With its gentle rolling hills, lush green scenery and significant sheep population, the Cotswolds is home to some of England’s most picturesque scenery, and is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). A Cotswolds tours from London will take you along winding country lanes and past chocolate-box cottages during an ideal countryside getaway.
Join our Cotswolds tours from London and partake in a journey through charming, quintessentially English countryside. Trips start & end in central London and spend the day exploring historic villages and beautiful countryside…
The word ‘Cotswold’ can be loosely translated from old English as ‘sheep enclosure in the rolling hills’. The two famous features of the Cotswolds are its beautiful hilly scenery, and its history as an important sheep farming area. It is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty that covers over 750 square miles, and lies mostly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
In history, this is the traditional English countryside of horse drawn carriages and highwaymen, of wonderful stone walls and quaint thatched cottages. It became one of England’s wealthiest places in the middle ages, when the Cotswolds area grew as a centre for the production and trade of wool. An old saying suggested ‘in Europe the best wool is English, and in England the best wool is from the Cotswolds’.
This wealth meant people could build their homes out of the finest available material – locally quarried limestone. This stone, which is honey coloured, was widely used and has meant golden cottages are now another iconic Costwolds feature. Today, whilst the wool trade has declined, the main industry is still agriculutre, with 80% of land in the Cotswolds dedicated to farming. Expect to see many sheep running through the fields.
There are so many charming and historic villages scattered throughout the Cotswolds countryside. Places like Bibury, which is described by some as the ‘prettiest village in England’ has been visited by both Henry T Ford, and Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. Here they found the beautiful Arlington Row; a stunning row of cottages built in the 1380’s which are now one of the iconic images of the Cotwolds.
There are also places of great history, such as Stow-on-the-Wold; the highest town in the Cotswolds. This town was a centre for the wool trade, and has hosted a bi-annual horse fair for centuries. It was also the location for the final battle of the English Civil War in the 17th century, where Royalist forces were defeated by the opposing Parliamentarians. A few months later, King Charles was executed and England (temporarily) abolished the monarchy.
With the beautiful city of Bath on its southern perimeter, and it’s relative proximity to London, the Cotswolds is home to some of England’s most desirable rural real estate. The Cotswolds countryside is a unique part of the English landscape, with its gentile scenery, historic villages and stunning cottages a delight for residents and visitors alike.
If you would like to explore the beauty and history of the Cotswolds, then why not join one of our small-group Cotswolds tours? Our five-day adventures include the services of our professional Tour Leaders who are experts on the all of the places you’ll visit, full transportation and four-nights accommodation. Tours start and finish in central London.
Find out more about our Cotswolds tours and start your adventure now!