And it’s easy to see why, with its dreamy villages, and unspoilt countryside
It’s undoubtedly one of the prettiest places in the UK, with its honey-coloured stone towns and villages, country pubs and rolling hills. You might even spot a celeb or two. Kate Moss, Kate Winslet and Liz Hurley are perhaps the Cotswolds’ most famous residents.
What to do?
There is so much to see and do, a car will help you get the most out of a short break. But, really, there’s no better way to discover the Cotswolds than on foot, as it’s a walkers’ paradise.
Bourton-on-the-Water is picture-perfect and often voted one of the prettiest villages in Britain. As it’s one of the most popular places to visit in the Cotswolds, it gets very busy, so we suggest arriving early to beat the crowds. Once you’ve parked up, there is plenty to see and do, and it’s all within walking distance. The lovely little high street has the River Windrush running through it, and little arched bridges that cross the water.
We started our day with a visit to the Motor Museum, which is home to kids’ favourite classic car, Brum. The museum has so much to see, we walked around it twice so we didn’t miss anything. We then took a lovely stroll along the river to Birdland Park and Gardens, a fantastic wildlife park set within nine acres of gardens and woodlands, where we got to meet some penguins. We also enjoyed the Jurassic Journey themed attraction before we finished our day with a trip to the Model Village.
Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park is another great day out – we loved getting lost in the maze, and later we got to hold animals in the Touch Barn, where we also saw a baby lamb being born.
Where to eat and drink
You’ll have no difficulty finding a terrific traditional pub or ale house. They are everywhere you look and they are everything a pub should be, with open fireplaces, real ales and stylish interiors.
If you love fabulous food and a cheeky G&T, make sure you book a table at The Cotswolds Plough in Clanfield (Thecotswoldplough.co.uk). This beautiful pub offers delicious country dining, friendly staff, and a walk-in gin pantry, providing the chance to sample hundreds of varieties of this popular tipple. You will be encouraged to take the bottles off the shelf and smell the wonderful aromas before making your choice at the bar.
The pub also offers gin-tasting sessions, gin-blending boards to concoct your very own creation, and you can also try their G&T afternoon tea.
If you find yourself in Cirencester, the largest town in the Cotswolds, the Corinium Roman Museum is great for a wander. If you’re feeling peckish, pop in to Jack’s café just next door to the museum for the most delicious cakes and the tastiest ale rarebit you will ever eat. Cirencester is also a great place for a spot of antique shopping.
Where to stay?
We stayed at the De Vere Cotswolds Water Park in the South Cerney area of the Cotswolds. This contemporary hotel is family friendly, and most guest rooms boast stunning views of the lake and nature reserve – it’s a great place for bird watching. There are walking and bike trails all around the hotel and lots of activities nearby, such as kayaking, Farm Park, paddle boarding, water skiing and sailing. The hotel offers two-bedroom apartments, which are ideal for families, as they offer two bathrooms and interconnecting doors.
There are two restaurants, a spa, and a great pool, which kids will love having a splash around in. The Old Boathouse pub offers steaks and other English classics, and we were lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, so we made the most of the outside decking area and enjoyed a drink or two. The other restaurant at the hotel is brasserie style, which boasts a huge buffet breakfast included in your stay with cereal, pastries and a delicious cooked breakfast. Double rooms start from £96 at the De Vere Cotswolds Water Park, to book visit devere.co.uk/Cotswold-water-park-hotel