Where to Stay in the Cotswolds: Take Your Pick
Whether you want some chocolate-box charm or a gourmet hotspot, here's our guide to the charming villages of the Cotswolds.
Stretching across the counties of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Somerset, the Cotswolds is a popular choice for staycations all year round. Is it any surprise? With character, charm and cosy thatched cottages on every cobbled corner, this area of outstanding natural beauty delivers in spades. But with so many villages worth visiting, how does one whittle down the competition? Luckily, Plum Guide has done the hard work for you; so, whether you’re looking to switch off or strap on the walking boots and explore, here’s our expert advice on where to stay in the Cotswolds.
It’s no secret that foodies flock to Kingham – and with good reason, too. The town is a haven of gourmet hotspots, whether you’re looking for virtuous salads and detox juices a la Daylesford or hearty British fare and a large glass of Merlot at The Wild Rabbit (tough call, we know…). Each August Bank Holiday, the town plays host to The Big Feastival, where you can find live music and street food courtesy of the country’s finest chefs and musicians. Fret not, this is the Cotswolds, so there’s always the opportunity for a long walk through the countryside to undo the damage of a weekend’s over-indulgence (before looping back to the pub for a pint, that is).
Sure, it may not have the chocolate-box charm of Burford or Tetbury, but when it comes to year-round cultural events, Cheltenham is the place to visit – and that’s not just when the jockeys come calling. The season kicks off with Cheltenham Festival, then swiftly sashays into jazz in May, music in July and literature in October. To be honest, we prefer paying the Regency town a visit when the hordes have gone, but there’s a lot of fun to be had when the festivities are in full swing, too.
Long-favoured by the rich and famous (Kate Moss, Liz Hurley and Kate Winslet all call this riverside town home), Burford is the perfect introduction to luxurious Cotswolds living. Just a short sojourn from central London means that Burford is a popular choice for weekend staycations, too, and there are plenty of Plum Guide rentals to choose from in the area. Whilst in town, be sure to check out nearby Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s old stomping ground and a pretty impressive one at that), whilst greenfingered-types can get their fix at the famed Burford Garden Company.
Looking for prime pottering territory when deciding on where to stay in the Cotswolds? Tetbury is it. Alliteration aside (no, seriously), this small market town has big appeal for weekend trips, thanks to its charming ancient centre full of independent antique shops, bookstores, bakeries, and cottages that look like they stepped straight off a fudge packet. Fancy HRH-approved shopping? Stop by Highgrove Shop (the store of Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate, just two miles south of the centre), where you’ll find enough posh pickles and preserves to last until your next royal visit.
If you close your eyes and picture the Cotswolds as seen on screen, it’s likely to be a bucolic scene from Bourton-on-the-Water that comes to mind. Hands down the prettiest village in the Cotswolds (and trust us, that’s not without some fierce competition), this village is great when wondering where to stay in the Cotswolds with children. Most of the riverfront cottages have been converted into quirky cafés and boutiques, where you can peruse local art and pick up a sticky cinnamon-laced bun from the Bakery on the Water – if you know what's good for you, that is.
If rest and relaxation fall high on the list of priorities when it comes to choosing where to stay in the Cotswolds, then you’ve come to the right place. Although it’s just a short drive from Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter seems worlds away from the tourist buzz – and it’s all the better for it. Naturally, there’s fewer pubs to choose from, but the real appeal lies in the peace and quiet of the place. It’s worthwhile taking in the views from Lower to Upper Slaughter, which follows the River Eye and is part of the 14-mile Wardens’ Way trail past honey-hued cottages and unspoilt countryside.