In the heart of England is a rural idyll of peaceful rolling hills where life is unhurried and traditions abound. Historic villages contain stone cottages so perfect they're called "chocolate boxes". Footpaths cross scenic fields and valleys leading to rivers, canals, woods, and civilized pubs. This is the Cotswolds, an area of limestone hills in the English countryside west of London, between Bath and Stratford-on-Avon.
The area has been known as the Cotswolds since at least Shakespeare's time (he mentioned it in Richard II). Its designating name is well-recognized though it is not an official county. Its boundaries are clearly demarked and spill over six counties, though the majority of the Cotswolds lie in Gloucestershire.
This website is your personal travel guide to the Cotswolds.
Events in the Cotswolds
This is not your typical Circus. Giffords Circus tours the Cotswolds each summer!
Malmesbury Garden Festival to celebrate gardens, gardening, plants and design with talks from leading experts and gardening VIPs. 17 - 18 April 2015.
Visit one of the many Open Gardens from the National Garden Scheme.
The Stroud Farmers' Market is the best in the area. Every Saturday. Fresh-n-Local
For the best local businesses, see the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards.
Pauline and Steve walked the Cotswold Way, 102 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath. Read more about this walk - Walking and hiking in the Cotswolds
Books & Articles
Cicerone Guides - Cycling in the Cotswolds, Half- and full-day routes and a 200km tour of the Cotswolds, by Chiz Dakin (2014).
Cicerone Guides - Walking in the Cotswolds, 30 classic hill and valley routes, by Damian Hall (2014).
The Cotswolds: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination) by Jane Bingham. A good description of the Cotswolds, how it is now and its history. New edition available April 2015.
Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage by Jennifer Richardson. The memoir of an American woman and her British husband living in a cottage in the Cotswolds.
An introduction to this beautiful part of the English countryside. History, geography, walking/hiking, weather, maps of the Cotswolds, practical tips. Read more
The market towns of the Cotswolds - what to see, food and drink, shops, nearby villages and sites. Read more
Get started planning your trip to the Cotswolds: car rental, car services, driving tours, London airports, weather, our favorite books and maps, web resources. Read more
The best way to see this beautiful countryside is on foot, following one of the many public footpaths through the Cotswolds. Read more
Photos of the Cotswolds: towns & villages, gardens, food & drink, trip photo essays, Bath, Wiltshire. Look at photos
A Very British Summer
Last year in England it was sunny and warm – even hot on some days – from mid-May to mid-September.
Two Teas and Two Gardens
Walking along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. Touring Highgrove Garden.
A Year in England
Very slow travel, spending a year in the Cotswolds.
> Read more Slow Travels, Pauline's blog about living in England and travel.