Inspired by Christina, this page is a work in progress.
Where is The Cotswolds?
If you want to start an argument in a Cotswold pub, just ask where the limits of the Cotswolds are. Whether it’s the prestige of being able to claim the label or maybe a little cynical marketing, many towns and villages include themselves within these elastic boundaries.
Suffice to say that the Cotswold Hills are a range which traverse in a broadly southerly direction from Warwickshire in the north to the vicinity of Bath in the south. Nowhere do they come anywhere near mountain status but they peak at 1,083 ft (330 m) at Cleeve Hill. Standing on the grassy carpet that covers the hills at this point, you’re likely to be surrounded by the sheep which made this area wealthy and on race days you can almost hear the cheers from Cheltenham Racecourse.
The Cotswolds is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), a fact that millions of tourists can attest to. Its villages are famous for the mellow yellow Cotswold stone buildings and walls, as well as their history and warm welcome. Two main rivers define the area: the Severn which forms its western boundary and the Thames, which cleaves it in two from Thameshead in Gloucestershire via Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, and then heads off all the way to London.
Key Towns and Villages
Famous Sons and Daughters
Laurie Lee – author of Cider with Rosie, lived in the Slad Valley.
The Royal Family – various royal residents, including HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Princess Royal, have homes in the Cotswolds.
Edward Wilson – the polar explorer was born and lived in Cheltenham for much of his life.
William Shakespeare – although a native of Warwickshire, there are many references to his spending time in Gloucestershire.
Jilly Cooper – the celebrated novelist and animal lover lives near Stroud.
Gustav Holst – the composer, whose most celebrated work is The Planet Suite.
Shopping is one of the greatest delights of the Cotswolds, for both visitors and locals. Gone are the days when imported china was the only alternative to a pin badges in terms of souvenirs. Today, flourishing workshops and specialist boutiques offer unique and competitively priced food, drink, clothing and craftsman made products.
Cotswold Life Magazine, Cotswold Homes, Cotswold Life – the clue is in the name. There are many periodicals published locally, including online shopping websites such as Shop Cotswolds.
Cider with Rosie, Coram Boy, The Tailor of Gloucester are examples of many books set in the area.
Stay in the Cotswolds
Dormy House Hotel in Broadway is a former farmhouse, now an award winning luxury spa hotel.
Ellenborough Park Hotel is Cheltenham’s only 5 star hotel, with direct access to Cheltenham Racecourse and stunning suites.
The Lion, Winchcombe is a typical pub in Winchcombe which has been transformed with the addition of welcoming rooms and great cooking.
Where to Eat in the Cotswolds
The Daffodil – this former cinema in Cheltenham has earned a reputation for excellent food.
Wesley House Hotel – a half-timbered black and white building with modern ideas in cuisine and a lively wine bar.
Le Champignon Sauvage
Editor’s comment – I’d be delighted to receive suggestions for these sections, which I hope eventually to expand into separate pages. Time permitting!