Explore The Cotswolds
A background to the Wiltshire Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are associated with pretty honey coloured stone villages, narrow lanes, drystone walls and stunning countryside and are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Cotswolds fall into various counties including Gloucestershire, Somerset and Oxfordshire and 6.8% sits in Wiltshire.
The villages of Castle Combe, Sherston and Slaughterford, the fringes of Wiltshire towns Malmesbury and Bradford on Avon both fall into the Wiltshire part of the AONB.
The Cotswolds is an agricultural area, with farming being one of the main industries here. The local stone, used to build many of the houses that you see in the Cotswolds has been quarried here since Roman times and its this history and lush countryside that has been bringing visitors here for centuries.
What is there to see and do in the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds is home to over 3,000 miles of footpath – making it an ideal destination for keen walkers.
The village of Castle Combe is a must-see. Often voted the prettiest village in England, it’s no wonder why when you see the beautiful honey-coloured cottages and the babbling brook. The village has regularly been used as a backdrop for films and has featured in Dr Dolittle (1960s), War Horse and Stardust.
On the outskirts of the village, keen adrenalin junkies can take part in driving experiences or watch motor racing at the Castle Combe Circuit with events taking place throughout the year.
Get closer to nature on a visit to Westonbirt Arboretum, home to around 15,000 trees! Walk through the pathways cut through the woodlands, take in the views from the newly opened tree top walkway or take part in some of the hands-on events including bush craft and nature spotting. Look out for the illuminated gardens event and pay a visit during autumn for the spectacular colours. Westonbirt Arboretum is also regularly used as a concert venue.
See a different kind of nature on a trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park. The park home to around 250 species of animal including lions, meerkats and rhino. In addition to this, the gardens are well worth a visit for anyone who’s interested in horticulture.
Just across the boundary of the AONB you’ll find the Cotswold Water Park – home to around 150 lakes. The lakes make a tranquil base for walking, cycling and bird watching. Some of the lakes are also set up for water sports and fishing.
Make a break of it and book a stay in some beautiful Cotswolds accommodation
If you are looking for high end accommodation in the Cotswolds there are the following five star luxury hotels:
The Manor House Hotel & Golf Club, Castle Combe
Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Nr Malmesbury
Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, Colerne, Nr Chippenham
If you have a more modest budget, why not consider a farm stay, B&B or guest accommodation in the Cotswolds or alternatively, a self-catering cottage.