend at Glastonbury and the standing stones at Stonehenge and Avebury – the largest stone circle in Europe.

Bath

End your road trip in the historic Roman and Georgian spa city of Bath. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath is famous for its hot springs, Roman baths, Medieval heritage and elegant Georgian architecture. Visit the fascinating Roman Baths which date from AD43, to see how the Romans liked to relax. At the more modern end of the scale, take a dip in the contemporary Thermae Bath Spa, which houses the only natural thermal hot springs in Britain. Visit the iconic Royal Crescent and the majestic Circus to see the fine period architecture which epitomises the city that was home to the author, Jane Austen.

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