South Cotswolds - Lechlade
Lechlade is in the south-eastern corner of the Cotswolds (another Gateway to the Cotswolds). The Rivers Coln and Leach join the River Thames here. The Thames and Severn Canal ends in Lechlade (connecting the River Thames here with the River Severn west of Stroud). There are many delightful Cotswold towns nearby.
The River Thames runs south of the main street and Market Square, so many of the pubs and hotels on the main street have the River Thames behind them.
The Spire of the Church in Lechlade
Market Square: The market square is where the main road makes a 90 degree turn, in front of the church. It is lined with 18th and 19th century buildings.
Church: St Lawrence, a Perpendicular wool church (1476), with a tall tower and spire. There is a wooden carved doorway inside (leading to the vestry) and a 15th century brass. website
Historic Buildings: Two historic bridges - Halfpenny Bridge, over the River Thames, south of the High Street, on Thames Street and St John's Bridge (1220) over the Thames at St John's Lock, on the Faringdon Road (A417) outside of town. The New Inn on the Market Square is a well-preserved historic building.
The Black Cat Tearooms, High Street: Nice tea room in the center of town.
The Riverside (pub), Park End Wharf off Thames Street (A361): Food and drinks at this pub on the River Thames. website
The Trout Inn (pub), St John's Bridge, Faringdon Road (A417): This has been an inn for over 700 years! The building (1220) was built to house the workers building the St John's bridge.
Food & Drink in Nearby Villages
Eastleach Turville - Victoria Inn (pub): Lovely pub in this beautiful village (good hike from here).
Kelmscott - The Plough (pub): A short walk from Kelmscott Manor. Built in 1631. Lunch and diner served.
Southrop - The Swan at Southrop (pub): Gastro pub in this beautiful small village near Eastleach Turville. website
There are several small foodshops in Lechlade and a small supermarket on the main street.
The nearest supermarkets are in Cirencester (see our list of supermarkets in the Cotswolds).
Cotswold Woolen Weavers: In Filkins between Burford and Lechdale. Locally made clothing, throws, rugs, cushions. website
Eastleach Turville and Eastleach Martin: Two villages separated by the River Leach. Historic churches sit on each side of the river (St Andrew's and Church of St Michael and St Martin - 12th century). A stone walking bridge separates the villages. The river near the bridge is lined with daffodils in the spring. There is a good pub in town, Victoria Inn, and a good walk from the villages.
Fairford: Good 15th century church overlooking the River Coln water meadows. See the historic stained glass windows.
Southrop: Village on the River Leach with an historic manor house with a small Norman church behind. The Norman font in the church is exceptional. Good pub in an historic building (The Swan).
Kelmscott Manor: In the village of Kelmscott, east of Lechlade, tour the house that William Morris lived in (founder of the Arts & Crafts movement in the late 1800s). You can tour the whole house and see many of his designs (the gift shop is great). The house is beautifully situated beside the River Thames. We visited this house on a rainy spring day and enjoyed seeing the house and this area. website
Akeman Street: An important Roman Road that ran from Cirencester to Bicester and beyond, runs through the Leach Valley and is accessible in this area. One of the hikes from Eastleach goes along Akeman Street. Akeman Street did not become a road in modern times, as did many of the other Roman Roads, so you can still walk along it easily (some parts are minor roads or bridlepaths).
Walking in the Cotswolds: Recommended guidebooks and maps for walking in the Cotswolds. We use these guides: Cotswold Classic Walks (Goldeneye), Cotswold Short Walks (Pathfinder Guide), The Cotswolds Walks and More Cotswolds Walks (Pathfinder Guides). Using those books, I listed our favorite hikes in this area below. All are circular walks - begin and end at the same spot.
Purchase the "Fairford and Lechlade Walks" guide at the Post Office or Newsagent. The Thames Path National Trail passes through Lechlade.
Town Walk - River Thames: There is a public footpath from the church to St John's Lock, return via the Thames path to Halfpenny Bridge for a short walk, or continue east on the Thames path for a longer walk.
Town Walk - River Leach: From the north end of town, across from the Little Faringdon Mill & Trout Farm, a public footpath follows the River Leach to Southrop.
Eastleach-Leach Valley (Goldeneye - 2.5hrs): Wonderful hike from two side by side villages - Eastleach Turville and Eastleach Martin - through an organic farm (Hatherop Estate), along the remains of a Roman Road (Akeman Street) and back to the villages. Good pub in Eastleach Turville. Jarrold Short Walks (Eastleach Turville and Eastleach Martin) has a shorter version of this walk (2 hrs).