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Picture your dream English village and – the chances are – you’ve imagined the Cotswolds. Stroll around beautiful lanes, lined by historic, golden-stone homes. Cycle or wander the footpaths and bridleways. Or simply cosy up in a country pub before returning to the luxury of your country retreat. 

A hotchpotch of historic villages and idyllic rural scenes 

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To stay in the Cotswolds is to immerse yourself in England’s rural past. Each village offers a glimpse of ‘how they used to live’ with pretty thatched cottages and grand mansions. The area grew wealthy thanks to the boom in the medieval wool trade and it remains one of the UK’s most desirable places to live – and visit. To the west you’ll find Regency Cheltenham with its boutiques and boulevards. To the east are the dreaming spires of Oxford.

With its gently rolling hills, the Cotswolds is wonderful walking and cycling country. Step out of your hotel and you’ll soon discover over 5000km of footpaths and rights of way, just begging to be explored. If you prefer to rest your own legs, there are plenty of riding centres in the area and beautiful routes such as the Sabrina Way.

The green pastures of the Cotswolds are renowned for their incredible produce. Don’t miss local favourites including Old Spot pork, Blaisdon red plums, fresh trout, Tewkesbury mustard and, of course, the cheeses. The Cotswolds are home to over 100 regional varieties. But make sure you leave some room for a pint of ale in a proper Cotswold pub.

Cotswold villages are film location favourites and have been the backdrop for Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Top Tip from SLH

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