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  • 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.

Getting thereView map

  • 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.