If it’s picture-postcard villages, stunning countryside and delicious food and drink you’re looking for on a UK holiday, you need to visit the Cotswolds. The UK’s largest Area of Outstanding Beauty is extremely picturesque, with charming towns and villages that are exactly what you might expect from a traditional English scene.
Extending over 700 square miles and spanning five counties, you’ll find it tricky to see and do everything in just two days, but here is a plan of what the perfect weekend in the Cotswolds would look like.
After checking into your Cotswolds accommodation, begin your weekend in Burford, a small medieval town with honey-hued buildings, lovely country views and a charming medieval bridge over the babbling River Windrush. Wander to the top of the high street (it’s a bit of a climb) to take in the views that will set the scene for the weekend ahead and maybe take a photo or two.
For dinner, enjoy traditional English pub classics at The Angel or, for something a little fancier, visit The Bull – it’s been awarded 2 AA Rosettes for its delicious food.
For a little more atmosphere, visit Cheltenham, a Regency town and spa resort with stunning architecture and loads to see and do. It’s famous for its shopping, so spend the morning wandering around the Brewery Quarter – the town’s main retail and leisure area – or visit the Promenade for independent boutiques and fashion houses. There are lots of antique shops peppered around the town too, if you want to pick up a rare gem.
In the afternoon, head to the north-eastern edge of the town to walk up Cleeve Hill. The highest peak of the Cotswold Hills rises to 330 metres above sea level and offers breathtaking views over the town below.
You’re spoilt for choice for a delicious dinner in Cheltenham. Choose the best of the best at the Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage or visit the equally well-regarded East India Café; Indian food may not seem very British, but curry is often voted the UK’s favourite dish. Afterwards, visit one of Cheltenham’s many wine bars for a classy end to your evening.
Take a slower pace on Sunday with a day trip to The Slaughters and Bourton-on-the-Water, around a mile apart in picturesque Cotswolds countryside. Don’t be put off by the names of Upper and Lower Slaughter – it comes from old English ‘slohtre’, which means ‘muddy place’. The villages aren’t muddy places anymore, but instead boast traditional riverside buildings which are great for photo opportunities.
Bourton-on-the-Water is often called the Venice of the Cotswolds, due to the tranquil river running through the village, and has lots to do. Visit the Cotswolds Perfumery, taste some classic British food at the Bakery on the Water or take traditional afternoon tea at Smiths.
If you’ve worked up an appetite walking around the Cotswolds countryside, visit The Slaughters Manor House for dinner in its stylish bar. Finish your evening with a nightcap of Cotswolds whiskey and toast to a weekend well spent.
Of course, it’s impossible to truly get a taste of the Cotswolds in one weekend – you still need to visit Blenheim Palace, Broadway Tower, the National Arboretum and the Roman Baths in Bath at the very least! If you’re feeling inspired to explore this beautiful part of the UK, browse Cotswolds accommodation and start planning your trip.