Having settled in to your accommodation, we recommend our short walk around historic Kingham (Oxfordshire) or Winchcome (Gloucestershire) dining at your chosen restaurant. Our route guides you around the best of the village, explaining something of its history and highlighting its important features.
We include a short taxi ride to delightful Cornwell, a village admired for its manor house and secret church. Narrow lanes and field paths lead to an ancient Iron Age site. On to explore five extraordinarily pretty golden-stone villages, huddled in tranquil wooded valleys. There's idyllic Adlestrop, immortalised by Edward Thomas and Jane Austen. In each village, clothed in honey-coloured stone, are ancient churches and grand houses, including Chastleton House, a Jacobean gem nestling in a gloriously tranquil, unspoilt setting.
Lunch at the Fox at Oddington to savour the delights of a particularly imaginative menu and real ale. Finally, don't miss Lady Bamford’s Daylesford Organic Farm where, time permitting, you could indulge in a cream tea. (9 miles/14 km, moderate walking with few gradients)
Lovely Lower Slaughter is noted for its magnificent gabled manor house and beautiful riverside setting. Upper Slaughter has a ford, ancient church and another magnificent manor house. This is quintessential Cotswolds, real England pure and simple. The sounds of babbling brooks accompany you as you traverse a landscape bisected by sparkling streams.
After lunch at Bourton-on-the-Water explore the village, crossing its many bridges, before meandering through more lovely landscapes to picturesque lakes. Return to Lower Slaughter to conclude your wanderings on the sloping riverside lawns of the 17th century Washbourne Hotel, perhaps indulging in a cream tea! (7 miles/11 km, moderate walking with very few gradients)
We recommend following our short, self-guided tour of historic Winchcombe, another of the Cotswolds Highlights. Learn how it was once the capital of Mercia and one of the earliest Saxon boroughs as well as a flourishing Cotswold wool town. Architecturally, it’s a romantic mix of cascading gables, mansard roofs, mullioned windows and stone towers set in attractive streets of stone and half-timbered buildings.
Today it remains unspoilt, delightfully set in a great bowl of rolling hills, a perfect, self-contained working town rather than a tourist showpiece. Undoubtedly it is the perfect location for walking the Northern Cotswolds. Enjoy a perfect end to your day by dining at one of our recommended restaurants.
Today's ancient trackways combine splendid scenery with outstanding historical appeal. Discover the exquisite and totally unspoilt villages of Stanton, Stanway and Snowshill. All are set in a classic Cotswold landscapes where the works of nature and the works of man merge magnificently together in perfect harmony. Highlights include clusters of exquisite cottages of golden stone, a fine medieval tithe barn, an incomparable manor house and impressive gatehouse, one of the architectural treasures of the Cotswolds.
A splendid afternoon ridge walk on the Cotswold Way provides glorious views across Broadway to distant horizons as far as The Malvern Hills and the Vale of Evesham. Back at Stanton, the beautifully-situated Mount Inn beckons for a farewell drink before returning to Winchcombe. (7 miles/11.25 km, Moderate)
From Winchcombe, follow in the footsteps of pilgrims to the romantic ruins of atmospheric Hailes Abbey, once a popular pilgrimage centre. Visit Hailes Church, noted for its internationally important medieval wall paintings. Exquisite Farmcote has an enchanting Saxon church, a haven of utter peace, golden without, whitewashed within, well worth a visit. The wild, wide valley's banks brim with wild flowers, a perfect place for a picnic.
Views stretch across the Severn Vale to the Malvern Hills and the blue line of the Welsh Marches beyond. Historic Sudeley Castle is another of our Cotswolds Highlights with its numerous royal connections spanning a thousand years. Here, time permitting, you can visit St Mary’s Church, final resting place of Catherine Parr, and enjoy award-winning gardens and a cream tea on the terrace before strolling back to Winchcombe. (7 miles/11.25 km, Moderate).