- Countryside Hillsides and honey-coloured hamlets
- Country life Gently does it
The quintessentially English Cotswolds is the United Kingdom’s centre of bucolic bliss: luxury villas and boutique hotels abound in chocolate-box villages and evergreen countryside. It’s enough to send Anglophile tourists into apoplexy.
The Cotswolds earns its title as Britain’s largest designated area of natural beauty: luxury villas, boutique hotels and townhouse stays are set amid forests, verdant hills and petite, honey-hued villages. It’s more typically British than a bowler-hatted Bertie Wooster whistling Elgar, but the area’s Roman legacy lives on in ancient Cirencester; Southrop and Crudwell’s thatched cottages and ivy-coloured churches.
Planes Airports closest to the region are Bristol, where easyJet (www.easyjet.com) flies from Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Newcastle; and Birmingham, which has connections from Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Jersey with BMI Baby (www.bmibaby.com).
Trains Direct trains from London Paddington run regularly to Cotswold stations, including Chippenham, Kemble, Kingham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stroud, Gloucester and Cheltenham. Most journeys will only take an hour or two.
Automobiles From London, the Cotswolds is a couple of hours away along the M4; the nearby M5 offers access from Bristol and Birmingham. It’s worth taking a car to the region: the country-lane driving is unparalleled.
- Taxis The smaller towns have limited taxi services – book in advance. Hotel staff will know the best local firms.