The Cotswolds is beautiful, picturesque and unspoiled. It lies in the South of England, surrounded by rolling hills and woodlands. Its scenery is like that off a postcard.
Designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty in 1966, it is also referred to by many as the ‘Heart of England.’
The Cotswolds is visited by a huge number of tourists each year, being the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the crazy city life. The Cotswolds tiny market towns and villages are a great way to unwind and relax with the family. Besides these towns and villages there are many other tourist attractions like parks, museums and historic sites to explore.
The predominant building material in the area is the local limestone which is quarried in the area. It is what gives the buildings in the Cotswolds their beautiful, rich golden colour.
Dating back to the middle ages, the area became prosperous from the wool trade and the local sheep ‘The Cotswold Lion’ once provided cloth for half of England. Today, agriculture along with tourism, remain the biggest economy.
Two of the most famous and most visited towns are Stow on the Wolds and Shipston on Stour.
Stow on the Wolds is a famous market town that lies on a 700ft high hill. The town has been a witnessing spot for many battles and skirmishes as it lies right at the convergence of a lot of the famous roads in the Cotswolds.
This pretty little town is the host to many annual fairs and festivals. The town centre of Stow is also home to a market selling many kind of goods, including local handicrafts.
Another must see is Stow church. It boasts beautiful architecture and is a resting place for many civil war heroes. The church was also once used as a prison.
A good stop on the history trail is Royalist Bill. It is said to be around 1000 years old and thought to be England’s oldest inn. The toy collection museum is also another history buffs delight. The museum features toys from the Victorian and Edwardian era.
Shipston on Stour is a picturesque town on the river Stour. Back in ancient times this town was a popular sheep market, hence the name coming from when the town was known as ‘Sheep-wash-town.’
A place of interest is The Church of English Parish of Saint Edmund. It is a remarkable 15th century building with many stunning features. The small town boasts charming architecture and a wonderful mix of shops, restaurants, pubs and hotels. Other places of interest nearby are Chipping Campden, Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh.
Blenheim Palace and gardens is also a must see in Oxfordshire. It was the birth place to Sir Winston Churchill and now a World Heritage site.
A brewery tour is a great day out with refreshing local beers to taste at the end. Some of the brewery’s still deliver beer to pubs by traditional horse-drawn dray.
Sudeley Castle is one of the many castles to visit and probably the most famous. It has royal connections stretching back over 1000 years and is now still a family home. The castle is surrounded by award winning gardens and inside it contains many fascinating treasures from Roman times.
It is also the only still lived in castle in England to have a Queen buried in its grounds. Her name was Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives.
So to answer the question ‘what is so good about the Cotswolds?’ The answer is everything. There is so much to see and do; one trip may not be enough. It is a place to discover, explore and relax and to go back to again and again.
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