Visit the Cotswolds for a slice of quintessential rural life

The Cotswolds are loved for their chocolate-box villages, acres of undulating hills, and cosy country pubs.

This enchanting region of southwest England is one of the most picturesque places in the whole UK, and is an enduringly popular sport for solo, family or romantic holidays in the countryside.

There's so much to explore nestled among the Cotswolds' meadows, hills, farms, and rivers. There are around 800 square miles of unspoilt countryside to explore in this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but it's not just the natural landscapes that draw visitors here.

The cutesy villages built with the famous honey-hued Cotswold stone, like Lower Slaughter, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold, have an appeal all of their own, with fascinating histories waiting to be discovered.

As the Cotswolds cover five counties - Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Wiltshire - you can imagine how many elegant tea rooms, country pubs, hilly walks and quirky gift shops there are to explore.

There are several historic country homes to be found here too. Visitors love exploring the opulent interiors of 15th-century Sudeley Castle. Once a royal residence, this castle is now a family home with ten magnificent gardens.

And Sudeley Castle is far from the only historic building with spectacular gardens in the Cotswolds. This elegant and upmarket region has several impressive gardens which attract green-fingered visitors from all over the world.

Whether you're looking for country charm, relaxation, or a chance to discover some of England's finest gardens, you'll love our selection of the best trips to the Cotswolds for 2023.

Postcard-perfect villages

The Cotswolds are home to some of the prettiest villages in the UK, which you'll find dotted between the miles of rolling green meadows. These are quintessential English villages, with honey-hued cottages lining cobbled streets and stone bridges over trickling streams. There's Broadway, known as the 'Jewel of the Cotswolds' for its grand horse chestnut trees and the lovely market town of Chipping Campden, with its old inns, shops and independent restaurants. You can visit both of these idyllic villages on our trip to the Cotswolds in September.


Charming Cheltenham

As well as its tiny, sleepy villages, the Cotswolds is also home to larger towns. Cheltenham, a beautiful Regency spa town famous for horse racing, is one of them. You'll find plenty to do here - it's dubbed the cultural capital of The Cotswolds for a reason.

Its convenient location - with direct rail connections from many major cities - making it a great base for exploring the wider area. You'll be based here on our trip with Christine Walkden in June, when you'll stay in a four-star hotel just outside the town.


Glorious gardens

The Cotswolds are dotted with a whole host of delightful gardens - some found tucked away behind honey-hued cottages and some spanning acres of manicured land in the grounds of grand stately homes. We're offering several trips that will introduce you to some of the region's finest gardens. Join us in September, and you'll visit Sezincote House, Batsford Arboretum, Painswick Rococo Gardens, and pay a very special visit to the Cotswolds Farm Park, where owner Adam Henson will deliver a private talk.


Alternatively, join us in June for a tour of a brilliant selection of historic homes and gardens, including Eastleach House Gardens and Rodmarton Manor. A highlight of this trip isa visit to Bourton House with Gardeners' World presenter Rachel de Thame, who'll join you on an exclusive guided tour of the gardens, sharing her gardening knowledge as you explore.


A third trip that's bound to appeal to green-fingered explorers is our tour of the Cotswolds with the company of horticulturalist and broadcaster Christine Walkden. Christine will join you for a day of this four-day trip and accompany you on a wonderful tour of Hidcote Manor and give a talk and Q&A.


Stately homes

It's no surprise that the many royals and aristocrats have chosen to call the Cotswolds home throughout history. King Charles chose Highgrove in Gloucestershire as his private country residence and has now passed it on to Prince William after ascending to the throne. You can visit Highgrove House on our trip to the Cotswolds where you'll get a tour of the magnificent gardens cultivated by the King. There are also trips to several other stately homes and castles, including Cerne House, Rodmarton Manor, Kiftsgate Court, and Sezincote House.


Another option for discovering the region's stately homes is to join our trip in June, where you'll visit Eastleach House, a spectacular Grade II listed country house with magnificent manicured gardens, along with other beauty spots.


Explore English rural life

Farming has always been a crucial part of Cotswolds life, with approximately 86% of all land within the region dedicated to agriculture. Farms in the Cotswolds come in all shapes and sizes, from dairy farms to specialist cattle and sheep farms. Many invite visitors to explore, like the wonderful Cotswolds Farm Park, which you can visit on our trip in September. Managed by owner and Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, this lovely farm was founded in 1971 by Adam's father to help protect rare breeds of farm animals.