EXPLORE THE COTSWOLDS
When it comes to immersing yourself in beautiful countryside and pretty villages you don’t get more quintessentially English than the Cotswolds. Honey coloured stone cottages, often topped with thatch, roses and clematis growing around the front door. Ducks paddling in the village stream, it’s water clear and bubbling. Timeless! No matter how many photographs show off the beauty of the Cotswolds, nothing beats being there yourself.
Covering a huge area – almost 800 square miles – the Cotswolds runs through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire).Its obvious capital is Oxford, historic seat of education, its dreaming spires suggesting aspiration to more celestial understanding. Gowned students can still be seen dashing between lectures cutting the image of classical learning perfectly. Other main towns include Cheltenham, a wonderful Regency town, famous for its buildings and Horse racing. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a racing festival revered around the world. The course sits overlooking the town and must surely be one of the prettiest horse racing locations in the world. Another is Gloucester, a cathedral town that boasts one of the most ornate cathedrals in the country, one of the best medieval buildings in Europe. It has been a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1,300 years, since Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince, founded a religious house here in 678-9 AD. There are many places to visit nearby including The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley.
The Chiltern Hills nestle between Oxford and London, the river Thames runs below the chalky hills boasting such renowned towns as Henley, Marlow, Wallingford and Pangbourne. The countryside is gently undulating and is steeped in history. The Chilterns are easily accessible for day trips from London but warrant devoting longer to seek out the many hidden charms the region has to offer.