The UK has many lovely and varied places for the discerning traveller to visit. The Lake District, the Scottish Highlands, the Welsh mountains and Irish peninsula all offer their own unique attractions. Some of our great cities are exciting, vibrant places for those who want the buzz of entertainment and shopping venues.
However there is one glorious part of the country that attracts visitors every year like bees to a honey pot. The Cotswolds, set out over around 800 square miles, covers several of England’s loveliest counties – Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. No wonder then that the Cotswolds, with its abundance of historic towns and honey coloured villages, its lively cities and its spectacular countryside, is the destination of choice for so many. So what does the Cotswolds – a designated area of outstanding natural beauty - have that other parts of the country do not?
Unspoiled Beauty and Ancient Traditions
Often referred to as bucolic, the countryside that makes up the Cotswolds is strikingly lovely and much of it has remained unspoilt as it has been for centuries. The whole area was once dominated by the wool industry and its legacy can be seen in the many grand manor houses and churches that were built by the wealthy wool merchants. If you have ever read Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee you will appreciate his finely accurate description of this part of the country. The author is buried in the local churchyard of Slad where he grew up and there is a 6 mile circular walk called the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way around the Slad Valley for visitors to enjoy. Other writers inspired by the beauty of the Cotswolds include Beatrix Potter, J M Barrie and J R R Tolkien. As for the ancient traditions of the Cotswolds area there is none more eccentric than the annual Cheese Rolling contest where locals chase a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down a dangerously steep hill. This event, held at Spring Bank, is just one of the many festivals visitors can enjoy.
Things to Do in the Cotswolds
You will never be short of things to do and places to go in this vast part of England and there is something for everyone. The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens in Burford makes a great day out. Aside from all the wonderful animals, which include rhinos, lions and giraffes, that you can see you will be able to watch Meerkats and Humboldt Penguins via the park webcams. For great family entertainment and as a great place to stay and explore the surrounding area the Cotswolds Water Park is perfect. There are lots of places to stay where you can just kick back, relax and re-charge while you decide where to go next. Famous gardens to visit include Hidcote Manor and the Highgrove Estate belonging to the Prince of Wales. If museums are your thing the Cotswolds Motor Museum or the Jet Age Museum are just two that showcase historic machinery.
Whether it is the wide open spaces where the children can run around and you can glory in some of the finest dog walking country or whether it is a packed itinerary in the towns and cities you prefer, the Cotswolds has it all. Boutique shopping and film location spotting are the things that many people come to the Cotswolds for too. From history to nature, from architecture to agriculture, from literature to the very best traditions in the finest of English dining, these are just some of the reasons why tourists from all over the world love to visit the Cotswolds.