Only about an hour and a half from London, you will find the Cotswolds, a unique destination where city lovers can fall deeply in love with the magic that is the English countryside. We found the chicest places to stay, and eat, as well as places you must discover and explore along the way. We enjoyed country estates, 5-star cuisine, and walks through several charming towns, all the while getting that much closer to nature. Here’s your guide to discovering the Cotswolds, in style.
The Hare and Hounds Hotel
This 4-star traditional English hotel is quintessentially the exact type of place you dream of staying at when looking for places to enjoy in the countryside. Near the quaint town of Tetbury, the estate sits on lush, manicured gardens where we enjoyed crisp morning walks during our stay in the fall. You could feel the sense of history at this hotel. It is perfectly positioned being just a mile away from Highgrove House and adjacent to the world renowned Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. Enjoy fine dining in The Beaufort Restaurant, which has been awarded a 2 AA Rosette accolade with fancy dishes like seared scallops to start with sesame purée, baby turnip, turnip & verjus cream, main courses like Cod fillet with cheese & parsley crust, creamy leeks, wild mushrooms, and parsley purée. We skipped dessert and instead opted for their savory cheese course (when in Europe, right!). After dinner, we enjoyed traditional tea in their adjacent lounge that was perfectly English with comfortable sofas and perfectly dim lighting.
+44 1666 881000
Visit the website, click here.
Tetbury was the first stop on our town tours and we instantly fell in love with the little shops and coffee houses. In the Middle Ages, Tetbury became an important place to market wool, and that still holds true today. During our visit, we stopped at a wool market at The Market House in the center of town and picked up an incredible wool throw and some baby booties. The town of Tetbury is close to Highgrove House, the residence of the Prince of Wales, so when shopping the town you may notice that some stores hold of very high acclaim as they feature the Prince of Wales feathers in their windows, showing they hold the Royal Warrant. We noticed that the local dry cleaner had these honors. How many people can say they share their dry cleaners with the future king of England?! Tetbury is also home to the Highgrove Shop, created by the prince as a way to give back to his charities featuring an array of clothing, gardening supplies, keepsakes, books and so much more. After shopping, another must-stop for visitors is the Gothic revival parish church St. Mary the Virgin and St. Mary Magdalene.
Hobbs House Bakery has been baking in the Cotswolds for five generations, so stopping there is an absolute must! I still can’t get the smell of those fresh baked breads out of my mind! Just walking around Tetbury is enough to make any lover of architecture content as many of the buildings are what you would have seen hundreds of years ago. To discover more of Tetbury, click here.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
Spend an entire afternoon at the Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, as this is a nature lovers paradise! We visited during a gorgeous fall day and it was amazing to see all of the different kinds of trees and colors of leaves and just how lush and green everything was. At the Arboretum they encourage you to go off of the “path” to explore 17 miles of accessible paths with over 14,902 labelled trees! We loved learning about the history of this enchanting place — in the 1850s the wealthy landowner Robert Holford owned the estate and began to have the trees planted. There are three areas of the Arboretum which include the Old Arboretum that’s been landscaped since the 1850s, Silk Wood which is a semi-natural woodland featuring exotic landscapes and the Grade I registered Downs, the perfect place for a family picnic. Even the dogs can enjoy the grounds either in Silk Wood or on the Downs, the Old Arboretum is the only dog free area.
After all of the nature exploring, the perfect spot to grab lunch is onsite at the Westonbirt Restaurant and Cafe. Enjoy hearty soups, baguettes, sandwiches, snacks, cakes and pastries or comfort foods from the restaurant such as the Beef Bourguignon, Woodchester Sausages and Chicken Pie. They also serve their breads from the well-known Hobbs House Bakery, so you have another chance to try their fresh baked breads!
One of the most famous towns in the area is Bourton-on-the-Water, also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds. Find yourself strolling along the canals of the River Windrush and wandering in some of the cutest shops and tea houses around. This quaint, idyllic village setting is the perfect opportunity to take in their famous honey colored stone buildings. This town is consistently voted as one of the most beautiful places in England and when visiting the Cotswolds, you must make it one of your top destinations. For more info, visit www.bourtoninfo.com.
Three Ways House Hotel
This charming hotel is both typically English and knows how to have a great time! Known for their world famous Pudding Club, the Three Ways House Hotel is more than a hotel, it’s a destination. With 48 guest rooms with names like The Spotted Dick, how can anyone not love this place?! Now let’s get back to the star of the show, every Friday night people from around the world come to The Three Ways House Hotel for The Pudding Club. Since 1985, they’ve been preserving the great tradition of Great British Pudding with a celebratory meeting that starts with a jovial introduction from the Pudding Master and the enjoyment of watching the Parade of Seven Puddings before getting to the best part, eating it! If you’re looking for fine dining, the Three Ways House Hotel has that too. The restaurant has been given The AA Rosette award with creative dishes and an extensive menu that changes seasonally.
+44 1386 438429
We made a quick stop to Chipping Campden, another delightful town in the Cotswolds. This town has a reputation for one of the most beautiful high streets in England and it’s the perfect place to spend your vacation exploring the beautiful architecture, quaint shops and strolls throughout the old wool town. For more information, please click here.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting Broadway Tower! The tower is a magnificent piece of architecture up on Beacon Hill that overlooks the town of Broadway in the Cotswolds. There are lots of stories about the origins of the tower built around 1799, but the most famous and most romantic story is that an earl built it for his wife.
1 mile south-east of Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7LB
Snowshill Bed & Breakfast
If you’re looking to really get away from it all, then Snowshill Bed & Breakfast is the perfect place for you. This country estate has a casualness that we can appreciate as you immediately feel like part of the family. We loved the warmth of the manager Jo Willn, who takes care of every need of her guests with passion and excitement. A place where you can completely unwind, you can enjoy beautiful country walks to places like the heavenly Cotswold Lavender farm nearby or spend your mornings there watching chickens wandering the grounds.
Mrs Jo. Willn, Manager
Snowshill Hill Estate
Bed & Breakfast Accommodation
Telephone: +44  1386 853959
Go on a treasure hunt of over 22,000 items at Snowshills Manor and explore the incredible collection of Charles Paget Wade. The manor is packed to the brim with his treasures —everything from tiny toys to Samurai armor, musical instruments to fine clocks. The beautiful manor is set in the serene hillside gardens in the Cotswolds and is a magical place where you will spend hours upon hours exploring.
Snowshill, near Broadway, Gloucestershire, WR12 7JU
Telephone: 01386 852410
*Photos by Henrique Kerch