Create Your Wellness Vacation in the Cotswolds
Leave your daily grind, busy schedule, and worries at Passport Control. The Cotswolds are naturally conducive to a relaxing vacation. But don't think that 'relaxing' means boring. Far from it! There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a fine balance of outdoor activities and down-time. You can exercise your body while refreshing your mind and regaining your equilibrium by turning your vacation into a Wellness Week, minus the regimented routine or fancy prices of most traditional spa destinations.
Start by booking a vacation rental where you can settle in and explore the nearby area. We highly advocate the "Slow Travel" concept and the Cotswolds is an ideal location for it. You can easily find a charming stone cottage to use as your home-base. You'll be surprised by how cozy and comforting it is to return "home" each day, and you'll be equally delighted by how much there is to see and do in such a small geographic area.
To turn your trip into one that offers a healthy dose of relaxation and fitness, book a cottage and employ some of these helpful (and healthful) tips.
Let Yourself Linger
Don't feel guilty about sleeping in or lingering over your coffee. You are on vacation, after all. Besides, sitting in the garden while listening to the birds, or doing your morning stretches while watching the sheep on the nearby hillside is a nice way to start your day.
Commune With Nature
Fill up your water bottle, grab your hiking books and maps, pack up your knapsack and hit the trails. Walk, drive or take the bus to one of the nearby public footpaths and enjoy a beautiful, invigorating walk through the tranquil countryside.
Trails crisscross the hills and fields, passing through villages along the way, making it easy to enjoy a nice lunch in a characteristic pub or tearoom. Simple yet good-quality meals are served in buildings that are hundreds of years old.
Charming towns and villages filled with pretty architecture and historic sights are scattered all over the Cotswolds. Wander the streets and squares to see how the locals still occupy these old homes. Visit the solid stone churches, sit on a bench to soak in the ambiance and study the architecture, and stroll through the cemetery looking at the dates on the tombstones.
Lose yourself in one of the immense, perfectly-landscaped gardens attached to a noble manor house. Painswick Rococo Garden, Westonbirt National Arboretum and Hidcote Manor Garden are just a few of the lush parks you can enjoy.
Visit the towns' markets and locally-owned produce shops to stock up on fresh veggies and fruits from the area's farms. Waitrose, a high quality supermarket chain, has stores in Stroud, Cirencester, and Cheltenham, where you'll find all manner of organic produce and products that taste wonderful and are good for you, too! Or visit the Duchy store in Tetbury where they sell organic products straight from Prince Charles nearby organic farms.
Pack a Lunch
Use the produce and goodies you've procured to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy alongside a river or in a shady spot along the footpath.
Schedule Outdoor Fun
While walking is one of the main attractions, the Cotswolds offers many other opportunities for active outdoor exercise.
- Rent bicycles. If you are a two-wheel enthusiast there are trails and hills aplenty, and a few spots to rent bikes.
- Cruise a canal. Watch villages and countryside float by from a slender canal boat, rentable by the day.
- Tee up. Golf originated in the British Isles and there are plenty of challenging courses to choose from.
- Take a trail ride. Those gorgeous rolling hills just beckon to be explored on horseback.
- Fly High. See the Cotswolds from above in a hot air balloon! Exciting and romantic, flights can be scheduled from several towns around the Cotswolds.
Enjoy Tea Time
England is famous for afternoon tea, and observing this time-honored ritual is a not only a fine cultural experience, it's a nice opportunity to relax and refuel in the afternoon. You'll feel very civilized eating a scone and sipping tea in pretty surroundings.
Take a Siesta
Follow up your physically active day with an afternoon nap. Why not? You've earned it!
Get Creative in the Kitchen
One of the joys of a vacation rental is the availability of a kitchen. Stock up on goodies in town and retreat to your country cottage to cook up something delectable. What could be better than dinner on the peaceful patio or a quiet evening at home in front of a crackling fire?
Take the Waters
The newly-opened Thermae Bath Spa is a modern facility utilizing the historic water sources in the city of Bath, providing soak tubs, massage therapy and other spa treatments. The Romans opened opulent public baths here two thousand years ago. In the 1800s, the city became a fashionable destination for the wealthy to come and "take the waters." You can sip a cup of the mineral-rich effervescent water, said to have healing properties, from the fountain in the beautiful Pump Room. From here you can overlook the original Roman spa.
Put Your Feet Up
After a day of walking and sightseeing, wash off your hiking boots, soak your feet in some salt water, and prop them up on the ottoman. Open the windows to hear the bird calls, and unwind with a newspaper or a good book.
There is nothing like silence and calm to drop you off into dream-land. Being in a cottage instead of a bustling hotel guarantees a restful night's sleep after your full day of physical exercise.
One week is all you need. After your Wellness Week in the Cotswolds, you'll be relaxed and ready to head back to your regular daily life, with the benefit of feeling physically fit, and with lots of memories and photos of beautiful spots to take home with you, too.