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Your Guide to The Cotswolds

Located in south central England, the Cotswold's covers six counties including rural Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. The Cotswold's has been designated as an Area of Natural Beauty and attracts visitors from around the country to it's typically British villages and many scenic hiking routes, the most famous being the 102-mile Cotswold Way walking route which follows the Cotswold edge from Bath to Chipping Campden in the north of the Cotswolds.


About The Cotswolds | Getting to The Cotswolds | How to Get Around The Cotswolds | Activities in The Cotswolds

About The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a popular tourist attraction both across the UK and across the world. People come to experience the exciting buzz of the Cheltenham races, and to relax in the traditional village tea shops surrounded by the rolling hills and meadows of the landscape. Spring and summer are ideal times to visit, although the region is still popular in the winter when visitors take part in winter walks to see the scenery in the snow.

Climate

During the summer months, the average temperature is around 22, although some days can be considerably hotter. The winter sees temperatures of around 6 during the day, the evenings can get much colder and there is snowfall occasionally.

Language

The official language of the Cotswold's is English.

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Getting to The Cotswolds

The First Great Western service departs from London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa, passing through most of the main towns in The Cotswolds including Stroud, Kemble, and Gloucester. This service is mostly direct, but some require a change at Bristol or Swindon. Both Cheltenham Spa and Gloucester stations are large transport hubs and have train services running to Birmingham New Street, Manchester and Cardiff.
From London there are several buses a day that depart from London Victoria Bus Station, going into Cheltenham Town centre. From there visitors can catch local buses to smaller towns and villages.
The closest airports to The Cotswolds area are Birmingham and Bristol, both around an hour and a halfs drive from the region. Trains run from both cities into Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa, visitors can then use local bus or taxi services to complete journeys onto smaller towns and villages.

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How to Get Around The Cotswolds

The easiest way to get around The Cotswolds is by car, especially for exploring the smaller villages. There is an extensive bus and coach service, although there are gaps throughout the region. Car hire is relatively easy within the region.

Train

Train services connect the larger towns and cities within the region with services going to Bath, Stroud, Kemble, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Cirencester, Tewkesbury, the Forest of Dean and onto Bristol.

Taxis

Taxis are available within the region and are regularly used for both long and short distances, although are considerably more expensive than public transport. Hiring car is a more popular option and many hire companies operate throughout Tirol, including one at the airport.

Bus

Local bus services are extensive throughout the small towns in the region operated mostly by Stagecoach. RailBus operate services between the main towns in the region. If using the RailBus services often throughout a trip a discount card can be purchased called the Cotswold Discover Ticket. This can be bought for one day or three days and can be used for unlimited travel within the Cotswolds by bus or train.

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Places to Visit

Cirencester

The self proclaimed capital of the Cotswolds and the second most important town in Roman Britain. Traditionally British village feel with markets and small cafes. There are remains from the Roman, Saxon and Norman times at the Corinium Museum. St. John the Baptist Church is a sight not to be missed in this town.

Blenheim Palace

The stunning Blenheim Palace, built in the early 18th century, is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is imparticularly known for being one of the more unique British palaces as it is combined as a national monument and family home. The palace and its grounds cover seven acres of land with beautiful gardens to explore. Most of the interior can be explored by guests independently, or with a guided tour.

Cleeve Hill

The highest point in the Cotswolds at 330 meters (1083 feet) has spectacular views of the surrounding town of Cheltenham and the racecourse, to the west visitors can see Winchcombe, and on a clear day the river Severn going into Wales. Visitors can take the National trail up to the viewpoint which has several paths for different difficulty levels.

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Activities

Hiking

There are many different walking trails in the Cotswolds with different difficulty levels. Visitors can download maps showing the trails, making it easy for them to follow. The most popular walking trail is Cotswolds Way which covers a 102 mile long walking trail which travels along the Cotswold edge, giving magical views of the surrounding towns and villages. Visitors can explore the walking trails independently, or book a walking tour with the many walking tour companies in the area.

Boat Trips

Another popular activity among visitors is taking part in a boat tour. These leave from Gloucester Waterways Museum and last around 45 minutes during the months between April and October. These tours include an expert tour guide who commentates on the history of the area.

Cycling

The Cotswolds stunning scenery and steep hills makes for the perfect conditions for cycling trips. There are many cycle hire companies for visitors to rent a bike from and most cycle paths away from the villages have homely pubs and tea rooms.

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Events

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

Held each year during the Spring bank holiday, Coopers Hill, just outside of Gloucester. From the top of the hill a 9 lb round of double gloucester cheese is rolled and competitors run down the hill after it, the first over the finish line wins. This event used to be traditional having just the local people of the town participate, it now draws in crowds from all over the country and participants from all over the world.

Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham festival is an event where the best British and Irish trained horses race and has a prize money second only to the Grand National. It usually coincides with St. Patrick’s Day and is therefore very popular with Irish visitors. The festival features many different races which take place over four days, the most famous of which is The Gold Cup. Cheltenham Festival is known for its great atmosphere, most notably The Cheltenham Roar, which refers to the great amount of noise made by the crowd.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Cheltenham Jazz Festival is the perfect event for any music loving tourists. taking place from the 27th April - 2nd May 2016 in more than ten venues throughout Cheltenham this year sees Jamie Cullum as guest director.

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