Visitor Information

This visitor information section is a new section on Cotswolds Finest. In time we will endeavour to offer the visitor as much information as possible to insure a visit to the Cotswolds is one to remember. If you are planning a holiday in the Cotswolds visit this page often as we will be updating information regularly.

The Cotswolds Introduction
The Cotswolds are officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty they cover several counties and these include Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset. Beautiful limestone towns and villages are a delightful feature of the area as well as the stunning countryside that surrounds them.

During the 13-15th centuries, the medieval period, the native Cotswold sheep were famous throughout Europe for their heavy fleeces and high quality of wool. Cotswold wool commanded a high price and the wealth generated by the wool trade enabled wealthy traders to leave their mark by building fine houses and wonderful churches, known as “wool churches”. Even today, the sight of sheep on the hillside is still one of the classic Cotswold images.

Today, the larger market towns and villages of the Cotswolds are famous for their shops, such as Stow-on-the-Wold, Cirencester, Chipping Norton and Tetbury however the area has lost none of its charm from a bygone era.

The World Heritage Site of Bath and the beautiful countryside surrounding it is unique and unforgettable.This comfortably sized city is packed with places to visit. Bath's rich diversity of museums, galleries, gardens and attractions are all within easy distance of each other.

• The Roman Baths
• Bath Abbey
• The Museum of Costume
• Jane Austen Centre
• The Building of Bath Museum
• The Victoria Art Gallery and Holburne Museum
• Thermae Spa Complex
• And many more

Tourist Information Centre
Bath Tourist Information Centre,
Abbey Chambers, Bath, BA1 1LY
Tel: +44 (0)870 4446442

Nearest Rail Station:Bath

William Morris called Bibury "the most beautiful village in England" and it remains most attractive in its setting alongside the river. The 14th century Arlington Row provides the focal point. This was originally a wool store, then altered into weavers’ cottages and is now restored by the National Trust. The low roofline and row of gables give it true Cotswold style.

• Bibury Trout Farm and River
• Arlington Row

Tourist Information Centre
Corinium Museum
Park Street
Gloucestershire GL7 2BX

Nearest Rail Station: Kemble
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cirencester

Probably the most popular village in the Cotswolds, and often referred to as the "Venice of the Cotswolds" because the River Windrush runs right through the centre. The combination of this clear sparkling water and the attractive low bridges crossing it create a charming scene, best enjoyed in the quieter times of day and quieter months of the year. Bourton-on-the-Water has many attractions, suitable for visitors of all ages. The Model Village is a mini replica of the village itself, Birdland Park and Gardens offers woodland, river and gardens inhabited by over 500 birds, and the Cotswold Perfumery is a sensory experience with a difference!

• Model Village
• Perfumery Tours
• Cotswold Motoring Museum
• Model railway exhibition
• Birdland
• Dragonfly Maze

Tourist Information Centre
Bourton-on-the-Water Tourist Information Centre
Victoria Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, GL54 2BU
Tel: +44 (0) 1451 820211

Nearest Rail Station: Kingham or Moreton-in-Marsh
Taxi:E & S Cars based in Lower Slaughter.
Tel: + 44 (0) 1451 820215
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cheltenham

Picture perfect with its honey-coloured Cotswold stone buildings, Broadway is one of the most picturesque of the Cotswold villages. Broadway has attracted visitors from around the world for centuries and with its chocolate box looks you could be stepping onto a film set. With a wide range of antique and high quality shops, spectacular scenery and with lovely places to stay, Broadway is delightful at any time of the year.

Fish Hill provides the impressive backdrop to Broadway and on top stands Broadway Tower, a 65 foot (20m) high folly, built by the Earl of Coventry in the 18th Century. From the tower spectacular views of 12 counties can be enjoyed.

• Snowshill Manor
• Snowshill Lavender
• Broadway Tower and Animal Park
• Farncombe Estate Centre

Tourist Information Centre
Broadway Tourist Information Centre 1 Cotswold Court
Broadway WR12 7AA
Telephone: +44 (0) 1386 852937

Nearest Rail Station: Moreton in Marsh
Taxi: E & S Cars based in Lower Slaughter
Tel: + 44 (0) 1451 820215
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Stratford or Cirencester

The first sight of the steep main street leading down to the medieval bridge over the river sets the scene for Burford. Full of lovely old stone houses, the town presents some of its best 17th and 18th century frontages to the High Street, although earlier buildings often lie hidden behind, glimpsed through narrow alleyways and courtyards. These are relics of the town's great days as a major wool market in medieval England. The area around the fine wool church is a quiet, almost hidden quarter of the town. Picture William Morris, the inspiration behind the Arts and Crafts movement, having a dispute here in 1876 with the vicar of the day about restoration plans for the church - Morris triumphed! Burford is a renowned centre for antiques, teashops and gift shopping.

• Cotswold Wildlife Park
• Tolsey Museum
• Design-away (paint your own pottery)

Tourist Information Centre
Burford Visitor Information Centre,
The Brewery, Sheep Street, Burford,
Oxfordshire, OX18 4LP
Telephone: +44 (0) 1993 823558

Nearest Rail Station:Shipton
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Oxford

Castle Combe
There are many wonderful buildings including the Dower House and the White Hart as well as the lovely church which was extensively restored in the 19th century but mostly remains the old work. Originally it was a British hill fort which became occupied by the Romans due to its proximity to The Fosse Way. After the Romans, came the Normans, who built the fort up into a Castle. By the Middle Ages the village in the valley had become an important centre for the wool industry. The village is also a sanctuary to wildlife as it is a conservation area and enjoys the beauty of nature at its very best. The village houses are all of typical Cotswold type, constructed in stone with thick walls and roofs made from split natural stone tiles. The properties are many hundreds of years old and are listed as ancient monuments.

• Village Museum
• Gallery on the bridge
• Church

Tourist Information Centre
Malmesbury Tourist Information Centre.
Town Hall Market Lane, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ.
T +44 (0)1666 823748

Nearest Rail Station: Chippenham
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Chippenham

The Spa town of Cheltenham has been welcoming visitors for almost three hundred years, ever since the discovery of the first natural spring led to the development of the elegant spa town. Cheltenham is renowned for its Regency architecture, stylish shopping, colourful parks and floral displays, horseracing, music and literature festivals. Fine accommodation and a wide variety of restaurants make Cheltenham a good touring base for the Cotswolds.

• Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum
• Holst Birthplace museum
• Pittville Pump Rooms and Park
• Cheltenham Racecourse

Tourist Information Centre
Cheltenham Tourist Information Centre,
77 The Promenade, Cheltenham GL50 1PJ
T +44 (0) 1242 522878

Nearest Rail Station: Cheltenham Spa
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cheltenham

Chipping Campden
Frequently described as the "jewel in the crown" of Cotswold towns, Chipping Campden is also one of the best preserved and most historically important. The High Street is lined with a range of wonderful and intriguing shops. In the town centre is the Market hall built in 1627 for the sale of butter, cheese and poultry. Chipping Campden has been thoroughly preserved and still presents the character of a Cotswold market town

• Market Hall
• Hart’s silversmith at the The Silk Mill
• Shops on the high street, including antique shops and Bennetts Wine Merchant
• Hidcote Manor Garden
• Kiftsgate Garden

Tourist Information Centre
Chipping Campden Tourist Information Point,
The Old Police Station, High Street, Chipping Campden.
T +44 (0) 1386 841206

Nearest Rail Station: Moreton-in-Marsh
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Stratford

The “Capital of the Cotswolds" has the unmistakable air of a lively market town. Its street market, held in the large and impressive Market Place, is still a colourful twice-weekly feature of town life. The town's origins lie in the Roman period when it was one of the regional capitals of Roman Britain. The Corinium Museum in the town tells this story, displaying reconstructions of how life was in Roman Cirencester, then known as Corinium Dobunnorum.

• Corinium Museum
• Brewery Arts
• Cotswold Water Park (5 miles)

Tourist Information Centre
Corn Hall, Market Place, Cirencester
Telephone: +44 (0) 1285 654180

Nearest Rail Station:Kemble (approx 7 miles)
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cirencester

Gloucester, the capital of Gloucestershire is cradled by the picturesque Cotswold Hills. The city has a vibrant, lively atmosphere that combines a rich historic past with all the excitement and attractions of a city just full of life begging to be explored.

Here you will find Roman foundations, Victorian Docklands and the magnificent Norman Cathedral rubbing shoulders with a bustling city centre with a range of shops, restaurants, wine bars, pubs, entertainment and unique visitor attractions. The Cathedral weaves a special charm and magic that proved irresistible as one of the settings for the movie ' Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' and 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'.

• Gloucester Cathedral
• Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery
• Gloucester Docks
• Folk Museum
• Nature in Art (3 miles)
• Solideirs of Gloucestershire Museum
• Antiques Centre
• National Waterways Museum

Tourist Information Centre
Gloucester Tourist Information Centre,
28 Southgate St, Gloucester
Tel: +44 (0) 1452 396572 Fax: +44 (0) 1452 504273

Nearest Rail Station:Gloucester
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Gloucester

Located at the head of the beautiful Evenlode valley, Moreton is a thriving market town dating back 1000 years to the Saxon era. Its broad High Street is lined with elegant 17th and 18th Century buildings, among them the White Hart Royal, a former manor house in which King Charles I sheltered during the Civil War. Every Tuesday Moreton-in-Marsh hosts the largest open-air street market in the Cotswolds. It is also the venue for a successful one-day agricultural show held on the first Saturday in September.

• Market in centre (Tuesdays)
• Batsford Arboretum (2km)
• Bourton House Garden (2km)
• Cotswold Falconry Centre (2km)
• Wellington Aviation Museum (centre)
• Mill Dene Garden (5km)

Tourist Information Centre
Tourist Information Point -
Cotswold District Council Offices,
High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos. GL56 0AZ
Tel: +44 (0) 1608 650881

Nearest Rail Station:Moreton in Marsh
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Stratford or Cirencester

Painswick is one of the gems of the Cotswolds. Painswick sits perfectly on its hillside, with the elegant church spire and striking churchyard the focus of this distinctive village. The wool trade made the town wealthy, as with so many other Cotswold communities.

• Painswick Rococo Gardens
• Gloucestershire Guild Gallery

Tourist Information Centre
Painswick Tourist Information centre
The Library, Stroud Rd, Painswick
Tel: +44 (0) 1452 813552

Nearest Rail Station:Stroud
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Stroud

The village is known for its exceptional unspoilt beauty and for the views over the Severn Vale to the west. Charmingly set near the Worcestershire border, the Cotswolds rise to over 900ft around the village on three sides. An ancient road called Buckle Street crosses the parish. Snowshill Manor, owned by the National Trust, is a beautiful Cotswold building set in picturesque gardens, and contains a fantastic collection of toys, musical instruments, clocks, bicycles and samurai armour all collected by the late Sir Charles Wade. The beautiful cottage garden is a lively mix of architectural features, bright colours and delightful scents.

• Snowshill Manor (closed for 2004)
• Snowshill Lavender
• Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, 7 miles
• Mill Dene Garden, Blockley, 4 miles
• Stanway House & Fountain
• Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
• Broadway Tower
• Hailes Abbey
• Winchcombe Railway Museum
• Winchcombe Pottery
• Winchcombe Folk & Police Museum
• Belas Knap Long Barrow

Tourist Information Centre
Winchcombe Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, High Street, Winchcombe
Tel: 01242 602925

Nearest Rail Station: Evesham
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cheltenham & some stop in Evesham

Famous as a centre for antiques, Stow-on-the-Wold, situated on the Roman Fosse Way, has a long history and probably dates from a prehistoric fortified settlement on top of the hill. The Market Square is large and impressive and, surrounded by houses, shops and inns all built in the local Cotswold stone, it gives the feeling of being the focus of town life over many centuries. At nearly 800ft, Stow-on-the-Wold is the highest of the Cotswold towns, approached uphill from all directions.

• Toy museum (town centre)
• Birdland
• Cotswold Motoring Musuem and Toy Collection
• Cotswold Pottery
• Model Railway Exhibition
• Model Village
• Dragonfly Maze

Tourist Information Centre
Hollis House, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold Glos.
Tel: +44(0) 1451 831082

Nearest Rail Station: Moreton in marsh
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cheltenham

Set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the river Avon, Stratford is a market town dating back to medieval times. Stratford is today most famous as the birthplace of the Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare.
It also has much to offer the gourmet, with a wide variety of well-priced restaurants and bars offering local and international cuisine. The Royal Shakespeare Company has three uniquely different theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Attractions within 5miles

• Shakespeare's Birthplace
• Hall's Croft
• Anne Hathaway's Cottage
• Nash's House / New Place
• Mary Arden's House
• Three Royal Shakespeare Company theatres
• The Gallery (contemporary art gallery)
• Warwick Castle (15 miles)

Tourist Information Centre
Stratford-upon-Avon Tourist Information Centre
Bridgefoot, Stratford-upon-Avon,
Warwickshire, CV37 6GW
Tel: +44 (0) 870 160 7930

Nearest Rail Station:Stratford-upon-Avon
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Stratford

Built on steep slopes at the junction of five valleys, this busy market town has retained considerable character despite the industrialisation in the late 18th and 19th centuries. At the height of its prosperity there were at least 150 cloth mills in the valleys centred upon Stroud. Many light industries have replaced most of these, and Stroud and its surrounding area continues to thrive, and is a centre for artists and crafts people.

• Museum in the Park
• Gloucestershire Guild Gallery
• Woodchester Mansion
• Painswick Rococo Garden

Tourist Information Centre
Stroud Tourist Information Centre,
Subscription rooms, Stroud, GL5 1AE
Tel: 01453 760960

Nearest Rail Station:Stroud
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Stroud

The Market House in the centre of Tetbury is an immediate reminder of the history of the town. Built in 1655 and supported on three rows of bulging stone pillars, it was designed for the sale of wool and yarn, and still has a market use today. These days the small marketplace is still the focal point of Tetbury, which is today more well known for its antique shops. A walk down the old Chipping Steps and round into Gumstool Hill will reveal another part of Tetbury's history, with 17th century weaver’s cottages.

• Westonbirt Arboretum, 4 miles

Tourist Information Centre
33 Church Street, Tetbury
T +44 (0) 1666 503552

Nearest Rail Station:Kemble (approx 12 miles)
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cirencester

Tewkesbury lies at the heart of the Severn Vale, where the River Severn meets the Avon. This delightful medieval town is steeped in history, with its narrow alleyways, black and white timber framed buildings and the beautiful 12th century abbey, which dominates the town. Annual events include the Food and Drink Festival and the Spring Arts Festival.

• Tewkesbury Abbey
• John Moore Countryside Museum
• Tewkesbury Museum
• Old Baptist Chapel, Tewkesbury
• River Cruises
• Odda’s Chapel, Deerhurst

Tourist Information Centre
The Museum, 64 Barton Street, Tewkesbury,
Gloucestershire, UK GL20 5PX
T +44 1684 295027

Nearest Rail Station:Ashchurch for Tewkesbury
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cheltenham

The Slaughters
Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter share a fascinating name, which derives from "miry place" which it certainly is not now! The link (and the fascination) is the tiny River Eye that links the two small villages. Lower Slaughter is just off the Roman Fosse Way and a wonderfully conserved typical Cotswold village, with a Water Mill and ducks on the stream - a wander alongside the stream seems like a privilege. Upper Slaughter is equally attractive with old cottages and farmhouses, and a Manor House now a hotel. Visit the Easy walking section of the website for details of a guided walk from Upper to Lower Slaughter.

• Old Mill and Gift shop
• Walk between the two Slaughters
• Model Village
• Cotswold Motoring Museum
• Birdland
• Dragonfly Maze
• Model Railway Exhibition

Tourist Information Centre
Bourton-on-the-Water Tourist Information Centre
Victoria Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, GL54 2BU
Tel: +44 (0) 1451 820211

Nearest Rail Station: Moreton in Marsh
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Cheltenham

Woodstock is closely linked with Blenheim Palace on its doorstep. The landscaped parkland of the Palace estate comes right up to the edge of the town. Woodstock, with a Georgian flavour readily apparent in the streets and houses of the town centre, has its market place tucked off the main Oxford to Stratford-upon-Avon road, making it both an accessible and charming base from which to tour the region.

• The Blenheim Palace
• Oxfordshire Museum

Tourist Information Centre
Woodstock Visitor Information Centre,
within The Oxfordshire Museum,
Park Street, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1SN.
Tel: 01993 813276

Nearest Rail Station: Hanborough
Nearest Scheduled Coach Service: Oxford

Cotswolds Historic Places to Visit

Berkeley Castle Open April to September
Berkeley Castle is one of the March Castles, built to keep out the Welsh, and has all the trappings to match: trip steps designed to make the enemy stumble during an assault, arrow slits, murder holes, enormous barred doors, slots where the portcullis once fell, and worn stones where sentries stood guard. It is also a fairytale Castle with its warm pink stone that glows in soft sunset light. Outside, the battlements drop some 60' to the Great Lawn below; but inside the Inner Courtyard, the building is on a human scale, with uneven battlements, small towers, doors and windows of every shape and size. The surrounding land would have been flooded for defence.

Blenheim PalaceOpen March to end October.
Home of the Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. This magnificent palace is located on the outskirts of the small town of Woodstock on the A44 road approximately 20 minutes from Oxford. Designated a World Heritage site - one of the great buildings of the World with a superb art collection. Extensive 'Capability' Brown landscaped Park. The Marlborough Maze - the worlds largest symbolic hedge maze. Allow at least a good half day for visiting. History of Blenheim Palace.

For Accommodation near Blenheim Palace see Woodstock.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PX, England

Broadway Tower 10.30am-5.00pm daily (April-October) 11.00am -3.00pm Saturday and Sunday Opening times may vary according to weather conditions
Broadway Tower is one of England’s outstanding viewpoints and, at 1024 feet (312m) above sea level, it is the second highest point on the Cotswold Ridge.

Built in 1799, it is a perfect example of an eighteenth century Gothic folly from which it is possible to survey an area which includes as many as thirteen counties.

The views encompass the Vales of Evesham and Gloucester and on a clear day you may also see across the Severn Valley and as far as the Welsh Mountains.

Today, the Tower houses fascinating exhibitions connected with its past and the surrounding area. Noteable occupants include Sir Thomas Phillips, renowned printer of his time and Pre-Raphaelite artists including designer, writer and craftsman William Morris, who used the Tower as a country retreat.

The Morris Room is furnished with some of his more famous designs.

Broadway Tower, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7LB
Tel: 01386 852390 Fax: 01386 858038

Broughton Castle Open 30 April to 15 September
“About the most beautiful castle in all England ... for sheer loveliness of the combination of water, woods and picturesque buildings.”

A generous tribute from historian Sir Charles Oman in 1898, and one continued by the noted diarist James Lees-Milne in a 1989 - "It is still the most romantic house imaginable. English to the core, as Henry James says. ... Perfection, what with moat, gatehouse, church, and gorgeous orange and buff stone". A more recent accolade came in 2003 in England's Thousand Best Houses by Sir Simon Jenkins. The author gives only twenty of the thousand houses five stars - and Broughton Castle is proud to be one of them.

Buscot Park Limited Opening - April to September National Trust
Neo-classical mansion with fine art and furniture collection, set in landscaped grounds
Fine artwork from the Renaissance to Pre-Raphaelite era
Restful Italianate water garden
Explore the walled garden and grounds on lovely avenue walks
Administered on behalf of the National Trust by Lord Faringdon
Limited opening times
NB: This property is administered on behalf of the National Trust by Lord Faringdon, and the contents of the house are owned by The Faringdon Collection Trust

Charlecote Park Open 24 March to 4 November National Trust
The House is the home of the Lucy family, begun in 1551 and situated next to the river Avon in the heart of an ancient deer-park with views to Stratford-upon-Avon a few miles away. Capability Brown landscaped the grounds and Queen Elizabeth I stayed. Shakespeare poached deer here. A beautiful house and well worth a visit. Located 5 miles east of Stratford and 6 miles south of Warwick on the north side of the B4086.

For Accommodation near Charlecote Park see Stratford-upon-Avon, Mickleton and Banbury.

Charlecote Park, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV35 9ER, England

Chastelton House Open 4 Apr to 3 Nov
Chastleton House is one of England's finest and most complete Jacobean houses and competed in 1612. The same family occupied the house for nearly 400 years with little or no modernisation taking place. The rules for the game of Croquet were written here. Since aquiring the property the National Trust has concentrated on conserving it rather than restoring it to pristine condition. Located near the village of Chastleton a few miles from Moreton-in-Marsh off the A44.

Chedworth Roman Villa Open March to October
The remains of one of the largest Roman Villas in the country and set in a wooded Cotswold Combe. Over 1 mile of walls survive and there are several fine mosaics, two bathhouses, hypocausts, a water-shrine and latrine.

Excavated in 1864, the site still has a victorian feel to it and the site museum houses objects from the villa. A 15 minute audiovisual presentation gives visitors an insight into the history of this fascinating place.

Corinium Museum Open all year.
The dominant theme of this nationally important museum located in Cirencester is life in Roman Britain with displays arranged in chronological sequence through Cotswold history from Prehistory to the English Civil War. The Corinium Museum houses one of the finest collections of antiquities from Roman times which come alive using full-scale reconstructions to re-create life in Corinium, second largest town in Roman Britain.

Coughton Court Open 17 March to 28October
One of the great Tudor Houses, Coughton Court has been the home of the Throckmorton family since 1409. It has important associations with the Gunpowder Plot, about which there is an exibition and also much activity in the Civil War. The house has fine collections of furniture, porcelain, and paintings. The grounds contain two churches, a lake, riverside walk, formal walled garden, and bog garden.
Located near Alcester about 20 minutes by car from Broadway.

Farnborough Hall Open April to September
This beautiful honey-coloured house, home of the Holbech family for over 300 years, was richly decorated in the mid-18th century. The interior plasterwork is some of the finest in the country. A superb landscaped garden of the 1740s remains largely unchanged, containing a broad terrace ornamented with temples.

Great Coxwell Barn Website: National Trust
Open All Year
The Great Barn in Great Coxwell village is the sole surviving part of a thriving 13th-century grange that once provided vital income to Beaulieu Abbey.

It is an impressive reminder of the skills of Gothic carpenters and the wealth and influence of the great monastic orders. William Morris, one of the Barn's most ardent admirers, called it 'unapproachable in its dignity'.

The Barn was built of Cotswold rubble-stone walling, with a Cotswold slate roof. There are several slit windows and on the outside are small, square putlog holes in which mason's poles were placed during construction.

Great Coxwell Barn, Great Coxwell, Faringdon, Oxfordshire

Gloucester Cathedral Open all year
Described as Northern Europe's sixth most beautiful building by John Betjamin. Located in the heart of Gloucester city, the architecture varies from the Norman nave with its massive columns to examples of Romanesque and early perpendicular. Other features include the glazed fan-vaulted cloisters, the monks' lavatorium, the medieval glass of the great east window and the tombs of King Edward II and Robert Duke of Normandy.

The cathedral was the scene of the only coronation to a monarch outside of London to Edward II. Also you will find a Whispering Gallery. Located in the centre of Gloucester city.

Hailes Abbey
Richard Earl of Cornwall (brother of Henry III) was in danger of shipwreck and to thank God for his safe delivery, he built a Cistercian Abbey at Hailes. The abbey was founded in 1246. Cistercians always built their abbeys well away from towns (e.g. Fountains, Rievaulx, Tintern etc). Isabel Countess of Gloucester, the widow of Gilbert de Clare, Lord of the Manor of Tewkesbury, had married Richard after a period of mourning for Gilbert. It was a disastrous marriage, and when she died Richard tore her heart out and sent it to the Abbot of Tewkesbury, telling him to bury it at Tewkesbury as it had always been there. It is buried in Gilbert's grave in the presbytery of Tewkesbury Abbey. The remainder of Isabel's body was buried in Beaulieu Abbey.

Richard donated a phial of the Holy Grail to Hailes Abbey. It attracted huge crowds of pilgrims and the abbey became very rich, but the phial was analysed after the Dissolution and it was found to contain duck's blood. The abbey was closed by Henry VIII on Christmas Eve 1539, and its ruins are now maintained by the National Trust.

For other Places to Stay nearby see Broadway and Winchcombe.

Hailes Church Open all year
Hailes Church was built in 1130. On the walls are the remains of murals dating from 1300, and a fine St. Cecilia on the Chancel window jamb, dating from 1290. The rood screen is medieval, and the pulpit is Jacobean. This is one of the original 3-decker pulpits, where the Rector would have gone up to the top deck to preach, so that he could look over the sides of the box pews and see his congregation. The Commonwealth arrangement in the Chancel is still retained, with the oak-panelled seats and the Puritanized style of altar, as the seventeenth century table stands on the original altar stones. The Church is located next to Hailes Abbey.

Holst Birthplace Museum Open all year
Regency terrace house where the composer Gustav Holst of 'The Planets' was born in 1874. The museum shows the 'upstairs downstairs' life of Victorian times and includes a working kitchen, elegant drawing room and nursery aswell as Holst's piano and the story of his life and music. Located at 4, Clarence Road, Cheltenham.

Kelmscott Manor
Kelmscott Manor, a grade 1 Listed Tudor farmhouse adjacent to the River Thames, was built in 1570, with an additional wing added to the northeast corner in about 1665. The Manor is built of local limestone on the edge of the village of Kelmscott near Lechlade.

William Morris chose it as his summer home, signing a joint lease with the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the summer of 1871. Morris loved the house as a work of true craftsmanship, totally unspoilt and unaltered, and in harmony with the village and the surrounding countryside. He considered it so natural in its setting as to be almost organic, it looked to him as if it had "grown up out of the soil"; and with "quaint garrets amongst great timbers of the roof where of old times the tillers and herdsmen slept". Location Swindon 16 miles and Oxford 18 miles.

Lodge Park & Sherborne Estate Website: National Trust
Situated on the picturesque Sherborne Estate in the Cotswolds, Lodge Park was created in 1634 by John 'Crump' Dutton. Inspired by his passion for gambling and banqueting, it is a unique survival of what would have been called a grandstand, with its deer course and park. It was the home of Charles Dutton, 7th Lord Sherborne, until 1983 when he bequeathed his family's estate to the National Trust.

The Sherborne Estate is 1,650 hectares (4,000 acres) of rolling countryside with views down to the River Windrush. Much of the village of Sherborne is owned by the Trust, including the post office and shop, school and social club. There are walks for all ages around the estate, which includes the restored and working water meadows.

Longleat House

Longleat has worked hard to create a reputation as a major family attraction, with a plethora of theme park activities and the world-famous safari park, but at its core the estate still revolves around the superb Elizabethan country house.The grand front facade of Longleat from the drive The symmetrical three-story house was built by Sir John Thynne, who employed Robert Smythson (also responsible for Hardwick Hall) and French architect Allan Maynard. The house stands as a splendid focal point in the 900 acres ofparkland landscaped by Capability Brown. Thynne finished his grand home in 1580, shortly before his death. Though the exterior maintains its exquisite Tudor facade, the interior has been much altered to follow the changing dictates of comfort and fashion. The great hall still boasts its Tudor hammerbeam roof and carved fireplace, but the rest of the furnishings are Victorian. Much of the interior decoration is in opulent Italian style, modeled after estates in Venice and Genoa. There are superb Flemish tapestries, but the collection of fine period furniture is even better. Fine art dating as far back as the 16th century hangs in gilded splendour on the lavishly decorated walls. The original long gallery (90 feet long) has been converted into a saloon. The rear of the house, with gardens in the foreground Family portraits in the great hall trace the Thynne family back to Tudor times, and more modern murals by the 7th Marquis are on display in the West Wing.

Malmesbury Abbey in the market town of Malmesbury was founded in the 7th-century as a Benedictine Monastry by Aldhelm, a nephew of King Ina of Wessex. The Abbey was once a major European centre of scholarship and learning. The present building, now about a third of its original size, was consecrated in about 1180 AD. At the Dissolution of the Monastries by King Henry VIII (1539), it was sold with all its lands to William Stumpe, a local wealthy clothier, for just over £1500. Today the Abbey is the Parish Church and dedicated to St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Adhelm and to St. Mary. The Abbey was an important centre for pilgrimage because it is the burial place of St. Aldhelm (first Abbot) and King Athelstan. The Abbey House gardens are especially enchanting and are one of the most beautiful in England.

Newark Park
This unusual and atmospheric property was built c.1550 as a Tudor hunting lodge and added to in the 1790s, later converted into a fashionable Georgian home; the house is lived in and has been furnished by the present tenant. Set in 5½ha (14 acres) of wild, romantic garden surrounded by 300ha (700 acres) of unspoilt countryside. It stands high on the edge of a 40ft cliff with outstanding views.

Open-air theatre production.

Newark Park, Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire GL12 7PZ

Owlpen Manor
A romantic Tudor manor house near Tetbury was first built in 1450 standing in it's own valley under the edge of the Cotswolds with Queen Anne terraced yew garden with medieval outbuildings. Beautiful walks. Has been descibed as the most 'lovliest in place in England', 'the epitome of Romance', 'an ensemble that is truly out of this world'.

Location 1 mile east of Uley off B4066. 3miles from Tetbury and 3 miles from M5.

Prinknash Abbey
Prinknash is not only an Abbey in which some seventeen monks live but a whole complex of buildings spread over an estate of 300 acres. These spacious acres contain the dominating new Abbey, the Pottery, the Workshops, Saint Peter's Grange the old Abbey which is now a Retreat and Conference Centre, the Farm, the houses for the tennants, the Bird Park, and the facilities for the recreation and refreshment for over 100,000 visitors each year.

It is a friendly association of Monks and Laity who work in partnership to form a living Community for the benefit of all.

We hope that you will enjoy browsing over these pages and that one day you will visit us to experience the Peace and Tranquility of our unique surroundings.

RODMARTON MANOR Open: 2nd May - 29th September
Rodmarton Manor is the supreme example of a house built and all its furniture made according to Arts and Crafts ideals and was one of the last country houses to be built and furnished in the old traditional style when everything was done by hand with local stone, local timber and local craftsmen.

Ernest Barnsley and the Cotswold group of Craftsmen, who built and furnished the house for Claud and Margaret Biddulph, beginning in 1909, were responsible for the revival of many traditional crafts in the Cotswolds which were in danger of dying out. Over the 20 years that it took to build the house many people were involved in building, woodwork, metalwork, needlework, painting, gardening, all done to a very high standard. Most of the furniture was made specially for the house, either in the Rodmarton workshops, or made by Sidney Barnsley, Edward Barnsley or Peter Waals. Some furniture was bought after the house was built but all pieces are directly or indirectly attributable to the original craftsmen or people who had connections with them such as Harry Davoll, Owen Scrubey, Oliver Morel. There is furniture and pottery painted by Alfred and Louise Powell, applique wall hangings designed by Hilda Benjamin (Sexton), leadwork and brass designed by Norman Jewson, and ironwork by Fred and Frank Baldwin and Alfred Bucknell.

Rodmarton Manor, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6PF Tel: 01285 841253

Rollright Stones Open all year
There are many prehistoric remains in the Cotswolds but the most impressive is probably the Rollright stones. Situated high on an exposed ridge, this is England's third most important stone circle after Stonehenge and Avebury and is thought to be about 3500 years old. There are many legends and superstitions associated with the stones, which are made even more atmospheric by their bleak and elevated position. Located off the A44 between.

Roman Baths
After invading Britain in AD 43 the Romans investigated the steaming swampy spot in the Avon valley that was so revered by the locals. With Roman efficiency and engineering ingenuity, in the space of 30-40 years they had drained the Marsh, contained the water, and built a temple and Britain's first health hydro for restorative and pleasurable purposes.

Bath owes its origin and ultimately its name to the springs which produce about five hundred thousand gallons of water a day at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. During the first century the Romans turned this backward village into a fashionable spa dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, from which the city took its Roman name: Aquae Sulis. Near the hot spring which feeds the baths there was a temple dedicated to Sulis Minerva where pilgrims came to pray to that goddess when seeking cures, before bathing in the sacred waters.

Rousham Park House and Garden
Steeple Aston Bicester Oxfordshire OX25 4QX Tel: +44 (0)1869 347 110

Nearest Train Station: Heyford
Local Tourist Information: +44 (0)1993 813276 (Woodstock)

The house, built in 1635 by Sir Robert Dormer, is still in the ownership of the same family. Kent added the wings and the stable block. The south front is almost as Kent left it, but for the replacement of the octagonal glazing with plain glass. This was unfortunately carried out by the architect St. Aubyn when he added the north side of the house in 1876. Kent made alterations to the interior of the house, which retains some 17th century panelling and the original staircases, furniture, pictures and bronzes.

Don't miss the walled garden with its herbacious borders, small parterre, pigeon house and espalier apple trees. A fine herd of rare Long-Horn cattle are to be seen in the park. Rousham is uncommercial and unspoilt with no tea room and no shop. Bring a picnic, wear comfortable shoes and it is yours for the day.
Rousham House Nr Bicester

Shakespeare's Home Open all year.
Shakespear's birthplace and exibition at Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon. Mary Arden's house (mother) is at Wilmcote, 3 miles from Stratford. Ann Hatheway's (wife) cottage is at Shottery, 1 mile from Stratford. Susanna's (daughter) house is Hall's Croft located in the old part of Stratford. Nash's House (grand-daughter) and New Place (next door) where Shakespeare spent his last years are located on Chapel Street. Shakespeare is laid to rest in the Holy Trinity church in Stratford.

Snowshill Manor Open 31 March to 4 November
A Cotswold manor house a mile out of Broadway containing Charles Paget Wade's extaordinary collection of craftsmanship and design, including musical instruments, clocks, toys, bicycles, weavers and spinners tools and Japanese armour. The grounds contain a beautiful 'cottage garden'.

Located in the village of Snowshill, 5 minutes by car from Broadway.

Stanway House House and Fountain open July to September Tuesday and Thursdays 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
Fountain and gardens only Saturday 2.00pm to 5.00pm. Dogs on leads ok.

A Superb Elizabethan House and Related Manorial Buildings Stanway house is located near the village of Stanton in the small hamlet of Stanway. It is an outstanding example of an English Jacobethan manor house; built of mellow Cotswold limestone between 1580 and 1640 by the Tracy's of Stanway. It is a unique experience visiting this house because of the friendliness of the resident Lord and Lady Neidpath, who you may meet, and the intimacy of the closeness of their possessions on your walkabout.

The ancient manor of Stanway in the Cotswolds was presented to Tewkesbury Abbey in the year 715 by two Mercian leaders Odo and Dodo. It was the first and only remote property owned by the Abbey until the 12th century when land was acquired in Dorset. Stanway supported four monks.

In 1533 Richard Tracy, the younger son of Sir William Tracy of Toddington obtained the lease of the manor from Abbot Segar. Richard is known to have led the commission that dissolved Hailes Abbey and it was around this time that he was able to purchase the freehold to Stanway. It was his son Paul who rebuilt the house incorporating some of the early Tudor house in it. This work started in about 1580. Paul Tracy was created Baronet in 1611 and died in 1620. His son, Sir Richard Tracy, continued building and it was he who had the magnificent gatehouse erected in 1630. He died however in 1637. The house was completed around 1640 by Sir Paul’s grandson Sir Humphrey Tracy. Sir Humphrey supported the King during the Civil War and for this he had to pay heavily in compensation to stop his property being confiscated. He died in 1651 without issue so the title and property was inherited by his brother Richard who also died without issue in 1666 with everything passing to the younger brother John. When Sir John died in 1677 the Stanway line came to an end and the property passed to Ferdinando Tracy the second son John 3rd Viscount Tracy of Toddington.

The Tracy line continued at Stanway until 1817 when it was inherited by Francis Charteris the 8th Earl of Wemyss and 4th Earl of March the son of Francis Charteris and his wife Susan (nee Tracy-Keck) who was the great granddaughter of Ferdinando Tracy. The present resident is Lord Neidpath a direct descendant of Francis Charteris. Thus the property remained in the same family for over 450 years.

The house is built of soft mellow yellow stone under a stone roof. The gabled west front is the Elizabethan and oldest part of the house and includes the hall. The great hall is extraordinarily light and airy having an enormous full height bay window and further bays at the south end. Manorial courts were held here up until about 1800 and the raised dais at one end is still in place. The south front is from the Stuart period and contains all the principal rooms. A short flight of stairs leads from the hall into the drawing room in which are a pair of unique ‘Chinese Chippendale’ day beds from about 1760 which came from the Wemyss seat at Amisfield House in East Lothian, Scotland. Further along is the ‘Elcho’ Lobby followed by ascending stairs to the library passage from which an oak staircase leads to the upper storey. Off the passage is the old library, which has only one window and is the warmest room in the house in the winter. At the end of the passage is the ‘Elcho’ sitting room, very comfortable and lived in. The other wings have been demolished leaving the house with an ‘L’ plan.

In the garden, up the hill to the rear is a canal above that is a pyramid built by Robert Tracy in 1750 honouring his father John Tracy who died in 1735. A cascade, which has been restored over the last few years, runs from here to the canal where a 70ft fountain spouts into the air.

The gatehouse is a gem, one of the best pieces of architecture in the Cotswolds. It was built for Sir Richard Tracy in 1630. It is unusually positioned at right angles to the house, presumably because the church was in the way in front of the house. The lodges, either side of the gateway, have narrow bay widows and the whole is topped by shaped gables crowned with Tracy scallop shells. The archway has fluted columns either side. It is a very attractive building.

The tithe barn is medieval built around 1370 for Tewkesbury Abbey. It has a stone roof supported by massive base cruck timbers. Apart from the main entrances it has a small 13th century stone doorway. It is a fine building and is now used for events and as a theatre.The church of St. Peter is basically 12th century but was drastically over-restored by the Victorians.This group of buildings make a superb sight in their idyllic setting.

Located 7 minutes by car from Broadway in the village of Stanway next to the village of Stanton.

Sudeley Castle & Gardens Open 31 March to 28 October
Once the property of King Ethelred the Unready, later home of Queen Katherine Parr and garrison headquarters of Prince Rupert during the Civil War. The castle houses an impressive collection of furniture and paintings. Surrounded by magnificent award-winning gardens. Located in Winchcombe off the B4632.

Sulgrave Manor
The compact Manor House - not a demanding marathon down endless corridors but a gentle stroll through three centuries of English history in the company of a friendly and informative guide.

Our wonderful Tudor to Georgian furniture and artefacts, displayed in their natural settings with only the most delicate behind glass. The largest UK collection of George Washington memorabilia demonstrating the British contribution to the origins of the USA with a separate exhibition on George's life and career in the United States. Our additional facilities, a buttery at which to refresh yourself with good fare, a shop from which to take away some souvenirs, picnic areas, a pleasant garden to stroll through and the National Garden of the Herb Society

Sulgrave Manor, Manor Road, Sulgrave, Nr. Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX17 2SD
United Kingdom. +44 (0)1295 760205

Upton House and Gardens
One of the National Trust's most important art collections can be found in this house, built in 1695 of mellow local stone, purchased and remodelled in 1927–29 by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted, who was Chairman of Shell, 1921–46, and son of the company's founder. Upton contains his outstanding collection of English and continental Old Master paintings over three floors, including works by Hogarth, Stubbs, Romney, Canaletto, Brueghel and El Greco; Brussels tapestries; French Sèvres porcelain; Chelsea and Derby figures and 18th-century furniture.

The garden is very fine, with lawns, terraces, orchard, herbaceous borders, kitchen garden, ornamental pools and an interesting 1930s water garden, together with the National Collection of Asters.

Upton House near Banbury, Warwickshire OX15 6HT
Telephone: 01295 670266

Warwick Castle Open All Year
Ancestral home of the Earls of Warwick and the 'King Maker'. Warwick Castle is the finest medieval castle in England dating back to the days of William the Conquerer and it brings to life 1000 years of history. Many attractions including periodic displays of swordmanship, jousting, and birds of prey.
Allow a full day for visiting. Located in the centre of the City of Warwick.

Woodchester Park Website: National Trust
 Woodchester Park is a beautiful, secluded valley near Stroud in the Cotswolds.

The valley contains the remains of an 18th- and 19th-century landscape park, a mansion and a chain of five lakes fringed by woodland and pasture. Much of the valley is wooded with paths criss-crossing the valley sides, offering unexpected and spectacular views of the valley and mansion.

Most of Woodchester Park is owned by the National Trust, who bought it in 1994, to protect and preserve its unique landscape. The Mansion and its immediate surroundings are owned by Stroud District Council and leased to the Woodchester Mansion Trust.

Woodchester Park, Stonehouse, Nympsfield, nr Stroud, Gloucestershire GL10 3TS

Worcester Cathedral Open all year
Worcester Cathedral was the home of a thriving community of monks from AD961 for nearly 600 years. They followed the Rule of St. Benedict, in common with the monastries in many parts of Europe. These religious houses kept alive not only the faith but also the tradition of classical learning during the Dark Ages which followed the collapse of the Roman Empire. King John is entombed here. Located in the centre of the city of Worcester.

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