Sample the simple pleasures of country living when you book hotels in the Cotswolds...
With so much visual appeal and so many things to do spread over no less than six counties, it's no wonder the Cotswolds have become a byword for idyllic English holidays. These villages are also surrounded with everything from antiques fairs to folk festivals like WOMAD in the summer months, as well as famous events like the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, so it's a good idea to reserve your accommodation ahead of time.
Stay in unique and traditional Cotswolds hotels for a tasty slice of rural life...
With tranquil spots like Stow, Moreton in the Marsh, Bibury, Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water and Broadway to choose from, there's plenty of character to be found on holiday here.
Chain hotels may be limited in this most rural of areas, but this is because every B&B and hotel in the Cotswolds is individual, often housed in traditional stone and barn buildings. Rent a self-catered cottage or apartment here and it's a similar story. Besides the accommodation, there are excellent family activities in the Cotswolds, such as petting farms and lots of opportunities to go hiking, biking and wildlife-spotting.
A break in these characterful hills can be as relaxed or as energetic as you like. Choose where to base yourself depending on what you want to see. For example, if you're on a leisurely tour of the beautiful churches in the area, you might want to stay in one of the guest houses in Elkstone, which is near to the site of the highest of them all, the Norman church of St John's. Alternatively, for one of the most romantic streets in Britain, stay in Lower or Upper Slaughter in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.
The quaint sights of Bourton-on-the-Water continue to draw most visitors in the region, with its low stone bridges and winding river giving it the name 'Little Venice of the Cotswolds'. Kids will be impressed by the wealth of exotic species and seven acres of wooded park at Birdland. You can also stay right in the heart of the village with any of the B&Bs or hotels that line the main street and riverbanks.
Make the most of the proximity to the Roman Baths and elegant Georgian buildings of Bath Spa and stay in villages like Castle Coombe or the grand hotels of Bath itself. The peaceful village of Broadway is also only a short distance from attractions such as Warwick Castle or nearby Stratford-upon-Avon, the historic home of Shakespeare. Those travelling to Winston Churchill's birthplace of Blenheim Palace might find Cotswolds hotels to their liking, especially around Oxfordshire market towns like Burford, which features the Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The best bits of the Cotswolds are easily found when exploring this glorious, bucolic landscape...
It's the villages and landmarks that are the highlights of the Cotswolds.
Top five attractions
One of the finest villages in the Cotswolds, Broadway's charms lie in its historic houses, welcoming pubs, riverside walks and pretty-as-a-picture street scenes.
A centuries-old castle near Winchcombe and the final resting place of Catherine Parr, the sixth (and final) wife of Henry VIII, this castle welcomes visitors between spring and early winter.
Featuring one of the most graceful High Streets in Britain, the market town of Chipping Camden has plenty to captivate visitors and can be over-run with day-trippers in summer. Hidcote Manor is close by.
Bourton on the Water
Another picture-perfect village, the series of bridges that span the lazy flow of the River Windrush make this scene extra special.
England's national arboretum, here you can walk and play among thousands of trees - there are nearly 15,000 of more than 2,000 types. The venue also hosts regular outdoor music events during summer.
A variety of annual events lure visitors to the Cotswolds...
From the sporting to the utterly surreal, find out what's on when with our handy guide to events in the Cotswolds.
Cheltenham Festival; March: One of the biggest events on England's horse-racing calendar, the Gold Cup is the pinnacle of this four-day spectacle. Hotels will be especially busy in Cheltenham during this time.
William Shakespeare's birthday celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon; April: Sitting on the upper reaches of the Cotswolds, Stratford is a popular place to visit at any time, though the bard's birthday is a joyous occasion filled with celebrations of the playwright's life and works. Book your hotel rooms early if you plan to extend your visit.
The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake; May: This wacky, traditional event involves villagers from Brockworth, plus national and international visitors, chasing a rolling cheese down a hill, with the victor (the one that makes it to the bottom of the hill first or catches the cheese) claiming the delicious and hefty treat. Safety concerns have seen the cheese replaced by a foam replica from 2013.